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!
I understand Darshan Sergi is trying to organize a public meeting with the Gentle Barn! I would love to attend!
My name is Erich Lange and I was a donor, volunteer, special person, served on the committee for the Gentle Barn's first golf tournament, possess a Lifetime Family Membership Card ($1000.00), and rode with Jay to the Planning Department in 2010. I have been to both of their facilities. I volunteered from May 2010 until I was asked not to come back in February 0f 2011. My first visit to the Gentle Barn was to make a $1000.00 donation to help save "60 sad cows". Here are a few questions I would like answered at the meeting:
1. Where is their 2010 IRS Form 990? (update 2/26/13 - it is now on Guidestar)
2. Where is their 2011 IRS Form 990? (update 2/26/13 - it is now on Guidestar)
3. Was the structure they put up on the Agua Dulce property permitted? I can't find a record of a permit.
4. What happened to the 60 cows from their 2010 campaign; the one where they raised $200,000?
5. On their 2009 IRS Form 990, I believe it says they paid $0.00 in salaries. How is that possible with a full office staff?
6. Jay once told me that he and Ellie didn't draw a salary. How did they support a family of 5 with no income?
7. If they weren't drawing a salary, how did they pay for their Las Vegas wedding and their various vacations (Hawaii, etc)?
8 Did their Board meet regularly BEFORE the Attorney General showed up in November of 2011? Do they have the minutes?
9. What does Ellen have to say about the 60 cows that were never rescued?
10. Could we ask to see their personal tax returns for 2010 and 2011 so we can see how they supported a family of five?
11. Were they responsible for my website being temporarily shut down?
12. How many "disgruntled" people did Ellie actually send her "Notice and Warning" to?
13. When the Gentle Barn was in Tarzana(?), was it zoned for an animal rescue?
14. GB faithful have claimed that my posts seeking answers are "filled with lies!" yet I am still waiting to have that claim substantiated. Please ask Jay, Ellie, Mike, Michelle, etc. to compile an actual list of these lies so I can apologize in public at this meeting. In two years the best any of them has come up with is that I had the name of a chicken wrong (the one that was accidentally killed by one of their pigs). The truth is that I have never knowingly lied about Jay, Ellie, or the Gentle Barn.
I hope this helps in preparing a list of questions for the meeting.
Erich O. Lange, P.E.
Facebook: Where are the cows?
My name is Kathy Lange. I was a donor, volunteer and a 'special person' to a cow at the gentle barn. I am willing to attend a meeting to hear what Jay, Ellie and the Board of Directors have to say about the allegations made on this and other sites.
My name is Erich Lange and I was among the first volunteers to be banned from the Gentle Barn. But I was first and foremost a DONOR.
My initial experience with the Gentle Barn was in 2010 from a forwarded e-mail my wife received regarding the emergency rescue of 60 cows. To view a posted copy of that e-mail go to: http://www.lizardmarsh.net/2010/05/los-angeles-county-ca-sixty-sad.html
Up until that time I had never even heard of this organization. My wife and I were so taken in by the story that I stopped by their facility in person the following day, called the number on the sign, and was met at the gate by office staff member Darshan Sergi. I presented him with a check for $1000.00 and wrote on the comments section "Cows" (in reference to the 60 cows). He asked if I wanted a tour of the facility and I said no, I just wanted to help save those 60 cows. A more complete version of our stories can be found on my website: wherearethecows.webs.com
To this date, I still don't know what happened to the cows. While some of the other posters here may be "disgruntled" volunteers and employees, I would classify myself more as "one pissed-off donor"! We did become volunteers, fully believing are donation was going toward rescuing the cows, and spent roughly 8 months there before we were asked not to come back. The last time we were on the property and saw the animals we loved was on February 24, 2011, two years ago today. Not so happy anniversary :-( .
So, by now most of you know that the Gentle Barn is under investigation. This is not a "lie" or "false statement". I have spoken to the lead investigator and his assistant at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General. As horrible as some of the stories posted here are regarding animal neglect and mistreatment of volunteers and staff, I believe the reason for this particular investigation is in regard to the use of foundation money for personal purposes by the founder and her husband, and for fraudulent fund-raising practices.
I'm sure it is difficult for readers of these reviews to figure out what the truth is. Seriously, have you ever seen any other organization's reviews that seem to be either all good (5 stars), or all bad (1 star), with very little middle ground?
I have been attempting to sort out the truth for two years and have compiled a lot of information. I will be discussing what I have learned on a Facebook page called "Where are the Cows?" and also (eventually) in my book that goes by the same title "Where are the Cows?". Please join me on Facebook if you are interesting in finding answers. Answers that we as donors, former volunteers or employees, not only request, but demand. Answers and information you probably won't find on the Gentle Barn's Facebook page or their website.
Posted in honor, truth, and integrity,
Erich O. Lange, MSCE, P.E.
I have been a sponsor to a Gentle Barn animal for almost 3 years and have given a sponsorship as a Christmas gift to my most cherished sister. I SO wish there were a Gentle barn near me (Minnesota) so I, too, could hug, comfort and love abused animals back to health and the life they deserve. i truly do not know how an organization can be so committed to animals and fellow-sentient-beings that they give them homes until they pass into the next world. I've been a long-time volunteer at a local so-called Humane society - and have walked, played with and, yes, hugged some wonderful dogs - some got adopted and some (a crime in my mind) got sent back to where they came from. When two local "humane" socities tried to combine operations a few years ago, it brought out the same hateful, vitriolic words and actions that some of the posters have written here. When I heard that the director of the combined organization had a salary of $160,000 I quit the organization immediately. Hoow many homeless animals could this ghastly sum have helped find forever homes instead of giving them the "blue" cocktail. Someday my sister and I WILL have the joy of visiting the Gentle Barn and hug each and every animal they will let us hug. Please stop slandering this organization, which showers so many souls with love.
Shameful behavior by a disgruntled group who clearly have a personal vendetta against the founders. The only reason there is an investigation against them is because the state is required by law to investigate any and all claims made against any non-profit. The facts remain that no wrong-doing was discovered and they have been compliant and transparent throughout the process. The only reason it's still open is because this group is continuing to make false accusations that must be vetted by law. Shameful, putting the animals and the people who find sanctuary there at risk. Just shameful.
I've seen the Gentle Barn grow from its humble beginnings to what it is today. These accusations are preposterious. Ellie and Jay have always put the organization's needs above their own. They've made many many sacrifices and stayed the course in the face of extraordinary personal financial hardships. Anyone visiting the Gentle Barn will immediately realize that the animals who wind up in Jay and Ellie's care are the luckiest beings on the planet, especially considering their stories of abuse and neglect.
Jay and Ellie work hard to insure and provide for the long-term care of it's animals by continually improving the facilities and providing the highest quality care available to their animals. More importantly they emphasize efforts on immortalizing the animal's stories. In doing so, they create public awareness as to the horrors of factory farming and a host of other animal rights issues. I've met a number of families who've stopped consuming animal products as a direct result of their visit to the Gentle Barn.
In most organizations which experiences fast-paced growth, employees (or in this case volunteers) wind up feeling slighted due to their personal needs not getting met in some way. Or perhaps jealousy and contempt sets in due to unresolved issues or projections. It is malicious and down right vicious to retaliate with such unfounded accusations. I've witnessed first-hand how my contributions are used to care for the animals and, more importantly, how their stories are collected and re-told to make a huge impact on animal rights issues. I only fear how these unfounded projections might be percieved if no one was here to shed some real perspective.
I've never seen such selfish people running a so-called animal welfare. All in all, it's basically just a petting zoo, where they call the entrance fee a "donation". The main focus is to maximise profits, but definitely not in the best interest of the animals.
I remember they put a poor cow in front of the Staples Center to advertise themselves, that's something only the Ringling Bros. would normally do.
Without some apparently hired shills, this organisation probably would have only an overall rating of 1 star. There are so many cool & trustworthy charities in California, please don't waste your money for The Gentle Barn!
An amazing, special place for families and children! The rescued animals' stories are truly inspirational. Don't miss their open Sundays!
I am another happy donor. I heard through the grapevine that runs rampant in the animal rescue community that these negative postings are from a very small disgruntled group of volunteers who ganged up and one is actually suing the Gentle Barn for a lot of money, trying to make a big buck on the backs of abused children and animals. It seems this person has their own ego involved and is putting it ahead of the well being of the animals and kids this organization helps. Time and resources allocated to the animals and children are now being squandered on this nonsense and a lawsuit because some control freak didn't get their way and felt slighted. This is all about money b/c this person is trying to line their pockets so in my objective view, I side with the Gentle Barn because this loses all credibilty for me. I know who this person is and they've actually been to my house at a fundraiser. I also know Jay and Ellie for the same reason. I work with several animal groups and know many people and this community has lots of squabbling and control issues and I've actually seen people put their own egos in front of the animals because they think they know best and know what is best for an animal over others. And this is another case of that. These few people come on and post using different screen names because they are intent on taking the GB down. I wonder why there are no new postings? Maybe b/c the lawyer told them to stop in order to make more money and preserve their lawsuit?? Who knows. There are a few people who have been sucked in by this small group who had valid concerns and are decent people but just didn't understand all the facts like Ellie loaned the GB $800K or more of her own money to keep it going and build it so maybe she tried to get paid back? I don't know but there are a few bad apples in this group influencing the other decent people with lies and then the whole thing snowballs and festers with synergy. They are led to believe that the Farm Sanctuary will 'take over' and the animals will be better off. But this is not true because the numerous donors who give to the GB are not going to suddenly start donating to the Farm Sanctuary so this will be the end of funding that could be helping more animals and children therefoe less animals rescued in the future, etc. This is a destructive effort at the expense of many animals, present and future, as well as many abused and disabled children getting help if these people get what they think is best and the GB closes. No one is going to magically take over and keep it running. No one knows how to do what Jay and Elly do or have built successfully for years. That's why there is so much jealousy. Most people would love to have accomplished this but don't have the skill sets that it takes. I've heard both sides and have spoken to people on both sides and I think this is a big mistake. In my opinion, Jay and Elly have made some mistakes and are not perfect but this hateful attempt to close the GB is outragious and cruel and at the expense of the animals and kids.
I am very close to someone who is on the board of The Gentle Barn and I am a donor as well as a fundraiser for charities including the Gentle Barn. I've worked with them for years and watched them grow since inception. These posted allegations prompted board members, myself and fellow donors to investige the matter. We demanded transparency as none of us were happy with what we read here nor do we wish to donate into such an alleged situation. We discovered the postings are by ex- volunteers who are angry at the Gentle Barn for personal reasons. They are not on the board or even deeply affiliated hence they have limited access to detail regarding these matters . I can understand why certain issues appeared questionable to an outsider but when we approached them with credibility and demanded transparency, we were obliged. We not only confirmed these allegations don't correlate with the examined facts presented but we learned some surprising information. Though I don't have the right to disclose the information provided without obtaining permission-I will confirm that regarding the 60 cows and barns incident, there is a credible information as to what happened and I will ask permission to post the variables as I would like to see resolution for those who are concerned. I can assure legitimate explanations as to the alleged financial accusations- there has been no immoral activity such as theft or using funds raised for charity on personal usage. In fact, though I am not at liberty to disclose details, I was astonished by certain aspects of generosity that enabled the Gentle Barn not only to exist but to flourish and the extent of hardship and risk so given at times would be nearly impossible to recoup based on what we witnessed. According to what I've seen in the animal rescue community, there seems to be a frequent occurance of personal conflict I find baffling and I've concluded there are those who are prone to jealousy, control issues, and outright drama- unfortunately at the expense of the animal's well-being and/or the functionality of organizations. I became invested in The Gentle Barn as I watched it unfold and will never forget how the abused children from group homes responded to the animal therapy. I was amazed at how this program helped these at-risk and abused kids in conjunction with at-risk animals . The place is magical and likened to heaven by the work it does. These people work so hard for little to no compensation compared to industry standards. Frankly, I'm appalled at how this misperceived resentment has catapulted into such damage when such lack of justification is apparent based upon my objective pursuit of the truth. I cannot believe people could literally have vested interest in tearing something apart without absolute substantial fact to justify it. It's baffling how defective human action can be during the reckless pursuit of revenge. The grounds are spotless, well-groomed healthy animals approach strangers with no fear only to give unconditional love to needy and broken children yet a shortsided view can be blind to see the truth in just that one lonely variable... I'm speechless and left wondering what is wrong with some people? Don't they have better things to do? Like go volunteer someplace else? Or are they so caught up in 'self-absorbtion' that they can see that there is more that matters in the world besides themselves??? Or what really matters in life???