Lisaanne and Harvey Davis live on what they call a “little piece of paradise.”
For the couple, paradise is an 18-acre farm and animal sanctuary, where three cows, a rooster and 11 hens have found their new home.
The three cows, Cassie, Camille and Cadence, were all rescued from a dairy farm in upstate New York. The animals were transported 20 hours south to the Davis’ little farm in Levy County on March 7.
“They loaded them up in the snow and drove them down to the sunshine,” said Harvey, a 61-year-old consultant.
Generally, after four or six years in the dairy industry, cows are considered “spent,” which means their bodies are worn out and no longer produce milk.
Cassie, Camille and Cadence, who range from six to 10 years old, were going to be sent to auction and slaughtered if the Davises hadn’t stepped in.
“We are providing them all the means to live a happy life,” said Lisaanne, 52, a retired federal government worker.
Farm Sanctuary, America’s leading farm animal protection organization, often finds rehabilitated and rescued animals a new home. The Davises sent in an application to rescue animals and were notified last fall that three cows needed a home.
The cows have happily retired in the Sunshine State. One cow was treated for mastitis, which is gland swelling that occurs when dairy cows are overworked. The rest were thin but healthy.
The rooster, Rodan, and hens came from a large-scale hen rescue and were transported with the cows. The hens produce two to three dozen eggs a week. Each week, Lisaanne brings the eggs to a local food bank.
Lisaanne and Harvey moved to Morriston in June after living in Baltimore, Maryland, for 32 years.
“We really didn’t have experience on a farm, so it’s been a learning process for us,” Harvey said.
Lisaanne said she dreamed of rescuing animals her whole life and has been a vegan for the past 15 years. Harvey said “he does what he can,” when it comes to his diet and always wanted to live on a farm. Morriston was the perfect spot they both said.
Paul Gregory, the president of Retirement Home for Horses at Mill Creek Farm, said that anyone who rescues an animal does it for the love.
“It’s not a money-maker, you have to be a true animal lover,” he said.
Every little bit helps, whether it’s rescuing a cow, dog, goat or horse, they all matter, Gregory said.
The 18-acre farm currently has 22 animals, ranging from Snowy the donkey to Mini Cooper the miniature horse.
But Lisaanne said they have room for a few more.
“Maybe a couple more goats,” she said. “I love it.”
Two weeks after traveling down the east coast, Cassie, Camille and Cadence are now settling into their new home alongside the Davis family.
“The work rescuers do is just life changing, not just for the animals, but for people, too,” Lisaanne said.