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Animal rescue plans rally in Evans

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 7:04 PM
Last updated Wednesday, March 13, 2013 1:24 AM
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An animal rescue group ordered to close by the state is asking supporters to rally before next week’s Columbia County Commission meeting.

Happy Tails Rescue owner Barbara Gleitsmann said she’s been “amazed” by the number of people who have come forward since the state Department of Agriculture accepted her agreement to shut down after inspectors filed repeated complaints about sanitation and bookkeeping problems at the Appling facility.

She’s asked them to meet in front of the Evans Government Center Auditorium at 5:15 p.m. March 19, ahead of the 6 p.m. commission meeting, where she is scheduled to speak.

Even though she signed off on the Department of Agriculture’s findings and agreed to have all animals out of the shelter by Monday, Gleitsmann said she hopes that, with enough support, they’ll at least get a reprieve on the deadline for closure.

Commissioners also need to get a message, she said.

“I just want the government officials to see the support in this community,” Gleitsmann said. “I don’t think they get it. I don’t think they have a clue. They’re not discussing the impact that this group has had on the community.”

County Commission Chairman Ron Cross said Happy Tails has asked the commission to send a letter to the Department of Agriculture asserting that the private shelter saves the county money by taking stray dogs from the Columbia County Animal Services shelter.

Commissioners don’t plan to do so, he said, because Happy Tails’ dispute is with the state.

Besides, he said, commissioners have heard some of the same complaints about noise and odor at the shelter, which a state inspector said had too many animals for the amount of space provided.

County staffers currently are studying other communities for ordinances that would restrict the number of dogs or cats that could be kept on a single property, Cross said.

“I think we need that,” he said. “The number of dogs (at Happy Tails) has been the single biggest factor that has come to me.”

The number of animals at Happy Tails has been cut by about half since Gleitsmann signed the consent order agreeing to remove the rescue animals and shut down for a year, she said, with about 18 left to adopt.

“We’re working as hard as we can work, and I’m confident this can all work out,” she said.

Comments (11) Add comment
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texsmoke
139
Points
texsmoke 03/12/13 - 09:33 pm
1
1
Agree

Have they upgraded in past two years? I went to see a dog i wanted to adopt a couple years ago and it was dirty. Cats everywhereand a horrible stench. If they have improved I support them but not from what i saw a few years back.

belle
301
Points
belle 03/13/13 - 06:58 am
0
0
Future Operation
Unpublished

What are their plans if they continue to operate? They should let the commission, state and public know what changes are planned to prevent future problems. That would clear a lot of roadblocks for them. What sanitation changes will be made? What procedures will be followed to insure all paperwork will be as it should be? They are a necessity in this area. All the shelters stay full, we can't have enough doing these good works.

Little Lamb
43916
Points
Little Lamb 03/13/13 - 10:17 am
1
2
Stealth

The Department of Agriculture does not send out stealth drones seeking to locate rogue animal rescue operations. Instead, they respond to citizen complaints. This is an open and shut case of an operation that had too many animals for the size of the parcel and for the available labor to take care of the animals’ waste disposal.

She signed the order. Now she needs to comply. I say, “No reprieve, Barbara!”

csrareader
1283
Points
csrareader 03/13/13 - 12:04 pm
3
0
Don't understand the view

Don't understand the view that dogs and cats are better off dead than living in less than perfect conditions.

Russell Foster
37
Points
Russell Foster 03/13/13 - 02:15 pm
2
0
Need more information

Barry Paschal can you give us information on where the adoptions are taking place and/or contact information for the owner so that we can find out what dogs she has?

rapt
5
Points
rapt 03/13/13 - 05:17 pm
1
2
Bravo Commissioners!

Very happy that the Commissioners aren't being fooled into supporting this effort to continue the unsanitary conditions at Happy Tails. I think more of the 'public' would agree if they've seen the conditions the poor animals must endure. What I've seen with my own eyes equates to animal abuse not rescue. Sadly so many just blindly follow to rally behind any cause that sounds good, and never educate themselves on the actual circumstances. The reports are public record with the Department of Agriculture. If you really want to know what you're supporting, then educate yourself.

Stunned 2
3124
Points
Stunned 2 03/13/13 - 05:20 pm
3
0
Foolish Government officials.....

Happy Tails Rescue has served our community for over 10 years at no cost to taxpayers. Thousands of stray animals have been kept off our streets preventing potential car wrecks. Thousands of stray animals have been vaccinated against rabies and other communicable diseases thanks to the tireless efforts of Ms. Glietsman and her volunteers. Our community has been blessed. Government officials are making a foolish decision by shutting this much needed rescue shelter down and we will hold them personally responsible when personal or property injury could have been prevented. We will hold them responsible when our health is at risk because rabies comes into our neighborhoods. Government officials should join us in thanking Ms. Gleitsman.

Stunned 2
3124
Points
Stunned 2 03/13/13 - 05:34 pm
2
0
Subject: Sign this petition to Keep Happy Tails Rescue open!!!

Subject: Sign this petition to Keep Happy Tails Rescue open!!!

petition to Commissioner Gary Black, Georgia Department of Agriculture to keep Happy Tails Rescue open!......before it is too late!!!
Thank you!!! (and, pass it along to everyone you know!)
Thank you!!! Thank you!!! Thank you!!! Thank you!!! Thank you!!! Thank you!!!

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/437/301/877/urgent-help-keep-csra-happy-t...

InChristLove
22420
Points
InChristLove 03/13/13 - 06:58 pm
2
0
rapt, since as you said you

rapt, since as you said you have seen with your own eyes the abuse and uncleaned conditions, my question to you is did you every volunteer your time or offer any monetary asssitance to help this animal rescue? I have never been to the place or even know where it is but for those who are adamantly criticizing Ms. Gleitsman I'm just wondering if you ever lifted a finger to help. Stray animals and unwanted pets are a heartbreaking problem for any community but it appears that there are some who thought she was doing a good job.

rapt
5
Points
rapt 03/13/13 - 09:26 pm
0
2
To InChristLove

Of course I helped, with my time, money and willingness to do multiple volunteer tasks. However there was no hope at correcting a problem when Ms. Gleitsman didn't think there was a problem. She would get angry if you tried to point out a problem, even if you offered to help fix that same problem. Same problems you see that texsmoke posted earlier. I can only hope conditions have improved, and the cats and dogs are adopted.

paladin5
285
Points
paladin5 03/14/13 - 12:43 am
0
0
.......less than Perfect Conditions

I don't believe we will ever find Perfect Conditions in any Pet Rescue effort. I know Perfect Conditions do not even exist at our Public Animal Service Centers. Unlimited Money, Unlimited Space, Unlimited Vet Care, might produce an "almost" Perfect Condition.

Reality?

Stunned 2
3124
Points
Stunned 2 03/14/13 - 12:35 pm
1
0
GA Dept of Ag told me 'No Problems with the Animals'

Mr NiceGuy, I have written and phoned Commissioner Black’s office and Mark Murrah, Manager of the Georgia Department of Agriculture. In my phone conversations - both told me that the animals at Happy Tails Rescue were well taken care of. What are your allegations of animal abuse based on? Obviously not from the Georgia Department of Agriculture. I just reviewed the documents that Mr. Murray sent me. He cited her for Housekeeping (cobwebs?), structural strength, record keeping, pest control, Sanitation, and waste disposal on 1-23-13. On February 14. She was forced to sign an agreement to close. Repeatedly in my conversation with Mr. Murray, he told me that the Dept of Ag ‘has been citing her for one and a half years”, later he referred to ‘since July, 2012’. DUH???? I pointed out to him that his math was wrong, that it had been 7 months of citations. Both told me that when investigators walked in ‘2 dogs started fighting’ DUH???? I have lived around dogs all of my life, and have witnessed my own dogs bump into each other and act out when strangers have come in. (and, the Dept ofAgriculture decided to close her down because of this??? I am just flabbergasted that these officials even mentioned this, and YES I told them so!) I am enraged with the Columbia County Commission’s released statement yesterday saying they will not get involved because of noise complaints – This was settled in Court in favor of Happy Tails Rescue. If the Commissioners disagreed with the Court’s decision – why didn’t they tell the Court back then? I have found inconsistencies and that each of these government offices/officials have given me bad/incorrect information while talking with them. Publicly Ms. Gleitsman said that she had pest control in place at the time of the citation on Jan 23rd. Publically she said that the inspectors showed up early in the morning of the inspection – before the cages were cleaned that morning. I know several people that have been frequenting this facility during the fall of 2013 and this year and have said that the place is very clean.
For your convenience I am providing you with these phone numbers. Please contact Commissioner Black’s office and Mark Murrah. Both told me that the animals were all in good shape.
Commissioner Gary W. Black
Phone 404.656.3602
Cell 404.293.6849

Animal Protection
Mark Murrah, Manager
Tele: (404) 656-4914

Ga Dept of Agriculture Tele: (404) 656-3600

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