below is an assortment of stories we have heard about jacks - regarding their
at times completely unexpected transfomation from wonderful, docile pet to
a vicious, biting, killing attack monster.
all the stories are true. these things did happen.
they happened to people who least expected them - people who loved their donkey.

From Oris Reed, NM,  2001:
Another entry from Mom's journals.
I remember well when this happened.

September 11, 1944:

Sad day in the community. Earl Hickson was killed by his gentle mammoth jack. This is second death by a jack in 5 years. Asa and Dick Taylor stopped at Hickson's place this afternoon to leave log chain Dick had borrowed. Found Earl's body in the jack's corral. The jack had trampled him. Left shoulder mangled. Jack's teeth marks on side of Earl's neck, Left side of head torn clear off. Chest burst open. Earl always said jack gentle as kitten. 

Asa is very careful around our jacks, says they are the most dangerous animal on a farm. Never know what will touch them off. Earl leaves wife and three little boys. (..........) Ranch life is a hard life. It is especially hard on women. The little boys are with Helen's brother tonight he came from town to be with her. I will keep them here for as long as need be. I don't feel like sleep. That poor woman and her little kids.


Subj:       Real Jack Attacks
Date: 12/31/98
From: Jeanine Rachau

(......)  I would also like to add a story I got from a woman just a while back who is very lucky to be alive. 
Briefly, her story is that she had a standard jack, that was a doll, pet of the family, her children rode and played with him, she loved and trusted this donkey.  He was not used for breeding, just a pet.   One day she went and visited him, and turned around to leave and he struck her with no warning, no studly behavior, just took her to the ground and tried to stomp her into the ground.  If her husband hadn't been home that day to hear her screams she would have died. 
I believe if I remember, they ended up euthanizing this jack.    The only thing that was different is that she'd just gotten a new horse a couple days ago, and she told me that she had been visiting this horse prior to going into the jack. She unknowingly invoked this attack.  What if this had been one of her children?


Linda Johnson, Carousel Farms; Enumclaw, Wa

I believe there is always the potential for serious injury from a jack, no matter how docile and sweet they may be 99 percent of the time.  I have two jacks, an 11 year old mini, Z-Zoom, I have had since he was a yearling.  He is a perfect gentleman...99 percent of the time.  My mammoth, Chuck, is also very sweet and well-mannered....99 percent of the time. 
In a breeding situation, each of them undergo a transformation as hormones overpower their brains.  Both are quite controllable, however, we watch them every second when breeding.  It is obvious by the look in their eye when they are about to get "nasty" and we discipline them as soon as we see that expression, before they take any action. 
Timing is so important, especially with the big jack due to his incredible strength.  I don't know if anyone could affect a change if he were to get started and it could be very dangerous to try.  I have seen jacks that were allowed to get out of control in the past and it is pretty terrifying to me.  They become so intense it appears they are in some sort of trance and getting through to them to make a change in their behavior seems almost impossible. (......)

As much as I feel my jacks are wonderful animals and know they do not want to hurt me, there is always the possibility that a hormonal glitch could occur, altering their behavior temporarily.

I talked to a woman the other night whose friend lost her arm to the jaws of a jack.  The jack had always been very gentle and well behaved....but, that day he was apparently overcome with hormonal frustration, or whatever and he attacked her with a fury.  From the sounds of what she went through, she's lucky to be alive.  The jack was euthanized later that day. 
Another friend of mine was bitten on the thigh by her 30" mini jack over a year ago and she still carries a mark from that. 
A man at a show a couple of years ago showed me his forearm where his 2 year old jack had just bitten him...a black/blue/red swelling about 6" long and the circumference of his arm...looked quite painful! 
A fellow Jerry works with was attacked by his standard jack...grabbed, stomped, drug and then thrown...fortunately he was thrown free. (.......)

I believe the risk of attack is increased greatly by spoiling a jack and engaging in playful activities with them, not properly training a jack and failing to provide them with activities other than breeding.  Some people contend that keeping a jack alone compels them to exhibit aggressive behavior.  I do not believe this to be true since many attacks by jacks occur with jacks kept in a herd situation also.  (.......) Most people I have talked to that have owned jacks for many, many years tell me that most become more aggressive with age so I would have to believe as time passes, the risk of an attack  increases.


Greg Sefton, Bray Haven Farm, Winter Haven, FL

(.........)  I watched a jack in Oregon at the '95 ADMS, show go after a mule that walked by and both handlers were dragged along helplessly.  One had a chain over and one under the nose.  Had they not been dragged close to a tree that one could take a few dallies around, there would have been a bad and potentially dangerous situation.  This jack won the halter class (Dry Gulch Cody) at that show. 
I guess the bottom line is, never trust any jack and be realistic about your jack's breeding quality and opportunities.  If there isn't overwhelming justification for keeping him intact, do him (and you) a favor by gelding him.  If you have a jack, use him for as many activities as you can and carefully control the conditions under which he can show breeding behavior. 
Some folks use a particular halter etc. or have a breeding area.
Outside those conditions he must be trained to act like a gelding.  We use a muzzle which when it's on, gives him the go ahead.  Without that in place, he never shows an interest in breeding.


Sue King, Brayer Hill Farm 

Anyone who has experience with jacks and stallions realizes that each has a different personality - some laid back, some more on the active side. However, they all have testosterone in common.  That hormone has a purpose and sometimes will override even the best training and good temper.

Always be aware that something may trigger urges that your jack might succumb to despite his and your desire for him not to. 
(...examples of attacks....)

Our cardinal rules in handling even the most docile jacks are:
*****  Do not turn your back on them.
*****  Treat them fairly, but reprimand dangerous behavior immediately and with force necessary to stop the behavior.
*****  Do not pick at them.  Punish the behavior and then forget it.
*****  Always breed at the same place at your farm and expect stud behavior to occur around the breeding farm.
*****  Always demand gentleman behavior at shows, trail rides, etc.
*****  Always provide other activities for jacks other than breeding - riding, driving, lessons, whatever.
*****  Always provide an safe enclosure with a view the farm and all its activities.  (many states have requirements for stud enclosures) Don't isolate a jack.
*****  Take as good care of the jack as you do the other animals.  Regular vet care and farrier attention.
*****  Love your jack for what he is.  A male that has all the impulses to perpetuate the species and the intelligence and strength to over power rivals - including you.
        IF YOU ARE NOT MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY CAPABLE OF HANDLING ALL THESE RULES - Don't have a jack.  Geld your favorite companion so he can truly enjoy your companionship without restrictions and punishment for behaving naturally.





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