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Northern California Golden Retriever Rescue

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: NGRR is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization, which rescues and places adoptable golden retrievers in Northern California from Fresno to the Oregon border.

Geographic areas served: Fresno to Oregon Boarder

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters



Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with NGRR for over 10 years. All of the volunteers work very hard to do the right thing by every dog that comes into their care. The organization board supports and backs up the volunteers to do the best and most they can for each and every situation.
In reference to the other comment here, bottom line, the judge sided with Jill and Norcal. There is always more to the story and this is just one that happened to be very complicated. Get the facts.
Now back to all the good work NGRR does. Medical bills last year reached over $150k. Broken legs, cancer, hips, knees, heartworm, aspergillus, obesity - we see it all. Two six month old puppies that spent their first months in agony as their eye lashes turned in and rubbed on their eyes - we fixed that and now they are happy, healthy dogs living a great life in their forever home. NGRR does all these things with only donations and volunteers. We don't have a kenel, our dogs are welcomed into foster homes to be loved until the right family comes along and is matched to them.


General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Please beware of this non-profit. They may not be rescuing the dogs. The following article appeared in my local paper. I will attach the link to the article in the Amador Ledger Dispatch and also will cut and past the article here. http://ledger-dispatch.com/news/newsview.asp?c=251911 To Dan Irish, she looked like the perfect adoptive mother. He watched how she carefully handled the golden retriever he'd been working with for nearly six months. He liked how gently she petted him. He was impressed by the fact that she'd brought treats and a brand new collar. After she and the dog, Buddy, took a happy stroll together, Irish was convinced. Yet, as the longtime dog behaviorist stood in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Martell and waved goodbye to Buddy, something caught his attention - the woman's car had no license plates. Suspicious, Irish quickly attempted to call the phone number she'd left him. It was fake. He looked into the address she had given. It didn't exist. Irish was overtaken by a horrible feeling. Several hours later Buddy was dead - euthanized by an active member of Northern California Golden Retriever Rescue, a nonprofit organization that claims to save dogs. Second chances The events that led to the unforgettable meeting at Wal-Mart on Oct. 20 began more than two years before with a different dog, and a different dilemma. Two longtime volunteers with Northern California Golden Retriever Rescue, known as Nor Cal, Lise Manseau and Sandy Baker, were trying to help a golden retriever named Georgia Peach. Georgia had shown mild aggression when her food dish was disturbed. Fearing she wouldn't be adoptable, they brought her to Irish, who received glowing reviews for his ability to re-program dogs from groups like the California Airedale Terrier Club. "When I first got Georgia, she had a little problem with snarling if she thought someone was going to take her food," Irish recalled. "I worked with her on it, and she never had an issue again. Everyone who meets her today says she's one of the sweetest and friendliest dogs they've ever seen." Irish loved Georgia Peach so much that Nor Cal allowed him to adopt her. The only thing that overshadowed the happy experience for Irish was a comment Baker made about several of her fellow Nor Cal volunteers being adamant that Georgia Peach should be euthanized. Baker even mentioned a name: Jeanne Hanlon. That name would later come back to haunt Irish. In the meantime, another golden retriever, who would come to be known as Buddy, was also in trouble. It was thought that either Buddy or his brother had killed a Chihuahua that had intruded into their yard. Left in a shelter, Buddy was temporarily taken by Nor Cal volunteer Jill Morgan. Morgan was among those who had believed Georgia Peach should have been euthanized rather than adopted. She quickly came to the same conclusion about Buddy. "That dog was extremely aggressive with my other dogs," she said of Buddy. "He viciously went after my Newfoundland several times and then pinned one of my golden retrievers on the ground." Due to Morgan's complaints, Nor Cal took Buddy to be evaluated by Trish King of the Marin Humane Society. King determined that, with enough training, Buddy might still be adoptable. Nor Cal sent Buddy to a dog trainer in Petaluma, where he got off to a bad start. Hearing that Buddy was still struggling after a month, Nor Cal's president at the time, Laurel Stanley, decided it was time to try a different behaviorist. "I didn't know Dan Irish at the time, but I'd heard good things about him from some of our volunteers," Stanley explained. "I knew he'd been a longtime employee of the Animal Rescue Foundation. As an independent behaviorist, he had a reputation for helping adopt out dogs who needed major attention." Stanley asked a Nor Cal volunteer to pick Buddy up and drive him to Irish's home in West Point. When the volunteer finally arrived and toured Irish's kennels and property, he felt very comfortable. "Irish's place was clean and his dogs all looked good and healthy," remembered the man, who asked not to be identified. "On the way up, I'd contacted his vet and gotten a good report. I felt totally fine putting him there." Before leaving, the volunteer had a chance to spend some time with the first golden retriever Nor Cal had sent Irish, Georgia Peach. "Oh, she's a great dog," he said. "I wouldn't mind owning her myself." The first incident While the volunteer who delivered Buddy to West Point felt good about Stanley's decision, other Nor Cal members were strongly opposed - especially when they learned the organization was paying Irish $1,600 for two months of training. Among the biggest critics of the decision were Morgan and Hanlon, who were still convinced that Buddy should be euthanized. Though Irish has worked with numerous dog organizations and has been continually featured in newspapers, on television and on the radio as a dog expert for more than 20 years, Morgan and Hanlon insist that he is not a "real behaviorist" or qualified to be paid by Nor Cal. When pressed on what specific certification would make Irish a "real behaviorist," both told the Ledger Dispatch they didn't know. Morgan felt so strongly about this point that when she learned Nor Cal was sending another golden retriever to Irish, she took matters into her own hands. The dog's name was Brodie, and he'd begun to growl when people tried to take his tennis balls away. The Nor Cal board had Brodie evaluated by behaviorist Julie Bonds, who determined Brodie could be adoptable under certain conditions, including having no tennis balls and wearing a muzzle in public. Stanley, having heard from Irish that Buddy had gained weight and was making good progress, decided to send Brodie to him. When Morgan learned of this, she had conversations with Brodie's former owner in Brentwood and intercepted the dog. One week later, she had Brodie euthanized. "Jill Morgan never had clearance from Nor Cal to take Brodie from his owner and she certainly never had permission to put him down," Stanley said. "Our group has very strict by-laws for euthanizing a dog, which include getting a final authorization from our Veterinary Committee. Morgan never contacted the vet committee. She simply had Brodie put down." Operation Buddy Around the same time Morgan had Brodie put down, Hanlon and another Nor Cal member, Marilyn Ormond, turned their attention to Irish. Without getting permission from Nor Cal, Ormond called Irish and told him she was with The Golden Retriever Club and was looking for a trainer to work with puppies the group was breeding. Ormond and Hanlon drove out to West Point, touring Irish's home without revealing they were there to observe Buddy. Irish claims that when Hanlon saw Buddy and Georgia Peach playing rowdily, she began shouting, "Why don't you just have them killed!" At this point, Irish grew suspicious of the two and asked, "Who are you really?" When the women came clean about why they were there, Irish asked them to get off his property. Hanlon made no comment on the actual words she used that afternoon, but told the Ledger Dispatch she thought Buddy should be euthanized. The way Irish explained it, it took him a few weeks to realize that Hanlon was the same person Baker had mentioned, the one who wanted his first golden retriever, Georgia Peach, euthanized. Between that and the false pretenses the women had come under, Irish said he lost his temper. He obtained Ormond's phone number and left a voice message that has become the topic of considerable debate among those involved. Ormond and Hanlon claim Irish threatened them in the message. Irish, who's trained dogs for police departments, admits to using extremely foul language and calling them "dirty names," but maintains he did not intend literal threats. "I was so angry that they'd wanted to kill both of those beautiful dogs it was unreal; but I would never really threaten a woman," he said. Ormond and Hanlon filed a police report over the message. Not long after, Irish said he felt Buddy was doing well enough that he could be adopted out to a good family. A friend helped him place an online ad. When Morgan discovered the ad, she decided it was time for Buddy to come under her control again. Using a false identity, she contacted Morgan and painted the picture of having the perfect home for Buddy. To ensure the plan would work, Morgan used a false address, a false phone number and arrived without license plates on her car. When Irish and Morgan met in the Wal-Mart parking lot, Morgan kept the deception going until she drove away with Buddy. "She told me she had a husband who always wanted a golden retriever," Irish recalled. "She walked Buddy around with her friend. She matched up pretty good with what she'd claimed." To make sure nothing would go wrong for Buddy, Irish had Morgan sign a hand-written contract saying he could visit Buddy whenever he wanted. It also said that if there were any problems with Buddy's behavior, she could return the dog to Irish. The Ledger Dispatch obtained a copy of that contract, though Morgan signed it with her false identity. That night, without permission from Nor Cal's Veterinary Committee, Morgan had Buddy euthanized. The fall out After learning about Buddy's death, Irish said he went into a depression, lost more than 20 pounds and had trouble sleeping. "Buddy was a tremendous golden retriever with an incredible spirit," he recalled. "He was just a little confused when they first found him, but he wasn't a problem. He was great. I can't wrap my mind around him being gone." Morgan stands by all of her actions. She feels Irish broke a legal contract he signed with Nor Cal saying he himself was adopting Buddy permanently. "He breached the contract," Morgan said, "meaning Nor Cal still technically owned the dog and was still liable for what it did." Irish said he was always verbally up front with Nor Cal members about wanting to adopt Buddy out to a new home at some point. Morgan said the reason she went to such lengths to hide her identity was because of the phone message Irish had left with Ormond. "I thought he was an unstable man and I wanted to protect myself," she explained. Morgan was asked why - if she believed Nor Cal still legally owned Buddy and she was worried about meeting Irish in person - she didn't have the organization's leadership ask for Buddy back through normal channels. "There wasn't time for that," Morgan answered. "He'd already placed the dog up for adoption and I didn't want him to find a home. I had to protect Nor Cal from the liability." When Nor Cal board members failed to kick Morgan out of the group, Stanley resigned as the organization's president. "A nonprofit should never do this kind of stuff," she said of the activities Morgan, Hanlon and Ormond had participated in. "There are many great volunteers in Nor Cal who love dogs and help them, but condoning Jill Morgan's actions makes us all look like nut cases." Though publicity over the incident has already led to a decrease in dogs brought to Nor Cal, Morgan refuses to back down from her claim that Buddy was a menace and Irish is irresponsible. "Buddy was vicious dog," she said. "He wasn't even in good shape when I took him from Dan. He looked horrible." Morgan's account of how Buddy looked has been disputed by numerous eyewitnesses who saw the dog in the months and weeks leading up to her euthanizing him - including even Hanlon and Ormond, who admitted that Buddy looked all right a month before when they'd been to Irish's home. Another person who dismisses Morgan's claim is June Russ, the owner of a feed store in Buckhorn where Irish brought Buddy about four times a month the entire time he trained him. "I saw that dog nearly every week and I can assure you that he was a perfectly happy and healthy" Russ said. She also emphasized that Buddy was well behaved around her customers and their dogs. "I saw people and other dogs go around Buddy all the time and he never caused a problem - never. He was just your typical, loving golden retriever. When I heard that this group of crazy people destroyed him, it made my blood boil. They're a group that people trust to help dogs, not kill them."