Do it for the animals

Don't let personalities interfere with Happy Tails' overall mission

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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
in.

Comments (17) Add comment
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Young Fred
17860
Points
Young Fred 03/21/13 - 08:16 am
3
0
Wow, this is a tough

Wow, this is a tough one!

“the animals here do appear to be receiving humane care.”

I would think that is the bottom line!

The very nature of this business would suggest that a 100% sastisfaction is near impossible. There is always going to be the instance where a happy ending is not possible. Shear numbers dictate this.

I find this statement in the article to be a bit disturbing: ” Fighting the state, fighting each other and arguing in public meetings won’t feed or shelter one dog”

After you subtract the blinding flash of obviousness, you’re left with the “guts” of the matter.

Was/is there a service to the community?

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 03/21/13 - 08:59 am
3
0
Still sounds like a vendetta

... by some power tripping official. Over all the years they were active, I have never heard ANY bad reports from people who LIVE HERE about the facility or its management.

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 03/21/13 - 09:05 am
3
0
If there were a NEWS paper

... in the CSRA, they could tell the public the percentages of animals euthenized versus say, the taxpayer funded animal control facility. It is about rescue, or is it about one clown with an agenda misusing their position?

dstewartsr
20389
Points
dstewartsr 03/21/13 - 09:08 am
3
1
"...another rescue organization must step up..."

Why would anyone want to put all that heartbreaking commitment into this worthy effort ... only to be slapped down by one government wienie with their panties in a wad?

Aceman
111
Points
Aceman 03/21/13 - 11:21 am
3
3
There may be other factors involved here

Besides whether or not the animals are properly cared for. It should be noted that an upscale subdivision has been built next to the facility and the homes adjacent to it have been negatively impacted by the noise, odor, and runoff from such a large number if dogs. I understand that Happy Tails was there first but that doesn't change the fact that the closest neighbor to it is not able to go outside without having to endure the odor and the constant, almost nonstop barking. Now one could argue that those people should have known better than to build a house next to a dog rescue facility (and I use the term facility loosely here). But they do have a valid point in my opinion. Maybe the developer should not have built on the lot that borders it. Maybe the property should not have been licensed for an animal rescue in the first place because it was too close to already developed property and property that had the potential to be developed in the future. Hindsight is 20 20 here. Personally, I believe that the resident that lives next to Happy Tails, after having Barbara cited by the county for barking complaints and then losing in court on a technicality, decided to revive her complaint through the DOA. Maybe she also recruited the homeless volunteer in her efforts. Or maybe the volunteer sought the neighbor out. I don't know. This is all just my opinion of course, because I'm sure that the DOA would not have pursued this without proper cause. I'm not suggesting that this was done maliciously or without the proper procedure being followed. However, I did see a news story about this homeowner in which she was interviewed and was complaining not only about barking and odor, but also claimed that the waste runoff was killing trees on her property. These are all valid complaints that, from my understanding, were investigated and found to be true. Should a rescue group be able to operate in this manner when they are actually causing damage to someone's property and adversely affecting someone's use and enjoyment of their property? Well, I guess that's the issue here. That homeowner certainly will probably never be able to sell the property under these conditions so what is the solution? In my opinion, neither the county nor the state should have ever allowed such a facility in this location in the first place. You want to have 40 barking dogs on your property that pass waste all day long? More power to you, but maybe you should do it in a way that doesn't ruin someone else's enjoyment of their property. I wouldn't want to live next to it either. It kind of boils down to very poor planning on everyone's part. Throw into the mix the homeless, alleged thief who turned on her benefactor and you have quite an interesting story going on here. I would love to see the photos that she presented and I think we also need to see what it was that Karen Gross submitted at the meeting. It will be very interesting to see how this all shakes out.

deestafford
28596
Points
deestafford 03/21/13 - 11:02 am
3
0
As to the above comment...

It's like moving next to an airport and complaining about the noise. I seriously doubt there was any run off killing trees on adjacent property. I don't think even a hog farm would cause that.
It takes a special person, and they are very few of them, willing to take the time, effort, expense, and grief...not to mention a great deal of love...to run an animal rescue facility. This situation has vendetta written all over it.

dichotomy
34322
Points
dichotomy 03/21/13 - 11:05 am
2
1
Let me first say that I have

Let me first say that I have no doubt that Ms. Gleitsmann provided a great service to the animals she took in and with the best of intentions. I also agree that “the animals here do appear to be receiving humane care” should top ANY "cobwebs in the corner" violations. ANY humane care is better than euthanizing these defenseless pets who were abandoned and/or abused by humans.

Having said that, I think there was more involved here than just the state inspectors. If I remember correctly there had also been complaint(s) from an adjoining property owner. I think they involved incessant barking and wastewater runoff containing fecal matter and urine. I don't know who was there first, the shelter or the neighbors, but I do have SOME sympathy for the neighbors if their complaints are valid. I know that one of my neighbors had a hunting dog kennel about 200 yards from my house and the 24 hour a day barking in my formerly quiet country setting became like somebody sticking a knife through my brain. I never complained but I did rejoice when he decided to give up his hobby of breeding hunting dogs.

If Happy Tails was there BEFORE the neighbors bought the adjoining property and built their house, then shame on them for not checking things out before they built. If the neighbors built there BEFORE Ms. Gleitsmann started the kennel, then I certainly have some sympathy for the neighbors.

At any rate, I hope Ms. Gleitsmann will be able to correct the deficiencies, cure the wastewater problem, make peace with her neighbors, and be allowed to continue to provide a most needed service to the abandoned and abused animals that some humans cast off like so much garbage.

The bottom line to any story about rescue shelters is shame on us humans for creating the need for them in the first place.

Stunned 2
4907
Points
Stunned 2 03/21/13 - 11:18 am
2
1
Dear Editor: Yes, there are

Dear Editor:
Yes, there are so many Happy Tails’ volunteers that have come to Ms. Glietsmann’s defense and so many more adoptees and boarders that have also defended her and the condition of her shelter. These are people that are out at the shelter all the time, and know the shelter well. Why does the government decide to side with 1 individual and write nit-picky citations and close down this shelter? I have made numerous calls to government officials expressing my opposition, and I caught every one of them in an untruthful statement. DOA’s Animal Protection Manager Mark Murrah told me that DOA had been citing her for ‘a year and a half’, and later in the conversation said ‘since July, 2012’, I pointed out to him that that ‘is 7 months, not a year and a half’, but still he comes back to our community and closes down our largest rescue shelter. The government made a huge mistake. So many of the animals that she took in were malnourished and sick when she received them. They were abandoned and/or abused by previous owners that did not take care of them. Yes, sadly some were beyond saving, even by this wonderful lady with such a huge heart.Why does the media decide to chop up this story and present it at an angle that favors 1 individual with accusations of fraud flying around her? One individual with accusations that she abandoned her 10 cats & 2 dogs at this wonderful shelter that even gave her shelter as a homeless person, but was forced to leave because of other accusations of dishonesty? I don’t know Mrs. Glietsmann personally, just the great reputation that she has had for 10 years in my community, and sought her out when adopting a pet. I know several volunteers and boarders that are extremely satisfied with the services that Happy Tails Rescue and Whisker’s Resort provided. I adopted another dog last weekend, I take care of a stray cat and I am at the maximum number of animals that I can take care of. At the rally, Mrs. Gleitsmann went down a long list of local government agencies (Fire rescue, Richmond County animal control, Ft. Gordon and others) that have called on her shelter , sometimes in the middle night, to help them with a stray animal, and she and her volunteers jumped into action. Everyone is affected by careless pet owners. It is my hope that that even more people in this community will tell the Georgia Department of Agriculture that they made a mistake!
• edit

Stunned 2
4907
Points
Stunned 2 03/21/13 - 11:26 am
3
1
Beetles were killing the neighbors trees, not run off

Beetles were killing the neighbors trees, not run off from this shelter.
The tress were inspected by tree specialist and the neighbor had allowed an untreated spread of deadly tree bugs to spread, presented a dangerous situation to all.

Aceman
111
Points
Aceman 03/21/13 - 11:35 am
1
3
The story that I saw stated

The story that I saw stated that the dead trees were examined by an expert who determined that they were, indeed, killed by the waste runoff. I can tell you from experience that dog urine does kill grass and bushes. I have no doubt that such a large number of dogs could kill trees if the runoff is going to the same area over a long period of time. It appears that this is the case here.

Stunned 2
4907
Points
Stunned 2 03/21/13 - 01:17 pm
2
2
Oh is that what happened to the trees that built outhouses?

Oh is that what happened to the trees that built outhouses? I have heard my older relatives talking about using wood outhouses. Is that why the ice frozen tundra that we see hundreds of seals lying on - that do not have trees? I think we should consider other documented and proven reasons that kill trees such as tree beetles, wind-sweep frozen terrain, and axes that chop trees down to build out houses. It's not the urine on the ice or outhouse. Beetles are documented to kill trees.
Happy Tails Rescue has many live trees.

Aceman
111
Points
Aceman 03/21/13 - 02:26 pm
1
2
No need to get nasty. I'm

No need to get nasty. I'm just telling you what I saw on the news and what I know from first hand experience.Unless you are an arborist who has done a first hand assessment then you don't know any more than I do. At least I'm going by something I saw in the news.

Little Lamb
46850
Points
Little Lamb 03/21/13 - 03:11 pm
2
1
Waste Management

If you run a farming operation, you can bet that you have to have a waste (feces & urine) management plan approved by the Agriculture Department. You also have to have a mortality plan approved for what you are going to do with livestock that die on the property. Perhaps those rules don't apply to pet rescue operations, but once a complaint is called in, the inspectors have to make some judgment calls. This inspector felt there were too many animals on the parcel for continued operation.

itsanotherday1
45280
Points
itsanotherday1 03/21/13 - 03:45 pm
2
1
This is obviously a

This is obviously a complicated issue that needs reasoned thought on all sides. Maybe the next door developer and the county work together to find her a different piece of property, and trade it out for what she has. As for other violations, she has to comply, period, end of story.

Only one thing on her behalf that I read an assertion about, was that she "imported" dogs from other areas. In my book, that would be a negative. If you are doing a service in the community for unwanted pets, why import more to add to your issues of feeding, shelter, waste disposal, etc.? That begins to border on hoarding...

Young Fred
17860
Points
Young Fred 03/21/13 - 03:56 pm
0
1
here, here

littlelamb and itsanotherday - for level-headed points in an otherwise emotional debate!

paladin5
299
Points
paladin5 03/22/13 - 11:15 pm
0
0
THE FACTS....

Been there and saw the problem. Bottomline: Happy Tails Rescue was there first, by a significant time. The Homeowner did not do there homework. If you were to build your house next to a sewage treatment plant, whose decision and problem is that ????...Period.

Problems that were identified by the homeowner were addressed and corrected in reference to waste removal....No "flood" of urine or fecal matter on a Tsunami scale existed. Trees were not falling over. Now barking....well hard to justify removing the dogs' Barkers. Know where you are building. Yes, this specific homeowner built in a location that was AFTER Happy Tails....Conversations with other neighbors did not get any really significant feedback. Maybe because while I was talking to them their dogs were running around barking.......Life is Funny Sometimes.

Stunned 2
4907
Points
Stunned 2 03/26/13 - 07:32 am
0
0
Does DOA have the authority to monitor noise in a community?

Does DOA have the authority to monitor noise in a community? Isn't that with the community? If DOA made a decision based on noise, aren't they stepping outside of their authority? Also, comparable, are all animal facilities cited for cobwebs - if present? There are inconsistencies with DOA's actions against this facility, DOA may need. to be investigated

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