Tina and Jeff Richardson of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, have provided selflessly for their hundreds of rescued and abandoned animals over the past 16 years, but this time, it’s the Richardsons who need help. Everyone, human and animal, will be evicted from the farm where they now live on Tuesday, September 6, 2016.
Tina related a story filled with struggles, betrayal, and now — maybe — hope. “What people don’t understand,” she said, “Is that we aren’t the property owners. We are renters.”
Tina said that she and her husband were the original owners of the farm, but when they fell on hard times and were worried they would lose the farm, an acquaintance offered to buy the farm and allow them to rent back. The agreement was that they would pay to cover the mortgage and in three years buy the farm back.
“We paid double the mortgage,” Tina said. “But after a year, he stopped making the payments.” And when they talked to the mortgage holder, Bank of America, they were told the bank would work with them. They even hired an attorney to represent them and the property owner.
“It wasn’t like ‘No, you can’t stay,'” Tina said. “We want to buy the property. We want to stay.”
Tina’s farm, Forever Farm Sanctuary (now a nonprofit organization), has been home to hundreds of animals including recently over 100 chickens, 30 ducks, 12 homing pigeons, 25 cats (all spayed and neutered), 12 goats, 1 donkey, 1 mini-mule, 1 mini-mini horse, 2 mini horses, 16 pigs, 3 turkeys, and 7 dogs (also spayed and neutered).
But while Tina doesn’t know where she and her husband will be going to live on Tuesday, she knows that through the kindness of others and the recent social media about her plight, at least her animals will be safe until she has a place for them.
“All my animals are safe,” she told Shelter Me. “It’s just temporary placement until I have a new place.” She has been overwhelmed with the amount of support she has received. “I have over 800 emails to go through, and my cell phone is bursting at the seams.”
A local animal lover, Curt Daniels, has rented a storage unit for the Richardsons and set up a GoFundMe titled “New Smyrna Beach Animal Sanctuary.” The goal? An
impressive $250,000 — enough for the Richardsons to be able to buy a piece of property and set it up for their sanctuary.
Tina hopes that she and her animals will not be separated for long. “When I wake up Tuesday morning and I don’t have my animals with me,” she said, “I don’t know what I will do.”