Supporters do love Barbara Gleitsmann, as a rally for her showed in Evans on Tuesday.
But they need to be very careful not to make the founder of Happy Tails animal rescue the issue. She’s not. The animals are.
Fact is, the state ordered her Appling nonprofit operation closed for alleged shortcomings, notably sanitation – and a former helper told Columbia County commissioners at their public meeting Tuesday that conditions at Happy Tails were “senseless and inhumane,” and that she helped bury animals that died “from parvo, from cancer, from dog fights, from untreated kidney failure.”
We don’t know where the truth lies; the state acknowledged in its own report that “the animals here do appear to be receiving humane care.”
The important thing is to move forward – and, as a society, to do better by the companion animals God has gifted to us, whether that be through Gleitsmann or somebody else.
We would encourage all her supporters to channel their energies not toward her defense, but toward the homeless, abused, neglected and unwanted animals that are at the center of it all.
Fighting the state, fighting each other and arguing in public meetings won’t feed or shelter one dog.
If it isn’t an improved Happy Tails, it’s likely that another rescue organization must step up; it’s unlikely the community of neglected, needy animals will go away anytime soon.
If Gleitsmann can be faulted, it’s probably for allowing herself to get in over her head. In truth, though, that’s ultimately society’s bugaboo.
The rest of us need to pitch