Bright Spot: Animal rescue dedicated to donkeys

Animal rescue dedicated to donkeys
Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 5:34 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BETHLEHEM, Conn. (WFSB) - There’s a one-of-a-kind animal rescue in the state specializing in a very specific animal.

Tucked away in Litchfield County is ‘The Donkey’s Cross,’ a non-profit sanctuary and rescue located at Shagbark Hollow Farm in Bethlehem.

Heidi Latka is the founder and director of the unique rescue, which has been around just over two years.

“There are some that specialize just in equine, but I think we are the only one that’s local and really 100% donkey-focused.”

And the inspiration to help these particular animals came from her honeymoon, after she and her husband visited a donkey sanctuary in Aruba. “We went there, and we were talking to the people that ran it, and we were like ‘what a great idea,” Latka said.

As for the name behind the rescue… “When we were on our way to the sanctuary, the taxi cab driver told us the little Bible story of the donkey’s cross and we’re just like, ‘oh well, that sort of fits for the little ‘tchotchke’ name of Bethlehem.”

Right now, donkeys at ‘The Donkey Cross’ are all from Connecticut. “We take owner surrenders, we work with local animal control, we have a sanctuary resident who will be here forever.”

And as they take in donkeys, they post them on their website and Facebook page so the public can see who is adoptable.

Latka says every stall at the barn is currently full. “We’re actually fundraising for an additional barn because we are routinely getting requests to rehome and take animals.”

If you’re free on the weekends, you can see how special these animals are up close and in person. “Several of them come and hangout at the farm stand with me on the weekends, so that everybody can pet them. They just love everybody, they love kids. We have visitors that come every weekend that rarely miss a day.”

All proceeds from the farm products and baked goods sold at The Shagbark Hollow Farm’s farm stand benefit the rescue. “Everything that we make on the farm goes directly to supporting all the animals that we rescue.”

If you would like to learn more about the work of The Donkey Cross, visit their website: or donate to their GoFundMe to help fund a new barn.