Farm houses unique animals at Enterprise

Published 5:00 am Monday, October 9, 2000

Cats and dogs are not the only pets that get special treatmentat a farm on Enterprise Road. All the animals, from “Oreo cows” tollamas, are given plenty of tender loving care.

“They’re all my pets,” said owner Debbie Altman, who broughtmost of the animals with her when she moved from Sumrall threeyears ago.

She has three llamas, five pygmy goats, three Belted Gallowaycows, two geese, three horses, two miniature donkeys, eight dogsand six cats on her 40-acre farm.

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Altman has collected the animals through the years, fulfillingher childhood dreams with each new animal.

“I had dogs and cats growing up, and I always wanted to havellamas and sheep dogs,” she said.

Her two sheep dogs have been her pets for years, and Altmanacquired her llamas a few years ago from another farm owner.

She has discovered the llamas to be more than just cute animals.They, along with the miniature donkeys, have displayed greatpredator control skills, said Altman.

“I’ve seen them chase the dogs around,” she said. “The dogsdon’t antagonize them.”

Since becoming the owner of llamas, Altman has learned that theanimals are used in other areas of the world to keep coyotes awayfrom sheep herds.

The llamas always bring a smile to her face. She tells peoplethe reason she has them is because “the llamas thrill my soul.”

Her unique breed of cows, Belted Galloways, are also a dreamcome true for Altman.

“I went to Vermont about eight or nine years ago, and I saw awhole pasture full of Belted Galloways. I just had to have some, soI bought two weanlings in 1994,” said Altman of the cows, nicknamed”Oreo cows” because of their resemblance to the famous cookies.

The cows are majority black with a large white band wrappingaround their mid-sections. Belted Galloways also have anotherunique characteristic not commonly seen in the South. They haveloads of curly, thick hair all over.

Altman’s original two Belted Galloways were bred, and she nowhas three.

The Belted Galloways seem to have a different disposition fromother cows, she said.

“I have found them to be a lot friendlier than normal cows,”said Altman.

Each day she spends hours with her many animals and hasdiscovered each has a unique personality. She believes animals withpersonality are just a trait of her farm. Even animals that justpass through the farm seem to have unique characteristics.

“We had a pig come and stay for about a month, and he thought hewas a dog,” said Altman. “It was the funniest thing.”

She remembered the way the pig preferred to pal around with herdogs rather than stay with the other farm animals. The pig evenchose to eat dog food.

Altman says each day is filled with unexpected events at herfarm, but most of all, each day is filled with fun activities.