Selling or Rehoming a Donkey or a Horse

Do you need to find a new home for a donkey or a horse? Please prioritize the well-being of your animal over trying to recover any investment you have made and over your need or desire to no longer own your animal. Animal ownership does not have to be a forever commitment, but owners are responsible for making sure that their animals are placed in good, safe homes.

Good homes are rarely found by advertising online or in local papers "Free to good home", "Inexpensive..." or "Thinking about buying a pet for your child this Christmas?" In fact, ads like these can unfortunately attract buyers who will flip the animal at the next auction where the slaughter trucks are packed full at the end of the sale and the animals face a horrific end. Horses and donkeys -- large, small, healthy, sick, trained, untrained, pregnant, nursing, sweet, injured, miniature, old, young -- are ALL sadly shipped for slaughter. The animal you want to sell or give away is vulnerable. Horse and donkey slaughter is a huge business in the United States and the safety of your animal is up to you.

Here are some recommendations:

  • Do not give away your animal to friends, neighbors, friends-of-a-friend even if they have a barn and horses, etc. Consider even close friends and family members very carefully. Sadly there are horror stories that no one imagined would ever happen;
  • Never sell your animal at any auction;
  • Never donate your animal to a rescue organization, animal sanctuary or petting zoo until you have checked out its legitimacy and done the necessary research; once you are 100% sure that it is a highly reputable organization in good financial standing and committed to the ongoing care of its animals, deliver your animal along with a donation to help cover their many expenses;
  • Set your purchase price well-above what would appeal to a kill buyer or to someone who might want to resell your animal (this price depends on your geographical area so do some research online, attend an auction yourself and learn about the process, and ask local rescues for advice);
  • Do not lower your price beyond a safe boundary limit no matter how perfect the prospective buyer seems; remember that the purchase price is only the beginning of responsible animal ownership. If your buyer can't afford your required price, the buyer's commitment or ability to pay for the animal's long-term care is doubtful at best;
  • Do a barn visit; look at the animals already owned by the prospective buyer (Do they already have too many for their property to handle? Are their animals well-fed? Are their feet in good condition? Are their barn and pasture in good condition? Do the animals they already own seem to like them or do their animals ignore them or move away from them?);
  • Ask for references. Check up on the references. (References should include a veterinarian, farrier, and an equine dentist. Ask them questions about the prospective buyers: Do they pay their bills? Do their animals receive all their recommended care? How long have they had their current animals and do they have animals that frequently come and go? Ask "Is it safe for me to sell my animal to this prospective buyer?" Listen for "between-the-lines" responses from these professionals. Promise to keep your interactions with them confidential and then do so.);
  • Insist on a no-slaughter, no-auction, first right of refusal bill of sale/contract -- though they rarely work. They at least make a point. Follow up on your animal often. Establish ahead of time with the prospective buyer that you will request pictures and do follow-up visits. Promise the buyer that you will take the animal back and/or help find a new home if the new placement doesn't work out, if there is a change of mind, or if the buyer no longer wants or can care for the animal at any time in the future;
  • Microchip and register your animals before you sell them. Even microchipped animals are sold at auctions for slaughter but sometimes rescue workers manage to identify them before they are shipped and the previous owners registered in the system can be notified of their situation and prevent their suffering;
  • Check references. Check references. Check references. Trust no one and be responsible for ensuring your animal's safety in the long-term;
  • If The Farmette can be of assistance in networking your horse to prospective buyers or be helpful in the process of rehoming your horse, feel free to contact us.