Obviously the people giving one-star reviews are Lisa McManus or her friends. (In fact I recognize some of the online IDs as such.) Yes, they have a lot of birds -- probably too many -- but they also have a ton of volunteers to help clean, feed, and play with them. They are fed twice a day -- they get a bean mix in the morning, and some seeds/nuts and "chop" in the afternoon. Most of the birds are in spacious enclosures and, weather permitting, they spend time outdoors. They are showered regularly.
The Department of Agriculture and animal control needed the Foundation to take in more than 100 birds when McManus was busted for neglect and hoarding. The only place to keep the birds (as they had to be in quarantine) was in Murad's three-car garage. They were moved as soon as quarantine was over.
So this poor review is obviously by someone who was on the wrong side of the law. Again, while I am unhappy that they've taken in so many birds (and don't adopt out as quickly as they could), given the fact that so many birds need homes and that there are so few facilities to take them, the Foundation may be doing the best job they can.
This organization only wants your money. They will not get back to you. They will take your membership money, or your application money and you will never hear another word. Absolutely awful. It seems this kind of activity should be illegal, but from other reviews I've read on the web, this is common place at this organization. I called, I emailed for months. Yes, MONTHS. And never a word.
I am a long-time volunteer for this organization and I continue to volunteer because I believe in what they do and I feel they always have the best interests of the birds in their care at heart. I know they they are contacted daily from people wanting to relinquish their birds - a difficult position to be in, as I'm guessing every reputable animal shelter knows. I've seen them spend an amazing amount of time with potential adopters, to help them find the right bird, educate them on the proper care, and be there to work through any problems a past adopter may be having with their bird. Working with an animal shelter is not for the faint-hearted... There are heartbreaks along with the many happy stories. It is also incredibly rewarding though.
The Gabriel Foundation has done nothing but improve since I've been there and I honestly cannot recommend them highly enough. Whether you choose to volunteer here or assist the birds in another way, this organization is a great choice.
I have been a monthly donor to The Gabriel Foundation for over 2 years now. I follow their activities on Facebook and visit both of their locations occasionally. The facilities are clean and the birds appear well-cared for. It does seem a bit crowded, but shelters generally are. I think that they do the best they are able to do with the resources and staff they have. I will continue to donate to them as long as I am financially able to do so.
Review from Guidestar
I cannot say enough about The Gabriel Foundation. The care these birds receive is unbelievable! Every time I am at the Aviary or Birdbrain the cages are clean, the diet is what I feed my birds at home (which incidentally is better than what I feed myself) and there are plenty of toys in their cages. Knowing birds as I do you can definitely tell if they are happy or sad or upset by the look in their eyes. The birds are happy. Consider the circumstances these birds have gone through.....locked in closets by previous owners, abused because they are simply being loud or destructive (as birds sometimes can be) and you will know that they know they are in a better situation. The one thing I ask everyone who may give them a poor review is what are YOU doing to help the situation. I foster several birds from the organization and have nothing but good things to say. Nobody is perfect in running a "business" but at the end of the day there wouldn't be a need for the foundation if pet "caretakers" were more responsible for their animals and not buy them because they look "cute" (among other reasons).
I can only speak to what I observed at a recent visit to the TGF Aviary and Birdbrain. We were greeted by exceedingly friendly staff, the facilities were clean, and it was clear everyone cared tremendously for the parrot inhabitants. There absolutely were a lot of birds at both locations but at no time did it appear that these creatures were being given anything but the best care (clean cages, fresh water, outside time, human interaction, lots of toys, etc). This is certainly a huge undertaking and it saddens me that animals like parrots are treated as though they are disposable requiring organizations like TGF to appear to be bursting at the seams with animals. Unfortunately one can't sit in a room with a flock of parrots and pick the cutest one like puppies or kittens and walk out the door. The process is time consuming (as it should be) which lends itself to a lot of parrots waiting for a home.
I am a long-time volunteer with The Gabriel Foundation and I spend significant time there every week. I suspect some of the previous negative reviews posted were given by some disgruntled employees that are thankfully gone from the organization. Since these employees have left, the number of volunteers has grown significantly (and yes, I believe it's no coincidence). In addition, the energy there has become much more positive and friendly.
The employees that have joined TGF in the last year are passionate, energetic and motivated. They love the birds and they are focused on TGF's mission. Significant improvements have been made in many areas, directly due to the efforts of the current staff and volunteers. I'm proud to be a part of this organization.
About the birds in their care... I have volunteered for many different shelters and rescues over the years, so I have a decent basis of comparison. TGF's level of care is one of the best I've seen. Do they have a large number of birds? Without a question, yes. Could they use more space? Yes, but what shelter couldn't? However, their buildings and cages are cleaned daily, the birds are fed an amazing diet of sprouts, fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts, pellets, etc., toys and perches are continually rotated and checked for safety, and they have a vet on staff (as well as two local avian vets that provide tremendous support). There are large outdoor aviaries filled with foraging, climbing and playing options. I truly believe that TGF does everything they can (with the limited resources that a non-profit has) to provide the best quality of life for their birds.
My last comment is that if you have doubts about The Gabriel Foundation, then go see it for yourself. Take a tour, talk to the volunteers and employees there, and visit with the birds. Many of the birds came from hoarding/cruelty situations, so while they may look sad at first glance because they are plucked or have health issues... they came to TGF that way and have likely made huge improvements since their arrival. It's about perspective and education.
The Gabriel Foundation took care of my birds for a year while I studied abroad. It's very difficult to find quality care for such sensitive creatures, but this organization has exceeded my expectations. I had regular updates (with pictures!) while I was gone, and when I got back the birds were happy and healthy. I attended a lecture on avian nutrition at the aviary, and will be able to feed my bird a much more healthy diet because of what I learned there. I've seen what they have done for other birds, including rescue from abuse and abandonment. The quality of their facilities is unparalleled.
Review from Guidestar
I am planning on adopting a parrot and had the opportunity to visit their impressive aviary last week. This group is outstanding in respect to the operation and care facility they have achieved. Their good work to take in the 60 odd parrots that were found in a dire situation, housed in a place with no running water or electricity, is most impressive. Some of the birds I met have been cared for in their facility for 3 years. I look forward to my new friend and actively participating in this organization.
Review from Guidestar
This nonprofit is absolutely TERRIBLE. The foundation has also been literally kicked out of other counties in the state and has gone through numerous managerial turnovers as the result of poor management on the part of the president.