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Appling animal shelter ordered to close

Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 6:32 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 1:56 AM
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Columbia County’s largest private animal rescue group is being shut down after the Georgia Department of Agriculture revoked its operating license.

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Happy Tails Rescue employee Greg McMillan gives treats to two of the dogs the facility hopes to find homes for before it is closed in a month.  JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
Happy Tails Rescue employee Greg McMillan gives treats to two of the dogs the facility hopes to find homes for before it is closed in a month.

Happy Tails Rescue, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, has until late March to find homes for the 38 dogs housed at the rescue’s Appling facility, said Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Mary Katherin Yearta.

“We issued a stop order to them, and right now they have 30 days to find homes for the animals,” Yearta said. “The case is still open, and we are still in the process of working with them.”

The action resulted from violations Happy Tails failed to correct, Yearta said.

“It’s like a witch hunt,” contended Barbara Gleitsmann, who operates Happy Tails
adjacent to her home. “They are just relentless.”

Agriculture inspectors have been visiting the property since last summer, alleging different minor violations each time, she said.

“Every time they come around, they find something else,” Gleitsmann said, including complaining about cobwebs, rust on cages and improper lighting.

She insisted that none of the allegations involved treatment of the animals at the shelter.

Yearta said she couldn’t discuss the findings while the case is under review.

“If you came to my house right now, you would see the condition of every dog on the property, and there’s not one of them that does not look better, if not significantly better, than when we got them,” Gleitsmann said, “and many of them are from tax-supported shelters.”

From 2008 through 2011, Gleitsmann said, Columbia County Animal Services released 1,389 animals to rescue groups.

“Happy Tails took 961 of those,” she said.

She’s not sure what will happen to any dogs that aren’t adopted by the deadline, and Yearta said she isn’t, either.

The group is adopting animals out of its Appling facility and is holding adoptions Saturday during the flea market at Lewis Memorial United Methodist Church in Evans and Sunday, at Ridge Road Cafe, 6539 Washington Road in Appling.

“We need help,” Gleits­mann said. “It’s a tough situation.”

PET ADOPTIONS

Happy Tails Rescue will have pets available for adoption at the following locations. Call (706) 955-0438 for more information.

• 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Spring Fling Flea Market and Craft Fair, Lewis Memorial United Methodist Church

• 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Ridge Road Cafe, 6539 Washington Road, Appling

• 4:30-7 p.m. March 7, Evans Towne Farmers Market at the Columbia County Library.

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I'm Back Again
307
Points
I'm Back Again 02/26/13 - 06:56 pm
0
0
Thanks Obama. Another small
Unpublished

Thanks Obama. Another small business bites the dust. Perfect example of government bullying business owners until they give up. So much for the animals. Maybe they could qualify for free healthcare and welfare and section 8 housing. These animals may have it made after all.

nycweeks
41
Points
nycweeks 02/26/13 - 07:54 pm
8
1
This will put a burden on the other rescues and animal control

This will put a huge burden on the taxpayers of Columbia County. An average of 300 animals per year were taken out of Columbia County Animal Control by Happy Tails Rescue. Animal Control employees have important work to do helping animals and protecting citizens from problem animals. They will now have to spend a considerable amount of their time and resources euthanizing the animals that Happy Tails Rescue would have taken care of. This will also put more of a burden on the other rescue organizations in the area. There are several other rescue groups here, but they are overworked already. Unless they receive more donations to be able to compensate for the loss of such a large rescue organization; they will not be able to keep up with the constant intake of new animals to animal control. Many animals will suffer and die because of this.

CathyBarber
10
Points
CathyBarber 02/26/13 - 10:17 pm
7
1
Homeless animals are top priority for Happy Tails.

My husband and I are very saddened by the news. We have known Barb Gleitsmann for years and finding forever homes for unwanted animals has been her passion and mission. We got our German Shepherd pup from Happy Tails several years ago. We board all three of our rescue dogs with Ms. Gleitsmann several times yearly and wouldn't dream of allowing anyone else care for them. Shutting down this rescue group is a huge disservice to these animals not to mention a possible unnecessary death sentence for some. Ms. Gleitsmann has always had a special place in her heart for these animals and her dedication is second to none.

smartasugarsugar
139
Points
smartasugarsugar 02/27/13 - 06:01 am
6
1
sorry barb and friends

I'm very sorry for the news.

A few thing come to mind when i read the article

Columbia county just built a new animal control facility, because we had all this extra cash just laying around. they certainly aren't going to give themselves citations for whatever infractions they can drum up. Also, you know the government doesn't like competition.

also if the case is "under review" why are they getting the axe now?

nocnoc
49130
Points
nocnoc 02/27/13 - 07:53 am
6
1
Another example of Government Logic

Here we have a place trying to find homes for pets that people
couldn't handle, dumped like they would a girl or boy friend,
or just were no longer wanted because the puppy cuteness is gone and some responsibility kicked in.

Now in steps the Government,
with its own version of logic. The book of regulations aka the "Idiots Guide to Doing, Not Thinking in Government". Now every thing must be 100% by the Reg's, or you'll have to shutdown your NO-KILL Shelter.

Now, if you don't find homes for the pets, likely you have to turn them over to the County, because it is where they run a KILLING Factory. Depending on the County process and frugalness, if could be to: GAS them, suffocate them in a vacuum chamber, Inject them with poison, or like a few places still do, drown them.

Oh did, I mention? Depending on pet size it can be 10+ to a cage for gassing or drowning? Now stop and picture seeing about 8 large dogs placed into a large dump like cage with a thousand stainer like holes. Then note the hundreds of pets they have to dispose of a week. So the "Operator" adds a few smaller ones into the cage to fill in the wasted space. Sure the pets fight but they'll be death one way or the other in 10 mins.

So the above County way is what the Ga. Dept of Ag. feels is better for the pets. The Ga. Dept of Ag. needs to tour (UNANNOUNCED) a few County Kill Shelters and watch the results of their Rules and Regulations when applied without basic logic. They also need to apply the same rules and reg's to County Kill Shelters that they apply to NO-KILL Shelters and with the same force.

If we really wanted to stop the over population of Pets?

All the GA lawmakers needs to do is:
1.Require all pet purchasers/owners to watch a LIVE actual County Pet Disposal. Then they will understand the results of Impulse Pet Purchases vs. Ownership.

2. Require all pets to be RFID chipped and have the owner data recorded.

3. Shut Down all Puppy Mills.

Despite having seen a Local area Kill shelter in action years ago,
I am still against any FORCED Sterilization of Pets not meeting a "Governments idea" of worthiness.

emanon
34
Points
emanon 02/27/13 - 07:57 am
7
0
Spay and neuter your pets!

Ms. Barbara has done her best to save dogs. Her mistake was that she tried to save too many. Until we have spay and neuter reqirements for pets, we will have to let the unadopted ones die. Sadly, many are unlikely to be adopted, ever.

JRC2024
10455
Points
JRC2024 02/27/13 - 08:03 am
6
1
Maybe they need to take the

Maybe they need to take the animals to Ms. Yearta's home and leave them at her house and see how good she does. What difference does a little rust or some cobwebs make if the animals are being adopted out which is much better than what the animal shelter would do.

Riverman1
93689
Points
Riverman1 02/27/13 - 08:36 am
4
2
Local government should work

Local government should work with her to correct the problems. They could also communicate with these state inspectors creating a buffer of sorts.

CabisKhan
164
Points
CabisKhan 02/27/13 - 08:54 am
5
0
The Department of Agriculture

One cannot communicate or negotiate with the Feds. As with all Fedaeral Agencies, they are an ironclad beauracracy.

peggyandrick
169
Points
peggyandrick 02/27/13 - 09:03 am
4
0
Not perfect but a needed organization

We have known Barbara Gleitsmann since we adopted two dogs from Happy Tails about four years ago. We took our dogs back to her for kenneling on several occasions. Our connection with her has always been through the dogs. In fact, we didn't even know her last name until these reports came up in the newspaper.
There is no doubt in my mind that our dogs are better off for having been associated with Happy Tails, and that without her and her organization, our dogs would have been euthanized. There is no doubt that she and her group loves her charges and does her best for them. I would, without reservation, support her in any way I can.
Having said all of that, I know she isn't perfect. We were often frustrated trying to get needed paperwork from her, and I have no doubt that there might be minor problems from time to time. It seemed to us that she had a large operation that she was trying to keep going for the good of the animals with mostly young and volunteer help.
Before state agencies shut down needed organizations like Happy Tails, the agency might consider the alternatives. Are animals going to better off as a result? From our experience with Happy Tails, this seems to be a case of a governmental agency doing more damage than good simply because it can. I urge the Department of Agriculture to reconsider.

albertoli
191
Points
albertoli 02/27/13 - 09:07 am
4
0
so it would be better to turn

so it would be better to turn the existing dogs over to a kill shelter where they would have very little chance of survival verses leaving them at Happy Tails where they have cobwebs and not enough light? I get the sense that the inspector has a grudge against someone. Did they not have an inspection to get their kennel license to begin with? What changed? Cobwebs?

Could the shutdown be averted if enough volunteers showed up to get the faults corrected?

Little Lamb
49038
Points
Little Lamb 02/27/13 - 09:25 am
1
5
Society

PeggyAndRick asked if the animals would be better off if Happy Tails were closed. Well, that's a judgment call. It depends on your perspective. In many cases society would be better off if breeding dogs were euthanized rather than encouraged to have puppies because puppies are easy for Happy Tails to adopt out for their fee.

I have seen Happy Tails get pregnant females from local pounds just because they know they can place the puppies. Who knows what becomes of the mother once the puppies are adopted? Happy Tails travels far away in order to bring dogs back to the CSRA in order to have adoptable animals. I'm not so sure these are good things.

soapy_725
44121
Points
soapy_725 02/27/13 - 09:42 am
1
0
One of those cases where you have to be in their shoes.
Unpublished

Animal lovers keep and allow their pets to breed. Some love puppies and when they are no longer puppies the call the pound. Some love older dogs and treat them as humans. Because they love the dogs they allow them to over populate creating roaming wild dogs who are caught and euthanized.

After creating an over population situation because of their juvenile irresponsibility to society at large, they weep, ask others to help, collect charitable funds and bemoan societies lack of concern for animals. All the while continuing to promote the prorogation of unwanted bastards.

We as a society have created another "victim culture". However, this one is not human, but animal. Animal life is somehow sacred while human live is expendable.

Owned dogs and cats. Never viewed them as more than domesticated animals. Never allowed them to be "societies problem".

But we live in a different age. Things are loved and people are used.

750
Points
Barry Paschal 02/27/13 - 09:42 am
4
1
Euthanasia

nocnoc: Georgia law prohibits gassing as a method of euthanasia, making an exception only for shelters that used carbon monoxide gas chambers prior to the 1990 and certified their use with the Department of Agriculture. If memory serves me correctly, at the time that law was passed there were only two shelters in Georgia that still used a gas chamber. All others, including Columbia County, use lethal injection. Euthanasia by drowning, car exhaust and other methods is illegal in Georgia.

seenitB4
97549
Points
seenitB4 02/27/13 - 09:48 am
5
0
Help

Help these people...don't close them down..

Put info. on here & I'm sure some animal lovers will help.

itsanotherday1
48324
Points
itsanotherday1 02/27/13 - 10:01 am
5
0
This stinks to high heavens.

This stinks to high heavens. I would put some stock into the inspector's findings but for the numerous personal vouches above. If people are willing to board their pets with her, then I'm quite comfortable she is running a clean shop.

And 51% of us want MORE government???????

35
Points
Mimi Hopson 02/27/13 - 10:09 am
5
0
Handsome Harrie

My sweet boy, Harrie was on his way to a Pennsylvania rescue when he had a layover for knee surgery in Augusta. Happy Tails gladly lined up all of his needs. I fostered him, and then fell in love with him. I adopted him a few weeks later and have loved him ever since. Happy Tails,and Barbara Gleitsman, have been a blessing to many animals and their forever families. I don't consider this an END for Happy Tails, but merely an opening to a brighter future that we could not have seen coming otherwise. Good things will happen for Barb, because good things happen to good people.

MarinerMan
2107
Points
MarinerMan 02/27/13 - 10:14 am
4
0
This Is What I Just Sent
Unpublished

This is what I just sent to Gary Black's office, and I would suggest you all do the same.
I'm concerned by an article written in the Columbia News-Times, the newspaper of Columbia County in Georgia. I have met Barbara on several occasions at their adoption locations, and have donated to the cause. The article states that they are being shut down, by your Department's revocation of their Operating License. The article states that it is because of "violations" that have not been corrected. There has been little true information given to the public. Happy Tails serves a local need, and I would ask that this action be reconsidered. I would also ask that you read the article, along with the comments. While I understand that there are two sides to everything, it appears that more information needs to be given. If the article is true, then I think you probably need to investigate this revocation further. All that I ask is that you give this a look. Thanks for your time.

http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2013-02-26/appling-animal-shelte...

Little Lamb
49038
Points
Little Lamb 02/27/13 - 10:17 am
2
0
Euthanasia Again

Thanks for the info on Georgia animal euthanasia laws, Barry. I'm presuming the illegality of the drowning, car exhaust and "other methods" applies to people performing euthanasia for hire. Hopefully it is not illegal for one to put one's own ailing animal out of its misery in an appropriate and humane way not involving injection of drugs that the typical citizen has a hard time gaining access to.

Old Yeller was put down humanely, and it was not lethal injection.

Vigli1Fam
6
Points
Vigli1Fam 02/27/13 - 11:00 am
4
0
Saddened and Unfortunate

My family is completely heartbroken over this. We adopted 2 dogs from happy tails. One was Buddy who was older, who walked crooked from being hit by a car and a few years later became diabetic and blind. He was the sweetest boy and every day we miss him since his passing. Our other is Emmie who was within hours of being put down at the local shelter. We were her foster family through Happy Tails and she picked us to be her forever home. In addition to the two we adopted we have fostered 10-12 dogs, all of which found loving homes across the U.S.

We are one of many families that have stories like this of how Happy Tails changed our lives and completed our families. Barbara is a wonderful person and she has endured many struggles for her compassionate work with animals. Just sad that some agencies create so much regulations and red tape when people try to do what is right and humane. Shouldn't they be encouraging community support organizations--not spending their resources to break them down?

TylerGalles
46
Points
TylerGalles 02/27/13 - 11:17 am
4
0
Keep shelter open

I hear nothing but good things said about this shelter. What "public harm" is being done by keeping them open? I definitely see the harm in shutting them down.

Lou Stewall
374
Points
Lou Stewall 02/27/13 - 11:20 am
3
0
This is an outrage

Yes, no good deed goes unpunished.
This lady has dedicated her retirement years to saving animals from certain death, and finding homes for them. I have a wonderful Maine Coon cat that I got from Barbara, and I appreciate her help in getting us this member of our family. If Gary Black lets this stand, I will do my best to see he is turned out of office. It is obvious some Ag dept. employee is throwing her weight around with petty violations. Contact any one you know in The Legislature or Nathan Deal to see this outrage is corrected.

TylerGalles
46
Points
TylerGalles 02/27/13 - 11:23 am
4
0
how do we contact Gary Black

I found their facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/GeorgiaDepartmentofAgriculture but was not sure sure the best way to contact them.

Riverman1
93689
Points
Riverman1 02/27/13 - 12:14 pm
5
0
Don't talk about Old Yeller

Don't talk about Old Yeller and make me cry AGAIN.

peggyandrick
169
Points
peggyandrick 02/27/13 - 12:10 pm
4
0
Response to Little Lamb

Sorry but you are wrong! All of the animals one acquires from shelters are required to be spayed and neutered. In our case, neither of the dogs we adopted from Happy Tails were puppies. One was about two years old, and the other was about twelve. The older one passed away a month ago after leading a good and happy life with us after having been saved from certain death without the help of Happy Tails.
Maybe Happy Tails got the pregnant mother that you know of to save both her and the puppies. Since there is so little money involved in adopting animals, it makes no sense that she would seek pregnant dogs to give her more work adopting out added puppies.

itsanotherday1
48324
Points
itsanotherday1 02/27/13 - 12:22 pm
4
0
If it is the same employee

If it is the same employee who monitors the local pest control companies; I understand why there is an issue. Nitpicker is being kind.

Mr. Highsmith, the former local inspector, was thorough and knowlegeable; but above all he had common sense and judgment.

MarinerMan
2107
Points
MarinerMan 02/27/13 - 12:19 pm
4
0
mixpix45
19
Points
mixpix45 02/27/13 - 12:21 pm
4
0
Get Involved! Animal Rescue Groups

I'm currently fostering a dog that I just took in from Columbia County Animal Control. I'm working through the rescue, Ruff Rescues. If anybody out there is willing to foster one of these dogs, please give the rescue a call at 706-469-0978 or visit their website at www.ruffrescues.com!

I don't have room in my house for a permanent addition, but fostering is a great way to give a dog a chance to find their forever home!

nocnoc
49130
Points
nocnoc 02/27/13 - 12:58 pm
2
0
Barry is correct with the NEW

Barry is correct about the NEW GA laws.

But note:

Georgia law prohibits gassing as a method of euthanasia, making an exception only for shelters that used carbon monoxide gas chambers prior to the 1990 and certified their use with the Department of Agriculture.

Yes my graphic comment was made and based on what I personally saw at the OLD Richmond county "Dog Pound" back around 1981-2 on Mack Lane. Where I saw the Prison Trustee inmate operators literally cram the animals in the chamber and then Gas them, as I watched. The process was to then dump the bodies in a special section of landfill behind the Dog Pound at that time.

These are some memories I will always remember and wish I did not. Since that date I have never owned more than 2 dogs at a time and have never breed a dog that I owned.

Youtube has a Video of "Yadkin Co. NC." that is similar to what I saw on Mack Lane back in the early 80's.

Noc Noc.

csrareader
1288
Points
csrareader 02/27/13 - 01:09 pm
4
0
http://www.wrdw.com/home/head

http://www.wrdw.com/home/headlines/Only-on-12-County-investigating-waste...

Neighbor complaints, as well as former volunteer, seem to be at the root of the investigation. Obviously, they have some issues at the location but I sure hope something can be worked out. I would hate to see any animal rescue group shut down.

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