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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
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.”


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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Little Lamb
Little Lamb 02/27/13 - 02:19 pm
PeggyAndRick @ 12:10

You are mistaken. I witnessed the puppies being adopted (it was at the Tractor Supply store on Bobby Jones). I witnessed the mother of the puppies there. Barbara was telling everyone who would listen how the pregnant mother was scheduled for euthanasia at the pound and she (Barbara) convinced them to let her have the mother so the puppies could be born so she could adopt them out.

A few months later I saw her on the TV news crowing about how they drove up to New Jersey to rescue some dogs and bring them back to Georgia to try to adopt them out. It's not like we don't already have enough unwanted dogs here in Georgia, already!

csrareader 02/27/13 - 02:24 pm
Who cares where the rescue

Who cares where the rescue dogs come from? Really. If a dog needs to be rescued, and a local agency is willing to take the dog in, why do we care? That has absolutely nothing to do with the state investigation and/or allegations against the rescue group. I don't care if the dogs come from New Jersey or just around the block.

z0770z 02/27/13 - 02:32 pm
Happy Tails

My wife and I got our dog, Hunter from Happy Tails and board him there often. We have found Barb and her volunteers very good with Hunter and it will be very hard to find a place to board him that cares as much as Barb. I have been to her adoptions and she runs a first rate place as far as we know. The state should work with her to resolve the issues since the issue is still be resolved instead of using The Hammer. With The Hammer everything looks like a nail.

bengalover4evr 02/27/13 - 03:36 pm
Way off base.....

Ok. I don't want to agree or disagree with all of you but, I was in the rescue circle for MANY years and Barbara was always the "problem" rescuer for all of us. There is a VERY fine line between rescuer and hoarder. She in many cases has crossed that line. She has given the rescue circle a bad wrap in the CSRA. Back in 2003 I needed to board my dog and 2 cats for a family emergency at her Whiskers Resort on the same property as her rescue dogs and cats (at the time) were housed. Little did I know that my dog was going to be housed with the rescue dog in a "ted shed" and my cats were goin to be placed in a "ted shed" with 15-20 other rescue cats. When I came to pick them up little to my knowledge that my cats were housed with these cats and if anyone know anything about rescue you NEVER house cats with others cats unless they have been quarentined. Well, in short URI(Upper Resp Infection) in both my cats $500 later no remorse from barbara or am I'm sorry, or let me help with the bills. Unless you have really worked side by side with her, you only see what she wants you to see. There has ALWAYS been problems with her rescue with the Dept of Ag. When you take in that high of a volume of animals there will be a problem. Again you don't know what the Dept of Ag makes us do as far as keeping track of these animals. I agree she does not need to be shut down but she needs to be monitored VERY, VERY closely and the Dept of Ag. does not have the resources to do that. So, for now it might be a good thing that she is shut down, maybe it will give her sometime to see the true harm she has done and get back on course.

itsanotherday1 02/27/13 - 04:30 pm
AHA! csrareader

Thank you for that link. As it often is, things aren't as cut and dried as they first appear.

Darby 02/27/13 - 11:50 pm
Too bad, I've heard a lot about.....

Happy Tails from a lot of people, all of it GOOD. Gotta wonder what's going on here.

GracedKennel 02/28/13 - 06:24 pm
We will help !

Graced Kennel & Augusta Humane Society are pairing together to take some of these animals. "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better,it's not" - Dr. Suess If every rescue gets one animal we can help them, after all it's all about the animals.

Darby 02/28/13 - 07:36 pm
Sorry, but we're doing all we can....

Some classless slob(s) left at least six cats in our neighborhood. Started off as two, but the pregnant one delivered in about a week. My wife adopted them and now I've gotta go get them "fixed". Three males and three females.

I'm thinking it's gonna cost a buck or two. Horsewhipping or tar and feathering (maybe both) would be too good for jerks like that.

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