Animal lover has a zoo of her own

Published 12:44 am Tuesday, July 10, 2007

JONESVILLE— For Libby Ford, a Catahoula Parish police juror, school bus driver, oil rig engine repair woman and sewer treatment plant installer, life’s not all work and no play but a lot of work and a lot of hay.

Ford, an animal lover since her youth collects and cares for animals ranging from miniature llamas to ducks.

“I’ve had animals all my life, we had a rodeo arena in our yard when I was a kid,” Ford said. “My dad bought me a spider monkey when I was 10.”

Email newsletter signup

About 11 years ago Ford got her first miniature horse and now owns two mini horses, two llamas, two Norwegian dwarf goats, about eight rabbits, a flock of ducks and has recently added a mini zebra.

“People say I should give up some of this stuff but I can’t, I do it for the kids” Ford said.

Ford visits schools and nursing homes with her animals just to see the smiles on the children’s faces and bring joy to those who may be missing a little excitement in their lives.

“It makes you feel good to show people things they’ve never seen before” she said.

Ford has some help on the farm too though — her husband Kenneth and granddaughter Shelby.

Kenneth Ford said his favorite animals would have to be the rabbits.

“Every evening about 10 you can step outside and see little white dots running everywhere,” he said. “(The rabbits) run up to me and gather around just like a bunch of little dogs.”

But the rabbits weren’t part of the original plan, Ford said.

“My granddaughter snuck off and bought a rabbit from a neighbor, and I told her to take it back, but instead she’d go get another and hide it in the barn. One day I went in and looked in the pin and we had four rabbits!”

Not being able to bear the thought of them being caged up Ford turned them loose in the yard “and they’ve been here ever since!” she said.

Ford doesn’t sell any of her animals after they multiply.

“I don’t have the heart to sell any of them but if the time does come to downsize, I just find a good home and people that will love them and give them to them.”