The Donkey Sanctuary at Sidmouth has almost 3,000 animals in its care, as owners struggle to keep them during the recession.
The sanctuary has taken in almost 200 creatures in June and the first half of July 2010, bringing the number now in its care to 2,900.
"Just this year, the number of donkeys coming into the sanctuary has doubled," said Annie Brown from the charity.
"It's due to the recession - people can't afford to keep them any more."
With the sanctuary's seven farms in Devon and Dorset approaching capacity, the charity has now appealed for new fosterers in the UK to provide homes for the donkeys.
The east Devon charity is also known for its work in rescuing donkeys from abuse around the world.
Jenny Walrond's film for BBC Spotlight includes an interview with Annie Brown from the sanctuary.