Surrey bylaw officer Dave Berar (left) tempts one of two at-large donkeys with grain while Tara Nicholson of Hayburner Haven Farm leads it off of property in the 2800-block of 169 Street.

Surrey bylaw officer Dave Berar (left) tempts one of two at-large donkeys with grain while Tara Nicholson of Hayburner Haven Farm leads it off of property in the 2800-block of 169 Street.

Stubborn ‘neighbours’ leave hoofprints, waste on lawns

A pair of at-large donkeys brought animal-control and bylaw officers to South Surrey Friday.

A pair of at-large donkeys brought animal-control and bylaw officers to South Surrey Friday.

“We were familiar with the property that the donkeys are from,” Kim Marosevich, Surrey bylaw business operations manager, said Monday. “The donkeys aren’t the only concerns that we’ve had. There have been multiple visits to the property for a variety of animal-control issues.”

Longtime resident John Buttrum said he called the city several times Friday after the donkeys got onto his property in the 2800-block of 169 Street “causing absolute filth (excrement) and damage to my landscaping and exotic flora.”

“I’ve got hoofprints in my lawn,” Buttram told Peace Arch News Monday. “I don’t know what damage they’ve done to the flowers because they’ve not come up yet.”

Noting livestock breaches from a nearby five-acre property have been “an exercise in frustration” over the years, Buttrum said he and neighbours have had everything from pigs, sheep and goats to llamas, horses and cows in their yards.

Marosevich said the city’s repeated visits to the property in question over the past six months “suggest to me that there’s a lack of capacity to manage the situation as it’s required.”

In this case, the donkeys’ owner had to pay a $200 impound fee to get the animals back, and has been told to make adjustments to fencing. Animal control will continue to monitor the situation and “we’ll go from there,” she said.

“The goal isn’t to be punitive, the goal is to prevent the situation from recurring,” she said.

Buttrum said while he appreciated Friday’s response by animal-control, he is not optimistic that the problem will be resolved, noting enforcement options have “no teeth.”

Marosevich agreed there are limitations; seeking a court injunction would be a last – and costly – resort.

She noted the donkeys were not the only report of livestock at-large of late. Monday, animal-control officers were dealing with roaming cows; last week, a pair of goats were found near 96 Avenue and 144 Street. She encouraged anyone interested in adopting such livestock to call 604-574-6622 or visit the Surrey Animal Resource Centre at 17944 Colebrook Rd.