Our prayers brayers were answered yesterday afternoon when we got word that the Town of Van Horn had announced the cancellation of Saturday’s donkey roping competition.

We’d like to express our gratitude to each and every one of you who played a part in making this happen. Thank you for your phone calls, emails, blog posts, letters and brayers. They worked! ♥

If you have a moment today, please join Patrick in thanking the people of Van Horn, Texas for making the right decision. 

Van Horn City Administrator: Fran Malafronte – franmalafronte@vanhorntexas.org
Van Horn Mayor: Okey D. Lucas – okeyd1@windstream.net
Culberson County, Texas Sheriff: Oscar E. Carrillo – culbersoncounty@msn.com
Coordinator, Van Horn Chamber of Commerce: Patricia Golden – patriciagolden@vanhorntexas.org

Editor, The Van Horn Advocate: Larry Simpson – lsimpson@vanhornadvocate.com


“He can live without man. But man can scarcely do without the labour, the sacrifice, the suffering of the donkey… that has accompanied man since the dawn of time, in all weathers, humbly and patiently serving the most brutal of all animals.”

~P.A. Vieira, ‘Our Brother the Donkey’, in Kinship with Animals, ed. K. Solisti and M. Tobias (San Francisco, CA, 2006), p. 134.

My name is Patrick. I used to be a roping donkey. When I was a roping donkey, I was afraid and unhappy.

My mom and dad rescued me and I’m very happy and safe now. But I’m very worried about the donkeys in Van Horn, Texas, because I know how they feel.

It’s very important you know that Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue; America’s largest donkey rescue, is ready, willing and able to take in all the Van Horn roping donkeys.

Please do the right thing, Van Horn, Texas. Please cancel the donkey roping competition scheduled for this Saturday, June 23 at Van Horn Frontier Days.


If you’re looking for a way to help, please call Jason Owens; the promoter of the event. His phone number is 432-940-9051. He has said he will take all calls. Please explain to him why he needs to cancel the donkey roping competition in this Saturday’s (June 23) Van Horn Rodeo. We hope that if he receives enough phone calls educating him about why this should not happen – he may decide to bow under pressure.

Also, please write to the editor of the local paper in Van Horn, Texas: Larry Simpson, at The Van Horn Advocate: lsimpson@vanhornadvocate.com

We thank you. And Patrick thanks you. ♥

You can imagine my horror. The place that we rescued Patrick from had three new donkeys yesterday morning. Yes, three.

They are small and from what I can tell are young. They still have a spring in their step and don’t yet wear the shackle of a halter that Patrick endured for almost three years.

Two are white and one is grey. They’re beautiful.

We have to stop this. Many of you offered to help, and here’s your opportunity. I have drafted the following letter and would appreciate your comments.


Date 2011

The Honorable Art De La Cruz
Bernalillo County District 2 Commissioner
One Civic Plaza, NW
Albuquerque, New Mexico  87102

Dear Commissioner De La Cruz,

We are writing to express our concern about the practice of using donkeys as a training tool for roping horses. We live in your district and this issue is very important to us. Donkeys are extremely intelligent and sentient animals and are not made to handle being roped – either physically or emotionally.

Roping is necessary for ranching cattle, and team roping as a sport hones the skills needed to treat cattle on the range. However, that doesn’t excuse using donkeys to improve roping skills. There are many mechanical roping dummies that can be used, and can be cheaply built with a little ingenuity. 

The wording of the law as we understand it today falls under the following New Mexico statute:

§ 30-18-11. Unlawful tripping of an equine; exception

A. Unlawful tripping of an equine consists of intentionally using a wire, pole, stick, rope or any other object to cause an equine to lose its balance or fall, for the purpose of sport or entertainment.

B. The provisions of Subsection A of this section do not apply to laying an equine down for medical or identification purposes.

C. As used in this section, “equine” means a horse, pony, mule, donkey or hinny.

D. Whoever commits unlawful tripping of an equine is guilty of a misdemeanor.

E. Whoever commits unlawful tripping of an equine that causes the maiming, crippling or death of the equine is guilty of a fourth degree felony.

L. 1995, Ch. 113, § 1, eff. July 1, 1995.

Donkeys are being used as a training tool for sport roping just down the road from us. When we contacted the New Mexico Attorney General’s Animal Cruelty Taskforce about this, we were told that, “…the roping issue won’t cut it with law enforcement.”

We urge you to please enforce the law against this illegal and inhumane practice and are seeking your help in how to make sure this happens. Thank you for your consideration.




If you prefer, you can also download the letter here: Letter_to_Art_de_la_Cruz.

To send your own version of the letter, please see Clair’s comment here.

Thank you all for being such wonderful blogging friends. ♥