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February 4, 2013

Galloways open free animal farm

MILLEDGEVILLE — A casual passerby veering off Log Cabin Road down Hudson Drive might have a mild distraction. Numerous goats, alpacas, miniature horses and even buffalo roam within Spring Valley Ranch.

Poin Galloway and his wife Devona operated the town's Rocket Roller Rink for 42 years. Missing the close connection with children and some of their former visitors now grown up, they decided to offer the ranch up for an alternative party spot as of Jan. 1.

“After the skating rink, I didn't have anything to do. I wanted to give the public something else,” Galloway said.

He began his animal collection 45 years ago. Galloway estimates having more than 100 animals inhabit the 15-acre property.

The affinity for buffalo started on a trip to Virginia with Devona.

“We went up to Virginia and saw a herd of buffalo. I pulled over and watched them,” Galloway said. “I told my wife I was going to get some buffalo. I started out with six, and they multiplied.”

A 2,700-pound buffalo used to be one of the world's largest until his death two years ago.

Galloway remembers the robust animal being so tame he used to ride him.

With an obvious love and ability to handle various exotic animals that most Milledgeville residents have never seen, the decision to setup feeding stations seemed right.

“Everybody would pull over to the side of the road and take pictures, but I never had it open for them to come in and feed them,” Galloway said.

The well-respected couple charges no admission. Spare change pays for a cup of food.

Heather Lopez chose Spring Valley Ranch for her son Hayden's 2nd birthday party Jan. 19. Lopez knew the Galloways from their skating rink days.

“I'm 28, and I've had my parties there since I was 5. They were always very interactive with me and made me feel very special,” Lopez said.

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