Horse farm geared to autistic kids fights foreclosure

by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:

SNELLVILLE, Ga. - The owner of a Snellville horse farm said she's not going anywhere, but she claims a wrongful foreclosure is threatening to shut down her riding center, which provides therapy for Autistic children.

Marilyn Peterson told Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh she's been fighting the foreclosure through the courts for more than a year. That's why she was shocked when Gwinnett County Sheriff's deputies showed up Wednesday night with an eviction notice.

When 4-year-old Maya Deboer first came to the Parkwood Farms Therapy Center, her grandmother said she could barely speak. A year later, she is communicating through words and song.

"Horse is awesome," Maya said.

Her grandmother, Barbara Deboer, said Maya learned her alphabets on the back of a horse and her therapeutic riding lessons here have transformed her into a different child.

"We're still here and we still plan on being here," said Peterson.

Peterson said she started the Snellville center 11 years ago because her own son suffered from autism. Peterson she said the eviction, threatens to shut it all down.

She said it started when she got a so-called predatory loan.

"They only saw the life of the loan as two years. After that, it went to an adjustable rate mortgage. They sold it to another company and our mortgage payment more than doubled," Peterson said.

Peterson said she fell behind, but was trying to work it out with the banks. She temporarily suspended lessons Wednesday after deputies delivered the eviction notice.

They moved all their horses to an animal rescue in Winder.

Peterson said the situation isn't just putting someone out of their home or business, but affecting the opportunity of a community service.

The Snellville mayor and the entire city council came out Monday to lend their support as well.

As for the bank, Peterson said her loan keeps switching hands, so it's hard to determine who to send payments to. But Channel 2 reached out to the bank she believes is currently servicing the loan.

Kavanaugh has not received the bank's response.

Channel 2 Action News

Delivered To Your Inbox