Donkey Shot at Request of Owner After Escaping Into Traffic
On 04/11/2018 at about 1530 hours the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office received a call for service from the California Highway Patrol regarding a donkey running in traffic on Highway 101 near mile post marker 8.
Deputies and Animal Control officers responded to the location where they met with members of Caltrans. Also on scene was the owner of the animal.
On 03/26/2018 a motorist collided with horses on Highway 101 near this location which resulted in injuries to the driver. Currently animal control officers are awaiting tranquilizing drugs from the Mendocino County Veterinarian however are not currently in possession of the necessary drugs to tranquilize large animals.
Upon arrival, officers surveyed the area and found the donkey was posing a significant danger to motorists on the highway. Officers estimated the weight of the animal in excess of 500 pounds. Officers were able to haze the animal off of the roadway onto a small hill located just above Highway 101.
The animal was extremely aggressive towards officers who were forced to continually haze the animal to keep him off of the roadway as the animal was above a blind turn on Highway 101. The weather was deteriorating and driver visibility was rapidly declining. Officers requested CHP to respond to the scene to complete traffic calming measures while they continued to haze the animal off the highway.
The animal made repeated attempts to enter back onto the highway and had to be hazed by officers at the scene to keep it out of traffic. The owner of the animal was on scene and had fallen and received minor injuries while attempting to keep the animal off of the highway.
Officers spoke with the owner and learned the animal was approximately 40 years old and had never been halter broke, therefore the owner had never been able to lead the animal with a rope. Deputies learned the animal had traveled approximately one mile down the highway from the farm where it had been kept.
Officers learned the animal was extremely aggressive and according to the owner it had injured and killed other animals on the farm. Due to the aggressive nature of the animal, it was recently placed into a pen separating it from other animals on the farm. After the animal had been moved to this new pen, the animal had broken out of the pen and traveled down the highway.
The owner of the animal did not have a firearm or other humane means to dispatch the animal. The owner requested Animal Control Officers dispatch the animal stating he feared for the safety of motorists on the highway.
Due to the extreme danger to motorists the situation was posing, Animal Control Officers agreed to honor the request of the owner to put the animal down. Animal control officers shot the animal, the initial shot injured the animal however did not kill it. The animal traveled up the hill away from the highway as officers followed. Officers were able to dispatch the animal once it moved further from the highway. The owner was able to procure a small flatbed trailer and was assisted by officers in removing the animal from the property.
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind all motorists, we live in a rural county with ranches and livestock. Please drive safely and be aware of the possibility of livestock on the highway when driving through horse and cattle county.