It’s a donkey baby boom at Mendocino County sanctuary

When Ron King opened a donkey sanctuary in Mendocino County, he had no idea he’d be running a maternity ward and working on a reality television show about rescued donkeys.

In the past year, King and his small crew at the rescue and rehome non-profit, Oscar’s Place, have delivered 14 foals with three more coming soon.

It’s the mares that do the hard part, King says, going through a 14-month pregnancy before delivering foals that can weigh up to 30 pounds at birth.

“They are such good moms,” King says. “Their maternal instincts are amazing. They stand over their babies to provide shade from the sun, and when they wake up from a nap and start braying because they’re hungry, the moms know their babies and bray back to hold on, they’re coming to feed them. They are just incredible moms.”

The mares, rescued from slaughter houses, all arrived at the sanctuary already pregnant.

King, who once had front row seats at Europe’s most prestigious fashion shows and jetted around the globe overseeing a handful of magazines, including InStyle, Essence and Sunset, has of late found himself happy in the company of rescued donkeys.

The improbable career change came after he left his 20-year career in publishing and was taking a break before starting a new adventure. His longtime friend, prominent Los Angeles art dealer and philanthropist Phil Selway, asked King to help him sell a property in Hopland. Selway had wanted to open an animal sanctuary on the grounds, but the idea had withered on the vine, and Selway was looking to sell.

It was then King read a story about donkeys being sold for slaughter and watched a TikTok by a woman who rescues donkeys but had no place to keep them. King, acting on instinct, contacted the woman and told her: “I’ve got a place. Will you send me your donkeys?”

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