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Animal rescue plans rally in Evans

Posted: March 12, 2013 - 5:58pm  |  Updated: March 16, 2013 - 11:00pm

An animal rescue group ordered to close by the state is asking supporters to rally before Tuesday’s Columbia County Commission meeting.

State officials, however, say they still expect the rescue group to shut down on Monday.

Happy Tails Rescue owner Barbara Gleitsmann, who is scheduled to speak during the commission meeting, 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.

The rally is to be held in front of the Evans Government Center Auditorium at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 19.

Even though she signed off on the Department of Agriculture’s findings and agreed to have all animals out of the shelter by Monday, March 18, Gleitsmann said she hopes with enough support that they’ll at least get a reprieve on the deadline for closure.

However, Mary Kathryn Yearta, chief communications officer for the Department of Agriculture, said in an email message that “there is nothing in the works that would grant any changes to the consent order.”

Columbia 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 dogs from the Columbia County Animal Services facility.

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

Besides, he added, 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 researching an ordinance 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.

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Comments (22)


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. 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

Please sign this petition to

Please sign this 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!!!


Stunned 2

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 and should be thanking Ms. Glietsman. We will hold Government Officials accountable when we suffer personal or property injury because stray cats and dogs have nowhere to go and cause traffic accidents. They will be liable when rabies comes into our neighborhoods.



I'm a citizen of Columbia County, I'm a pet owner, and I must ask this first and foremost... WHO is this Barbara Glietsman again? Seriously people, you can't just support something because they are called a "rescue" group. You can put a cobra infront of me with a tag on that says "Pet Me, I'm A Cute Bunny" but i'm not foolish enough to fall for it. This lady doesn't rescue animals, she doesn't give rabies shots, she doesn't go out on the street and remove the stray animals. If you want to argue with me on this, please show me the paperwork of all the animals she's removed from the street, or rescued, or even vaccinated... OH WAIT, that'll be hard because nobody kept up with the paperwork. I adopted three of my pets from animal control and I'll be the first to tell you that they are on your butt about having the animal vaccinated and fixed. I couldn't imagine adopting from anywhere other than a shelter, the animals that actually NEED a new home... the animals that have been left after "rescue groups" like the one mentioned comes through and picks out all the "good ones." On a side-note **THERE ISN'T A YORKIE OR POM THAT HAS EVER BEEN RESCUED... EVER!!!** Want to impress me? Then rescue the mixed breeds, the big dogs, the dogs that are no longer puppies, THEN i'll stand behind you AND continue to stand behind the government run shelter. I know this is going to rub some people the wrong way, and honestly I could care less. You can call yourself a "Rescue Group" all you want, and have your little rallies of followers, and do whatever you want but It'll only make me question "Where was all this drive when it came to taking care of the animals that were at your facility?" Oh, is it a facility or just a nasty house that calls themself a facility? Either way, my opinion is no matter what you label yourself there is never a good excuse for animal abuse. I'm Done.


Stunned 2

Ohhh, you are so ill informed

I received paper work with my dog that I adopted from Happy Tails. The rescued animals are vaccinated and provided needed health care. I have heard many stories of people taking strays to Happy Tails. I believe that Ms. Glietsman is an retired public school teacher, but I know that she has devoted over a decade to service to Columbia County. I have visited the shelter and it is wonderful.
For someone that is so ill informed, why are you so angry? Your comment, Mr. AngryNiceGuy seems very displaced. Take a pill.


My Retort

Ill informed? But... I'm going by what the state has found to be true. Is the state of Georgia ill informed???? Well now that's just a scary thought! Maybe they're just out to get this particular group? Or maybe somebody that works for the state of Georgia has something against the Barbara person personally. Or maybe they performed an investigation and found tons of things wrong, gave her time to fix said things, went back and she hadn't done everything listed, then shut her down. I'm not angry at anybody in particular but I am angry. Animal abuse just tends to rub me the wrong way. Dog being kept in horrible conditions with open wounds and such make me sick to my stomach. And people who support these things just do not sit well with me. Animal abuse is a horrible thing, but that's just my silly little opinion. She was a school teacher? Interesting... irrelevant but that's good to know? I guess it all just comes back to SHE wasn't taking care of the animals, SHE got caught, and now SHE needs to face with the consequences. I have faith that even without her around, Columbia County will be okay as far as strays and vaccinations go. Again... just my opinion. =)



Not so Nice a Guy

I don't recall any mention of animals with open wounds being on the premises. As far as the paperwork goes, there was no intentional mishandling of paperwork. They did however become too overwhelmed by the multitude of dogs needing help and there were random papers that accidentally were overlooked in the process. If anyone told them of a stray dog or cat they had seen, they would go look for the animal and try to rescue them. If you told them you had a stray on your premises that you could not care for they would find a foster home or take them in if possible. They are relentless on vaccinations and having the animal fixed. Granted, they got in over their heads. There were sanitation issues and the I's were dotted and the T's not crossed on all the paperwork but these people rescued thousands of animals. In case you are not aware, the State run shelters MUST euthanize all animals after a period of time. So if a rescue worker goes in and picks out the ones that look the most adoptable and gets them out of there before their time is up...Good! I would love to see them put out an action plan on how things will be handled differently in the future. This would surely give the Commissioners reason to consider backing them.


To Belle

I'm not sure if that link will show up, if not just copy and paste it to your browser. There you will see what I'm talking about as far as open wounds go. As far as there being many corrupt rescue groups out there getting animals from shelter that can get them the most profit, I will stand by that statement until the day I die. I'm not going to argue with you on this because we'll both be wasting time and energy. I hope this lady will fix everything that's wrong with this place she's "running" and I hope that more animals can be adopted out and fostered and such. If the public would have their animals fixed it wouldn't be so bad but that's a whole 'nother issue one I'm sure somebody out there will disagree with. But if reading statements and reports from the Department of Ag and then getting upset because of what I read as far as animal abuse goes makes me a "not so nice guy" then so be it. I'm sure she's a nice lady, but that doesn't excuse anybody. Enough said about this, sorry if i've offended anybody but I mean... some people just hate being called out. <3 you all


Stunned 2

GA Dept of Agriculture says the animals were in good shape

Nice Guy: I have spoken to GA Dept of Agriculture. They say that the animals were well taken care of. You need to review that Citation. There are no charges for Animal abuse. Mark Murray sent the doc.s to me & I think that he will send you copies. During my coversations with several DOA officials I have caught discrepancies (on their part) and YES I pointed the dispancies out to them. IT is MY OPINION that it is very clean. Ms. Glietsman made public explainations that gave her side of the DOA charges. Based on all the information that I have gathered first hand: The GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE OFFICIALS ARE MAKING A FOOLISH DECISION! This closure is NOT warranted!
In the future, Mr. NiceGuy do not do your investigationing sitting at a computer desk, Do the leg work yourself, then maybe your comments will hold some truth



Yes, MrNiceGuy83, I agree with you that the root of the overpopulation problems are certainly the lack of spaying and neutering of people's pets. I don't see a fix for that in my lifetime.

The Happy Tails problems will hopefully (though in reality I doubt it) be resolved with the year of losing their license to operate as a rescue. That gives an entire year to make some plan on how to operate within the laws of our state, keeping animals in healthy, sanitary conditions.

There are plenty of rescue groups right here in our local counties that are doing exactly that. They're inspected NO differently than Happy Tails, by the same standard, the difference is those rescue groups actually pass the inspection because they're doing things within the law. Where's the rally or push to help those rescues that operate properly? The rally to try to keep Happy Tails running is not an answer the the problem, that group needs to address exactly how they allowed things to get and remain in such terrible hoarding-level conditions and make sure it never happens again.

Stunned 2

Not a Hoarder - Hoarders do not give up their possessions

She's not a hoarder, Hoarders do not give up their possessions. Happy Tails Rescue held adoption clinics every weekend and actively sought loving homes for the pets in their possession.
I remember some free-loader started these complaints last summer, wasn't that lady the one that was suppose to be taking care of cleaning the cages & waste disposal?


To dontflyfast - educate yourself!

You haven't read all of the reports yourself I take it? You say there's been 'no change' but increasing the number of dogs from numbers in the 20's and 30's to over 70 isn't a CHANGE? Stacking crates on top of crates in a hot garage (that was once never used for dogs) to take in even more smacks of the show "Hoarders". That's the reality of what was happening and hopefully has changed. I'd guess you're a new supporter who's only seen things 'behind the fence' since the failing inspections and the mad dash to move dogs around or maybe you've never even seen that place. All goes back to education, get all of the information and then support if you think that's the right thing to do.



Yes rapt I have read all the reports and have the spread sheet of violations , dates and what the violations were , mostly paper work and taking in more dogs. I am a vet surgical tech, I just might be able to educate you. Lets remember these dogs come and go pretty quickly through adoptions and fosters. Stacking creates is nothing new with rescues , dog and cats shows, shelters and even Veterinary offices when room gets tight.I have know Barbara for over 15 years , so no not a new comer. Yes she took in a few to many , I will agree.. but there were never over 70 rescue dogs . Don`t get the two businesses confused!!! I think you need to stop being so judgmental as you appear to be one of the people that may have complained to the DOA ... Perhaps friends with the girl that stole money from Happy Tails or a friend of the bell ringer who plagiarizer and lied in their article.."behind the fence" .. as Stunned 2 said "hoarders" don`t take pets in and then find them homes .. they keep them .. you may want to look that up! Chances are these animals would be dead had she not taken them in and most of them have homes or are being fostered now ..So I say guilty of having a heart to big to say no .. let`s remember the DOA saw NO INHUMANE TREATMENT! Perhaps your not aware of what inhumane treatment really looks like? I`ve seen things people have done to pets that would give you nightmares and have assisted in shutting several puppy mills down in Fla.You have no clue as to what inhumane conditions look like ..take some of your own advise and get educated ! You are a prime example of why people that really get their hands dirty and put their heart and soul into saving these animals feel they always have to be on the defense ! Bottom line is we do what it takes if we can save a life!



Mr Not so Nice Guy

Ok, I read your report. One dog had a torn ear....one dog had busted stitches...one had puncture wounds. When did these dogs come in? How rambunctious were they? The torn ear can happen anytime anywhere and there is nothing much to do but apply something like Neosporin and rinse with saline. My dogs get little wounds like this all the time just playing in the yard. Where did the dog with puncture wounds come from and when? He could have arrived like that. The busted stitches, a problem for sure but I am sure they would have been noticed with their bath. Remember, the State did NOT mention any of this in their final report. As far as dogs fighting, I have a 4 yr old and a 5 yr old dog each of whom will challenge the other to a wrestling match and at times you would swear they were in a battle to the death but they never actually bite each other and no one gets hurt. If one does get tired or pinched, the other waits for him to feel better before reigniting the battle. It's called PLAY. I know of two boxers who adore each other but if one wants to chase someone and the other wants to get in the action a battle ensues for the right to be the chaser.
I have dogs dropped on my property on a regular basis. I have used Happy Tails to place them. The FIRST thing Ms Gleitsman insists on is a vet check. The SECOND thing is up to date vaccinations. Then and only then will she help me find them homes. Once they are placed they MUST schedule an appt to be fixed and the paperwork from the clinic is detailed and dated to insure it was done. Her biggest fault as I see it? ...Being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of animals that need to be helped. She works every second of every day, never stopping to relax. She will take business calls while bathing the dogs or cleaning the kennels and that probably results in the most paperwork error. If you don't write it down you won't remember it.
As for her "taking the dogs that will bring the most profit"..Are you serious??? These dogs have to be fed, bathed, bedded, driven to the vet, given vaccinations, driven to adoptions...there is no profit there. Have you seen Ms. Gleitsman's home? She is NOT living the high life. She is a minimalist by choice in order to save as many dogs and cats as possible. I am sure you are one of those who also condemn Goodwill for selling merchandise donated. How do you think they pay for the job training and education assistance they give to people to help remove them from the streets permanently?
Again, I think it is in Happy Tails' best interest to release a plan of action that will clear up the problems they have encountered and even created. They are not perfect but they are truly necessary.

Stunned 2

Bravo Donflyfast! We smelled something sinister...now we Know

Bravo Donflyfast! We smelled something sinister...now we know what it is. I'm just a concerned citizen - on the outside looking in. One State Rep'.s Office that returned my called asked me 'What's really going on there?'...I didn't know. I was suspicious that the original Complainant was probable the one that was responsible for cleaning the cages & waste disposable, etc - and got fired for not doing her job - and took the opportunity to call DOA, knowing that she left the facility a mess. I do not know Ms. Gleitman, but am appreciatative of her service to our community, and I am very concerned with how this community can handle our precious pets once her shelter is closed. I hope that Columbia County is better than letting them all go to the pound for a most likely death.
I hope that the dirty theives are prosecuted and are sent away for at least 10 years to a prison where they are locked in crowded cages and stacked on top of each other at night to sleep..I hear that there might be mice there and urine on the floor...sometimes fights break out between them.....I have saved these comments....so, if a Judge - at sentencing would like to consider them!


Happy Tails

I was really saddened to read Chairman Cross's comments in today's News-Times regarding Happy Tails and animal shelters in general. Not only is he determined not to assist Happy Tails in any way, he now wants to restrict the numbers of animals that others can rescue. This will result in the needless execution of countless animals at the county's (i.e. taxpayers' expense). I have emailed both Chairman Cross and my representative on the Commission, Bill Morris with my concerns on this issue. I had hoped for some sort of response. Silly me, guess they are too busy to address the concerns of their constituents. Chairman Cross, Cruella De Vil called--she wants her reputation as the world's worst pet villain back.


Ron Cross / KayCamp9249

The problem with our County Commissioners is that they have two sets of rules ( typical for any branch of Government) The rules they live by and the rules they feel we should live by. Let`s take just a couple of examples ..remember how they approved a low housing complex in Evans before a public hearing ? They pretty much lied to every concern resident at that meeting ..Then back in 2006 when it was discovered Ron Cross had been taking 2 homesteadhttp://newstimes.augusta.com/stories/2006/08/23/opi_93520.shtml

He claims it was an over site .. well I wonder who did his taxes and how it could have possibly been looked over. It amazes me he has held this office for so long .. Doesn`t seem to be about listening to the people. There is an old saying " your only as good as your word " and they all want raises across the board ?


Stunned 2

The only State Rep.'s Office that seemed concerned was

The only State Rep.'s Office that seemed concerned was Barry Fleming. I got called back and they shared our concerns with the DOA’s action against Happy Tails Rescue. I am not in his district, but appreciated their support. I believe that they contacted DOA in response to citizens’ opposition. I will not be voting for Gary Black for Commissioner of Agriculture again. I urge everyone to contact State level and the local Republican Party offices - that they need to find a new candidate for the next election! ..same goes for Columbia County commissioners...let's vote the current Commission out!

Little Lamb


KayCamp posted:

County Commission Chairman Ron Cross wants to restrict the numbers of animals that others can rescue. . . .

Well, I think that's reasonable. If the local government does not restrict the number of stray dogs, cats, horses, snakes, goats, chickens, emus, cattle, or any other animals on a parcel of property, where will public safety end?


Little lamb,animal protection rules and regulations 40-13-13-.02

There already are restrictions on the amount of animals you can have personally and as rescue. As with any business you must apply for a license .. When you are approved for a license the DOA puts restrictions on it (in this case it would be the amount of animals) and you pay accordingly. The license can cost 100-400 dollars ,depending on how many animals you are approved for.Thus we already have restrictions in place , but our county official does NOT appear to be aware of what the rules and regulations are of the state ... just another case of open mouth insert foot for Ron Cross!!! We really need a change in our local government !


Stunned 2

Thanks donflyfast, I agree

Thanks donflyfast, I agree. I was just going to ignor Little Lamb's comment, but I'm glad that you responded to her. We need elected officials and government employees that are on the taxpayers' payroll - that serve their citizens' needs. Most are not standing up for us and Happy Tails Rescue. I've only had 1 official that did not serve me inaccurate bulls*** so far, but I'm not going to give up. I am keeping count, though.


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