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Donkeys become family pets

IF you think only a jackass would pay over €1,000 for a donkey, think again.

Once widely seen as a slow, unintelligent animal, the humble donkey is making a big comeback -- and he has a hefty price tag to match.

People are now paying up to €1,200 to secure a good quality mare as the traditional farm animal becomes fashionable as a family pet.

Paddy Barrett, manager at the Irish Donkey Sanctuary, said: "Years ago they were just turfed up by the roadside and they were dying by the hundreds and nobody wanted them. But then they started to increase in value because they became scarce."

Mr Barret added that he believed the work of the sanctuary, just outside Listowel, Co Cork, had contributed towards raising the value of the animal.

He said: "I suppose we can thank ourselves for raising their profile. We cared for thousands of them over the years and they became popular when people realised they were wonderful pets to have. They are very versatile little animals.

"They can do an awful lot of jobs that a pony or a horse can't and they are very tough and robust."

"Amazingly people are spending €1,200 on a donkey to keep as a pet. They have become rather prestigious creatures. They're a very docile animal. They are very loving and they have a fondness for women and children."

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