Cripple Creek's Donkey Conspiracy

September 2009

If you've ever been to Cripple Creek, the quiet, old mining town west of Colorado Springs that today reaps its gold via the casino biz, then you've probably seen the donkeys that roam the streets, gather on residential lawns, and dine from trash cans. There are 11 of them, and they're widely believed to be descended from the donkeys brought to town during the gold rush, which were let loose generations ago, when electricity made the animals' mining roles obsolete. As city administrator Bill McPherson says, the donkeys are no bother: "They're the official mascots of the town and have been for many, many years part of the venue of Cripple Creek." Lately the town's roughly 1,000 residents have been appalled; it seems someone is trying to harm the donkeys. About a week ago, Sweet Pea, a 10-year-old female donkey, began limping. Upon further investigation, it appeared someone shot her in the hip, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. The alleged incident, however, remains a mystery. And a donkey named Tarzan went missing two weeks ago but was found by a rancher about five miles from town, hanging around some horses, writes The Denver Post.