GENTLE BARN FOUNDATION

Rating: 2.76 stars   79 reviews

Issues: Animals, Children & Youth, Education, Environment, Crime & Law

Location: 6050 Corbin Ave Tarzana CA 91356 USA

Mission: The Gentle Barn Foundation was established after a life-long dream of helping children and animals together. The goal is to teach people kindness and compassion towards animals, people and our planet. With the hands on experience that children get at The Gentle Barn, they learn that animals have feelings and need love just like people do, teaching people to be kind and compassionate to each other. We also want special needs children to have the chance to meet our special, therapeutic farm animals.
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

5 people found this review helpful

I donate money to help Daisy the goat and my partner interns at Gentle Barn at the Sun Chlorella Ranch working with Aldo the manager. These people do amazing things. It is disheartening that disgruntled former hires have nothing better to do but slander and libel against this great organization. They may not see eye to eye with Ellie the owner but I can attest because of my partner that these people are very busy and do amazing things. GOOD FOR GENTLE BARN. They've inspired me to want to open my own rescue ranch one day. Two enthusiastic thumbs up for all they do for the animals!

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 2 stars  

33 people found this review helpful

I'm reviewing the Gentle Barn based on my experience adopting a puppy from them in February of 2013.

A friend shared a photo of two adorable puppies via the Gentle Barn's Facebook page, and I inquired. I was emailed an application from the Gentle Barn, and returned it to the Gentle Barn. I was contacted by the dogs' foster caregiver, and invited to come meet the puppy. I adopted my puppy that day, and paid a $200 fee that was to include microchipping and spay. I was told to wait a couple weeks to chip my puppy, until she was a bit stronger.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and I could not get anyone at the Gentle Barn to return my calls or emails about scheduling the microchipping appointment. Frustrated, I contacted the foster mom--who does not work for the Gentle Barn--and she apologized, promising that the Gentle Barn would be contacting me. They never did, so in the interest of my dog's safety, I spent $130+ to chip her through my own vet in late March.

I continued to try to contact the Gentle Barn through email and by phone, hoping to at least get the spay service provided, but received no response throughout the entire month of April. I finally gave up and posted on their Facebook page that I found it deplorable that they weren't honoring their promises. This was yesterday, May 3rd.

This morning, I woke up to a vicious Facebook message from Ellie, accusing me of slandering her organization and basically calling me a terrible person. She threatened to come take my dog from me.

I also had a voicemail from her, that was actually quite crazy, with no apology for the way they've ignored me or failed to come through on their contract. Instead she was furious that I posted negative words on Facebook, which were, of course, deleted before anyone else could see them.

Quote from Ellie's voicemail: "if you don't stop slandering us, we will come over and take your dog away. Because if you don't stop slandering us, you're obviously an unfit home."

So, to re-cap: in three months, I have not been able to get a response from the Gentle Barn regarding services promised in exchange for a "donation." But when I posted a negative comment on Facebook, I got a Facebook message and a phone call the very next day...calling me names and threatening to take my dog.

The foster mother is now roped into this, as Ellie is now threatening to stop helping her spread the word about rescue dogs, because my dog was one she found. According to Ellie, they only helped place my dog "out of the goodness of (their) hearts." The foster mother is now offering to pay for my dog's spay out of her own pocket to ensure that the Gentle Barn will continue to help her rescue and place animals in the future.

My dog will be spayed at my own expense, because even if Ellie and the Gentle Barn offered to do it, I am not confident that they would give me my dog back.

I hate to be critical, because in theory, the work they do is so wonderful. But something is not right at the Gentle Barn, and I wouldn't give them another dime of my money. Ellie is an abusive bully, and now I have my lawyer looking into how I can prevent them from taking my dog. The money is not the concern anymore.

They get two stars because they did bring me and my wonderful dog together, and for that, I will always be grateful.

Thanks for reading.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A little

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Unlikely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Badly

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

I have been a Volunteer for over 4 years and It is the greatest place to be. I love talking to all the visitors who have come from near and very far. They are in love with the Gentle barn and if it was there fist time there, they say they will be back soon. We have many season pass holders who come almost every week they love it so much. Please come check out our wonderful happy animals and volunteers and we have vegan goodies you can buy for a nice lunch.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have been a volunteer for over 4 years and I have seen first hand all the love and care these animals are given. I also took part in the watching of the 4 extremely sick calves that were rescued from Texas. They were watched and fed around the clock. I did several of the 3am to 7am shifts. They even had blankets made for them to cover them at night.
I sat with many of the goats that were rescued from the back yard butcher and watched how they slowly recovered from the daily nutrients that were hand administered daily. I watched them come from cowering in the corners of the stalls to loving goats who could not get enough love and scratching from us.
I also whitnessed Elllie come in each day and whipe out the deep would caused by a dog bite on a goat. Even though it was a yucky job, she didn't hesitate to clean it and cover it with healing ointment.
I whitnessed Holy and Madonna who were two baby cows that were rescued and bottle fed. We had to watch them to make sure they did not fall over as they grew stronger and healthier. They are now sweet and loving cows.
I have never seen any type of abuse, I have only whitnessed love and concern from Jay and Ellie for their animals.
It is such a delight to see the guests come in for the first time and have them tell me how they can not wait to come back and bring friends and family.
It is a shame that former volunteers are trying to slander the Gentle Barn when it stands for love and healing for all the animals and the special need and inner city childern who come and can relate the the hurt and abuse the animals had suffered and see how they have healed and love again.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 4 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I've been to the Gentle Barn multiple times. They take very good care of their animals and, if you subscribe to their newsletter, they are constantly providing updates on the animals they rescue both their medical condition, treatment and emotional health. I'm very confused as to why someone would describe it as creepy. There's nothing creepy about it. The space is bright and wide open. They provide educational sessions and family friendly events. They shelter the newest animals they've rescued from the public and existing animals until they are healthy emotionally and physically. I've been very impressed. Oh, and this is an animal rescue organization NOT a petting zoo. They rescue animals from those horrid petting zoos.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 3 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

As simply a visitor to the Gentle Barn since 2009, I can say the place definitely isn't creepy at all. Some of these reviews are just bashing the place to bash the place, and they're all under fake names. The volunteers who are leaving their names come off a lot more legit and sound reasonable then the people who keep posting under fake names saying how bad, or good, the Gentle Barn is. Granted, I'm not using my real name either, but I'm not just bashing the place or defending it.

I'm just a fan who discovered the Gentle Barn back in 2009, when they didn't even have a parking lot and you entered on the other side from where you do now. I've always loved it, but the volunteers who have issues and have at least said who they are, are making me second guess things now. I actually recognize a few of the volunteers from going there and was shocked to learn about all the drama.

I would go to the Gentle Barn about 4 to 5 times a year on Sunday. So from the outside, I never really saw anything, other than the few times I watched Buddha really struggle to lay down and you could tell she was in a lot of pain. I loved Buddha but always assumed she had the best care. Same with Josh and some of the older animals. They looked a bit rough at times, but they were old so that's what I chalked it up as. I certainly hope those older animals that have died in the last year were taken care of and not neglected in any way.

The other thing I noticed was that as the Gentle Barn got more exposure from Ellen, the place got really busy and they set up a bunch of new rules. You have to wait now to go to the upper barnyard and listen to Ellie give a speech every time, unless you buy a season pass. Which I did. Her speech is about how the place started, don't chase the animals, and to live a meat free diet. Nothing too crazy but I certainly didn't need to hear it every time I went there. And it does sort of seem that they're trying to get more celebrities like Pamela Anderson or Rose McGowan to attach their name to the place, and then charge $100 to go to parties there. The vibe has changed a little bit due to their fame, but it was nothing I couldn't over look.

I'm kind of torn about the whole thing. I just got a year membership last Summer, but now that I've found out about all this, I'll keep my eyes on it and see on the Gentle Barn reacts to all this. I read they are being investigated and some of the claims the volunteers are reporting definitely need to be addressed.

As a vistior with no knowledge of the inside workings of the place, I'd give it a 5. I've always enjoyed it and had a good time and I love all the animals. But it definitely sounds like there are a lot of legal issues going on and the treatment of volunteers isn't good, so for that I'd give it a 1. The brings my final total to 3.

I certainly hope things work out for the Gentle Barn. If they have anything to hide, the truth will certainly come out eventually. It's really a bummer to see some of these volunteers who were "special people" to the animals be banned from the property. I understand that when you have a business, you're not going to make everybody happy and you might have some disgruntled employees over time. But there are just too many names and too many stories for it to be isolated. And that sucks. And it sucks most of all for the animals. They don't deserve to be stuck in the middle of all this. They've gone through enough.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Unsure

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Some

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 1 stars  

22 people found this review helpful

Have you ever been to a place that was supposed to be fun and happy, but it just felt wrong and sort of creepy? That is my experience with the Gentle Barn. It sounds so good. I love the idea of rescued animals all happy and healthy, but that is not what I found. Some of the animals were great, but some of them were so unhealthy that I think they are being exploited long past the time they should have been released from their pain. There was a red cow there that made me want to cry. How could anyone force this poor guy to keep living? If this cow was my dog, I would have had him euthanized.

And there is something wrong with the people too. I can't really describe it, but something is definitely wrong. It sort of reminds me of a secret society that my friend tried to get me to join back in college. People don't talk freely, and they are always on the lookout to see if they are being watched by anyone else in the secret society. This place felt like that. Creepy. I won't be going back. There are other petting zoos I can take my little girl to visit.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

None

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

No

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Somewhat badly

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 2 stars  

16 people found this review helpful

My name is Kim Grass, I volunteered and then worked in the Gentle Barn office in 2009 and would be very happy to attend an open, public discussion as Darshan proposes with the current staff and Board of Directors regarding financial and animal care records. I have high aspirations that the Gentle Barn philosophy and vision will grow into a real (legit) functioning non-profit to help animals and children alike. Having the current management answer the many questions about animal care and financial records that keep coming up could clear up many unanswered questions and possibly help to bring the Gentle Barn to a better place.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Somewhat badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 1 stars  

32 people found this review helpful

I volunteered for over 2 years and was banned because my taste in friends was not up to Ellie's liking. Not sure why that is any of her business or why this would interfere with my taking care of the animals, but in her mind I guess it was. I helped out with the horses 3 to 4 days a week. I was a " special person" to one horse in particular for the entire time I was there as well as supplying arts and crafts projects for their Sunday events. When I first started there I felt like I had found the most wonderful sanctuary in the world. I would feel at peace the moment I went through those gates. I made wonderful friends who's friendship I cherish to this day. This is the way I wish it had stayed, but unfortunately I started to see that things were not what they appeared to be. Most of the volunteers were afraid of Ellie and I soon found out why. If you ever were to question her or try to tell her about something she would become a whole different person and not a person you would want to see or deal with. This is not a good thing when the welfare of animals is at stake. I soon started finding out that the stories we were told to tell about the animals were not exactly truths. I put up with this and decided to stick it out as long as I could, because at this point I was completely in love with these animals and felt like they needed my protection. Then animals started dying and more lies were being told about what had happened to them. Animals were not getting proper vet care and more and more of my friends were being banned for standing up for these poor creatures. Ellie and Jay believe that they have the animals welfare as their top priority, but I beg to differ. Who gets rid of loving, caring people who devote their free time to take care of these animals? Who love on them day in and day out for no other reason than to make the animals happy. Jay and Ellie obviously don't care about the animals when they drive away all the people who loved them. They obviously don't care how the animals feel now that their "special people" no longer come to visit. That was not even in their minds when they started driving out all the devoted volunteers.
I will gladly go to an open forum where Ellie and Jay can show us proof that these animals are all cared for properly and the money is going to the organization and not into Ellie and Jay's pockets.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A little

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

This is such an amazing place!!! After visiting The Gentle Barn for the first time on a Sunday, I knew I wanted to volunteer there. I spoke to Ellie, the founder, and started the process to become a volunteer. That was 2 1/2 years ago and I have been volunteering ever since. I believe that Ellie truly loves animals and has made caring for them her full time job. Most people say that Disneyland is the happiest place on earth, but I think The Gentle Barn is the happiest place on earth.

The Gentle Barn is an organization that rescues animals from abuse, neglect, slaughter, you name it. Although they primarily rescue farm animals, I have never seen them turn away any animals that needed to be rescued; including dogs and cats. These animals get to live the rest of their lives in a happy and loving environment. This organization is staffed with people who truly believe that all animals and people should be treated with kindness and compassion. We need more places like The Gentle Barn in the world.

On Sundays, the property is open to the public. For a $10 minimum donation, you can visit The Gentle Barn and meet the animals and hear their stories. There are cows, horses, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and llamas that you can meet.

While most of the people that work at or visit The Gentle Barn are vegans or vegetarians, they do not force veganism on anyone. They do ask that you not bring food made with animal products to their property out of respect for their work and respect for the animals. I wouldn't show up at your house eating your dead relatives so I think this is a fair thing to ask of visitors. If you want to have a bacon cheeseburger after you leave, that's your business.

The Gentle Barn also does so much more than open their doors to the public on Sundays. The Gentle Barn is host to abused children, kids recovering from substance abuse, kids on probation and in foster care, and children and adults with mental, emotional, and physical challenges. Through their interactions with animals, children and adults learn forgiveness, courage, strength, leadership skills, trust, empathy, and kindness. The healing that takes place when people get together with the animals is miraculous. I have been able to witness some of these interactions firsthand, and it is truly a beautiful thing to see.

When LA County Animal Control officers shut down a backyard butcher, they brought all of the animals to The Gentle Barn. I have seen animals so sick I did not think they would live, and they have made full recoveries. They use eastern and western medicine, reiki, acupuncture, chiropractic treatments, algae, massage therapy, energy healing, animal communication, and so much more to help heal the animals. It is such a blessing to be a part of the solution.

Volunteering isn't for everyone, but you should definitely come and visit on a Sunday and see what The Gentle Barn is all about!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 1 stars  

30 people found this review helpful

My name is Ligaya and I, along with my family, volunteered at the barn from 2008 to 2011. I’m not bitter, I’m not angry. Jay and Ellie were never mean to us. What I am is sad. Sad for my daughter who lost faith in “good” people. Sad that she had to witness an unwillingness to take action for an animal that even she, at the age of 13, knew was sick. Sad for her that she lost a horse that she loved so much due to lack of care for a disease that a young horse, however hard their life had been previously, should have recovered with aggressive therapy. I have my proof but I’m still willing to sit down at a meeting and let them speak and show me that I’m wrong.

Here’s what I want proven: Why won’t local vets work with the barn? What did Halo the calf really die from? Why isn’t he on the memoriam page? Why, when my daughter had been stating for 3 weeks that he was sick, didn’t anything get done till he was down and couldn’t walk? Where are the papers on Mamma Dear showing her age and her original race name? We were told in the beginning that her race name was Ima Dear. When she came to the barn she immediately took to Addison the donkey and adopted him thereby receiving the name Mamma Dear. Upon further research, I found that a race horse name may only be used once. According to the Thoroughbred Database there was a horse named Ima Dear born in 1965. Well, we know that can’t be her. That would have made her 46 years old. Then, there was Ima Deer, born February 6, 1999. But Mamma Dear’s birth date on her stable card showed her birth year as 1990. Error? Possibly, except that we were told that she was 19 when we started working with her. So that means when she was put down in 2011 she was only 12. Is that why she fought so hard? It would have been great to have had a pic of the tattoo under her lip showing us all who she really was. By the way, if she was Ima Deer, she foaled a mare in 2006 and her name is Irukandji.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful?