It breaks my heart when people put this magical place down. First most, not all, of the negative reviews have come from a group of ex-employees and volunteers that were not doing what was best for the barn and were asked to leave. Do you really want to read a review from someone who is only being vindictive? I have been volunteering at The Gentle Barn since April 2011. I volunteer in the upper barnyard during the week and as the manager on Sundays, as well as with new rescues and the cows. The experience has been nothing if not life changing. Ellie and Jay are two of the most caring, compassionate, giving people I have had the honor of knowing. The animals are well fed, well cared for, and very loved. They always have clean water, plenty of food, a clean place to sleep, plenty of love, and medical care when needed. When a sick animal is reported care is immediate and thorough. The vet comes first but no expense is spared in using alternate therapy along with vet care to increase healing and quality of life.
I have a great deal of respect for the way that the Gentle Barn is run. The Gentle Barn's treatment of the animals that have been lucky enough to find a home with them has been exemplary in my nearly two years of experience of volunteering with the organization. I work directly with the animals up to four days a week, so the alleged mishandling and misconduct that has been reported on this site would be obvious to someone in my unique position if it had actually occurred. I would not hesitate to report abuse of any kind if it were a reality. I've worked in the non profit world for the bulk of my professional career, and disgruntled volunteers and ex employees are an unfortunate commonality no matter the organization or cause. I find it very sad and suspicious when people who once lent their time and effort an organization later seek to destroy it. Other non profit organizations should take note of these disgruntled people because I suspect that they won't be happy volunteering or working with any organization. My hope is that they will soon find something to fill their emptiness other than hate.
Review from Guidestar
Still no changes at The (UN)Gentle Barn, just more slander of former employees and volunteers. Well, maybe there is a little more oversight now that they are under the scrutiny of several entities, including the CA Attorney General. I won't mention who all the others are, surprises are fun.
Since I left the barn, a number of animals have passed away, though old, their last days could have been eased if egos were not in the way, if people who claim to talk with animals had actually been listening to what they had to say. GB forgets that we have eyes and ears in the community, people willing to visit on Sundays, for years, write fake(positive) reviews to keep the wool pulled over the lamb in wolves' clothing's eyes, and even daily 'volunteers'.
Why does GB delete posts from people asking questions? From people asking for accountability? Things GB should want to leap to do, in order to prove they are legit? Is it possible they are not, in fact, honest?
So you believe in the people running GB 100%? Ask them for their IRS returns, and see if they give it to you. Ask them to their face about the 60 cows. Ask simple questions that should be no cause for alarm, including how all monies are spent. The public has a RIGHT to know, as the money comes from the public, the organization owns all the animals, including the dogs and cats in the house, as they are publicly funded, and the public has a RIGHT to information and accountability. It is silly to believe a non-profit just because it tugs on your heart strings. Remember, PT Barnum is credited for saying "A sucker is born every minute", though that was actually said by David Hannum. But many people believe the first thing they hear.
My name is Wendy. I volunteered at The Gentle Barn for about 3 years, from early 2009 until February of 2012. I worked with the first set of 6 veal calves, then worked as a horse groomer, then trained new horse volunteers, and facilillitated the program for adults with special needs who came to groom horses. I was also a Sunday horse manager for 2 years.
I would absolutely love a public forum meeting where the staff and board can speak for themselves and show us all the documents that will set our minds at ease and end these arguments.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
We have attended the gentle barn on numerous occasions and have always had a great time.
The place is a haven for animals of all kind .
Their rescue work is nothing short of miraculous .
We bought a yearly pass and look forward to our next visit there.
The volunteers are always knowledgeable and friendly.
Thank you for the work you do!
The Schneider Family
My name is Laura and I was a volunteer in the upper barnyard for a year and a half, with some of that time being served as Barnyard Manager.
Contrary to what the positive reviews are saying, we are not a few disgruntled haters spewing venom. We write because we care about the animals and we care that people are being duped by the front that is being presented by Ellie and Jay.
Knowing one thing to be true and then hearing the "stories" that come from the barn is nothing short of disgraceful.
I'd be happy to attend any public meeting. Good luck Darshan. I hope it comes together. It needs to.