As many of you know from our previous post, on February 11th a donkey basketball event will be held in Magnolia, TX under the guise as a fundraiser for a senior center. We still need people to contact the The Friendship Senior Center at (281) 259-6665 ask for Diana Trim. And contact the Middle School where this event will take place – Magnolia Jr. High – Jeff Springer, Principal – 281-356-3572 firstname.lastname@example.org. It takes just a couple of minutes to call – enough public pressure will end this abuse. Facebook posts on Charlie Riley’s page are being removed…but keep up the pressure. Your efforts can stop donkey basketball. Below is a success story. – HfH
Eagles won’t host future donkey basketball fundraisers
From: Go Anacortes
By: Joan Pringle
A storm of emails and phone calls on Monday led to the Anacortes Eagles 249’s decision to make this the last year of its annual fundraiser using donkeys in a basketball game at the Anacortes Middle School gym.
“We both agreed this will be the last year the Eagles does this event — donkey basketball — given the controversy, given the concerns that have been raised by community members and people from outside the community,” said School District Superintendent Mark Wenzel. “We decided it’s better to look at other fundraisers in the future.”
Dave Mooney, Eagles secretary, confirmed this will be the last year the Eagles host the donkey basketball event, which is scheduled for Saturday evening.
“Public perception is we’re doing something bad to animals,” Mooney said Tuesday. “We’ve been doing it for 20 some years and all of the sudden we have a problem with it. Next year we’ll do a comedy show or something.”
Mooney added that it is too late to cancel this year’s event. There are contracts in hand.
The controversy appeared to have started with an “action alert” circulated through email on Sunday by Pasado’s Safe Haven, an animal protection organization based in Sultan. Executive Director Laura Henderson asked for a stop to “a cruel game of ‘donkey basketball.’”
“During these chaotic games, gentle donkeys are shoved, kicked, yanked or whipped by riders trying to score points in the name of ‘entertainment,’” states the alert, which included contact information for Eagles President Rick Durfee, middle school Principal Patrick Harrington and Donkey Sports Inc., which organizes donkey basketball and baseball for organizations throughout the Northwest.
“These innocent donkeys are also subjected to deafening crowds, which is terrifying for them,” Henderson said. “With no escape, the donkeys cry out in fear and frustration, which is apparently part of the ‘fun.’”
The email made the rounds through Anacortes residents and appeared on websites, such as the Northwest Animal Rights Network Blog and KIRO 7 Eyewitness News’ Facebook page.
Michele Freemont, who lives just outside Anacortes city limits on Fidalgo Island and owns a miniature donkey, said there has to be a hundred different ways to raise funds other “than expose donkeys to a loud, chaotic, unpredictable environment.”
Wenzel said Monday he received emails and phone calls from people expressing concern for how the donkeys were treated and that the district was sending the wrong message. He said the district’s view is it’s a public facility.
“We’re trying to be responsible to the community,” he said.
Mark Perkins, middle school assistant principal and athletic director, said organizations come to him to rent the gym. The donkey basketball was approved because of “past practice. We’ve been doing it for a long time,” he said.
Jim Bring, Eagles member who works to promote the event, said the fundraiser raises money for the Anacortes 100 Food Bank and other local charities. About 100 people at $10 a piece attend. Advertising is done by phone and word of mouth, he said.
Bring said it has been held for 27 years at the high school or middle school. In all that time, he said he’s never seen a donkey get hurt.
In a statement posted on the Donkey Sports website, the company said “the treatment of the donkeys during the donkey basketball game is of utmost concern … Some of the treatment standards are weight limits, no hitting or kicking of donkeys, and no pulling of donkey ears, hair or tails.”
Players not complying with the standards are replaced, the statement says.
Bring confirmed a company representative keeps an eye on the game and if he or she sees abuse, will ask those responsible to stop riding.
“I certainly understand the concerns,” Wenzel said, adding he also understands the Eagles hosting the event to raise funds to serve the community.
Regardless of what side a person is on, Wenzel said, the issue has taken the district’s focus away from its main mission — teaching children.