Appeal launched after Dartmoor pony donation box destroyed and £350 taken
The Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust (DPHT) is asking for donations to pay for a replacement donation box after one was broken into last week (Jan 5) and around £350 was stolen.
Workers discovered that the donation box inside a purpose-built cairn in the center parking lot in Parke, Bovey Tracey had been opened. The charity now faces the huge cost of dismantling the structure and replacing it with a new secure piggy bank.
Managing director Dru Butterfield said: “It’s the first time this has happened and it’s really devastating.” We need to spread the word to anyone who has the skills to create a cairn because we’re going to have to dismantle the whole cairn.
“We’re going to have to break it down, remove the piggy bank, and then we’ll have to rebuild it with a new piggy bank. We will need to get all the new stone as we cannot use the existing stone as it will all need to be chipped and broken [to get the money box out]. We hope someone will come forward and help us rebuild the cairn with a much sturdier version, but until it is built we will continue to lose funds.
She added that the DPHT would consider emptying the box daily in the future.
The donation box, which has been on site for about three years, helps fund hay for the trust’s herd of semi-wild ponies and any visiting wild ponies. The trust will lose this source of income until the new cairn is built, although visitors can still donate via a QR code on the portal.
Dru added: ‘It was done at a time which is probably one of our busiest times, our key Christmas period where we would have raised a huge amount of money because people go there for walks. the dogs and visit the cafe. We lost a great opportunity to collect donations.
“We have a Facebook post running and we’ve had some very encouraging feedback. I can only say a huge thank you to our current supporters.
The trust center is currently closed, but will reopen for the February semester and be fully open by Easter, when it hopes the new cairn and donation box will be up and running. ‘
Dru said she also looked forward to welcoming former students from Bovey Tracey and Ivybridge Primary School and inviting new families to the center this coming year.
The DPHT strives to conserve the environment of Dartmoor and the ponies that roam its moors. Although many Dartmoor ponies are feral, the DPHT maintains a semi-tame herd for educational purposes and occasionally cares for sick and injured feral ponies.
At the moment the trust is caring for a couple of wild ponies suffering from an equine respiratory disease, strangles, who will be released when they are fully recovered.
Although not an inherently dangerous disease, strangles is highly contagious and affected horses should be isolated to avoid spreading the disease to more susceptible horses. In February last year, the DPHT issued an alert about a particularly virulent form of the disease crossing the moor. DPHT’s own herd contracted the disease in August but has now recovered. To donate to the new cairn, visit the charity’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DartmoorPony.
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