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76 Reviews
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September 25, 2011
54 people found this review helpful

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Review from Guidestar
September 25, 2011
54 people found this review helpful

The Gentle Barn Foundation (a registered 501(c)3) is far from "Gentle" and far from a worthy, registered non-profit. As a volunteer, I split my time between helping the animals and working in their main office on various Foundation matters. I had direct personal contact with both of the owners, Ellie Laks and Jay Weiner, the office staff, the ranch hands and their 120+ animals. I personally witnessed inappropriate and reprehensible behavior by Ellie Laks and Jay Weiner towards both the animals, the volunteers and the staff. I witnessed animal neglect and mismanaged care of sick animals, fraudulent fundraising practices and the commingling of the Foundation's money for Laks and Weiner's personal use. While the premise of The Gentle Barn is noble, the inner workings of this Foundation are not. There is no active sitting board of directors and no financial transparency nor oversight. They use shady fundraising and advertising practices to pull on the public's heartstrings to raise money that they then spend on themselves, taking lavish vacations, purchasing personal vehicles, hiring personal masseuses, etc. While this is all fine, it is not fine if you are using donation dollars to do so, which they have and continue to do. One example, in 2010, they rolled out a large fundraising campaign to raise $100K with a $100K donor match to rescue "60 Sad California Dairy Cows" and to erect two (2) barns on their Agua Dulce property for these cows. They raised the funds, obtained the donor match and to this day have not rescued those cows nor erected those barns. Why, because their weren't "60 Sad California Dairy Cows" to rescue. Noticeably, all mention of this campaign has been removed from their website and their Facebook page. If you post an inquiry about it on their Facebook page, they will not respond, but instead they delete those postings. Further, while many of the animals came from neglected and abused backgrounds, many others have not. However, they use all of the animals in their campaigns to gain sympathy and more donation dollars with "rescue" or "neglect" stories that are simply untrue; deceiving the public further. Lastly, as human beings, Laks and Weiner lack one common denominator as responsible and worthy human beings running a non-profit: a moral compass. It is my hope, for the sake of the animals in their care, that Laks and Weiner will be publicly tested and held accountable for their actions and The Foundation will finally be made to appoint an active, responsible and proactive sitting board of directors that will finally carry out the mission of The Gentle Barn Foundation in a responsible and transparent manner: "To rescue, rehabilitate and give sanctuary to abused animals. Through the interaction with our animals people learn reverence for all."

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Tending to the animals and working directly in the office.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

1) Appointment an active, responsible and knowledgeable BOD (board of directors). 2) Immediately fire/remove Ellie Laks and Jay Weiner from controlling positions on the BOD. 3) Prepare, file and make public audited financial statements for the past 5 years. 4) Enact a policy of 100% transparency within the Foundation and 5) See to it the money raised for the care and management of The Foundation's animals is actually used for them.

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