STERLING (CBS) — Austin Foley of Millbury loves to look at farm animals. So when the 21-year-old who was born with cerebral palsy was denied access to Davis Farmland in Sterling because of his age, he was heartbroken.

On Friday, Austin came to Davis Farmland in Sterling with his two adult caregivers.

The farm has from goats and pigs to alligators and camels. Austin was excited to see it all and its therapeutic for him. “To find something he can do and enjoys is amazing,” Austin’s mother, Kelley Foley explained.

But when he filled out a COVID-19 waiver which asked for his age, he was told he was not allowed inside.

“He cried. I think he was humiliated,” Foley said.

Austin and Kelley Foley (WBZ-TV)

The farm only allows adults access if they are with someone who is 12 years old or younger.

“The one rule at Farmland is you must have a child with you 12 years or under. That’s it. That’s the whole story right there. There’s no discrimination. For 20 years it’s been like that,” said Davis Farmland Owner Larry Davis.

Austin actually did gain access to the farm after an anonymous family invited him as their guest. But Foley said by that time, the experience was ruined.

“He was too upset,” his mother said.

Davis Farmland in Sterling (WBZ-TV)

Davis Farmland is taking hits on social media since the incident, but they are sticking by their policy.

They also said Austin is welcome back any times he wants as long as there is a 12-year-old in the group.

“Any child who comes in here, that is 12 or under, regardless of their physical or mental capacities, they are welcomed with open arms,” Davis said.

Foley disagrees. “I’m not asking them to break the rule. It’s a rule, OK I shouldn’t have gone for the last eight years, I didn’t know. I’m asking them to review this policy,” she said.

Comments (8)
  1. Remember when says:

    It is to bad that someone could not think about this a little longer. I am sure whatever reason they don’t want older children there may be valid, but I am also sure that this young man would not cause any problem either. People need a rule or law for everything … how about thinking a bit. 2 Thumbs up for Austin!

  2. Jenna says:

    Please sign the petition: 📢

  3. Never trust liberals says:

    The cancel culture at it again. No one wants that poor kid to go without, but what liberals constantly misunderstand about humans who create and produce for civilization is when you try to force independent people to change their life’s work to fit your cause or agenda, all it does is cause more things to close down. But knowing liberals, that is just as gratifying for them.

  4. Mimi to 4 says:

    Hmmm, parents of handicapped kids want their kids to be treated like everybody else, until they want special consideration for them. Perhaps now is a good time to teach this young man that disability doesn’t get you special favors. Siding with Davis Farmland on this one.

    1. Jan says:


      1. momma of 2 says:

        She might have said it a little too harsh but I agree with Mimi. They should have read the rules before they went it is on the website. There are other farms to go to they don’t have to force this one to change their policy.

  5. sara Elkins says:

    The Davis farmland should add an exception to their age policy for a severely disabled adult that requires an aid. This was a cruel blow to this young man to be denied the opportunity to pet the farm animals. they even let in an infant but not him. when the age rule was written there was no thought of this situation coming up but that does not mean that it is too late for them to add an exception to their rule. I think they were trying to keep out teens that might try to harm the animals.

  6. Trish O’Neil says:

    There are exceptions to every rule. I am disappointed to hear this.

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