Tired of rumors, I researched and they ARE BEING INVESTIGATED by the ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE as allegedly, the founder and her husband took money from the charity...
If you look at the public filings, they justify it by claiming they took no salary but what they spent on themselves far exceeded a salary according to the Attorney General who wouldn't be involved if it wasn't serious. Look it up! I heard they 'lawyered up' so it appears they are fighting the investigation.
It appears they didn't have a functioning board but formed one for the investigation but chased that board out (who wanted them to be accountable) and brought in their friends.
In my opinion, the whole thing is terrible and where there is smoke, there is fire. The AG office doesn't waste their time unless there is solid evidence.
I've known about the Gentle Barn since 2001. I live in the area and run non-profit Animal Advocates. I've visited other farm rescues such as Farm Sanctuary Los Angeles. I also read their book "The Gentle Barn."
Few days ago the person who runs it posted she found a baby squirrel. She said she contacted all the wildlife rehabbers and they all told her to "just let it die." She then said "At Gentle Barn, no can do! Please, give us money to care for it."
I am the closest licensed wildlife rehabilitator to the Gentle Barn. She did not contact me. I offered to take it and no response. I emailed and posted. I have never ever told anyone to just let an animal die. All of her Facebook fans were saying "what horrible rehabbers!" "evil people!"
Then she posts another pic of the baby squirrel stating the wrong age, condition.... She obviously knows nothing about squirrels. She again asked for money for the baby. A baby squirrel would probably eat maybe $2 worth of food while one raised it for release.
I again offered to take it and told her one needs permits to have wildlife or else it's a felony. She then deletes my posts and bans me from the page. She then tells me she gave it to a licensed rehabber but would never say which one. I called them all. None of them were contacted by the Gentle Barn. I now believe there was never a baby squirrel ever just like there were never 60 cows needing rescue.
If you search Google for "Gentle Barn" and "squirrel," you will see a blog post with more information, photos, documentation of the many, many problems with this non-profit. They make up stories about fake animals that need donations for medical care, rescue. They live off the non-profit with three kids yet don't take a salary. Tax evasion? They raise money to build barns which they never built. They spent donations on an expensive wedding in Las Vegas. They are allowing animals to breed. They don't always give the animals proper care. If you question them, you will be banned from the property.
They are being investigated by the state Attorney General and the IRS. They were sued by two ex-employees. All of this is public information.
My name is Krystina Saavedra. I volunteered for the Gentle Barn for 15 months. I was also employed for 8 months of that time. I served as Executive Assistant to the President. I would be happy to attend the meeting Darshan proposes.
My name is Alexandra Caswell. I was employed by the Gentle Barn from 2010-11 as an Office Administrator following several months of volunteering. I would be very happy to attend an open, public discussion with the current staff and Board of Directors regarding financial and animal care records.
My name is Darshan Sergi and I worked in the Gentle Barn office for 4-1/2 years. My title ranged from Development Associate to Director of Development, but most of my work was on the operations side. I was also on the Board of Directors for several years. There are a lot of claims being made in this forum. I am not going to add anything in this post, but I have a proposal.
I propose that we have a public meeting with Jay, Ellie and the Gentle Barn Board of Directors. I propose that the meeting be open to everyone so we can openly discuss all issues that have been raised. I propose the following guidelines:
-Independent Mediator: Given the emotional nature of the issues raised, an independent mediator would ensure all sides are equally heard.
-Supporting Documentation: Documentation should be provided to support or refute a claim. Jay, Ellie and the Gentle Barn Board of Directors should bring Gentle Barn financial and animal care records, and open them up for public inspection.
If you would be interested in attending this meeting, please post using your real name and describe your relationship with The Gentle Barn. Here is a sample:
“My name is John Smith. I am a donor and I volunteered with the horses for two years and I would love to attend this meeting.”
I look forward to an open and honest dialogue with everyone. Thank you.
Review from Guidestar
Just to set the record straight, the Attorney General is NOT required to investigate all complaints that come into their office. Like so many other underfunded government organizations, they just do not have the staff to investigate any but the most well documented complaints about the most egregious financial issues. Given the fact that the California Attorney General has been investigating the Gentle Barn for over a year now, it makes sense that there is a very good reason for them to expend those resources. Where there is smoke, there is almost certainly fire.
I have been reading the reviews about the gentle barn. The reviews that give one star and do not support the gentle barn are true. Ellie started the gentle barn when she lived in tarzana on a half acre. I knew Ellie before she started the gentle barn. She had 2 horses that she was afraid of and couldn't ride. She then started collecting other animals. Her heart was in the right place at the time. Then Jay came into the picture and saw a perfect opportunity. It was and has always been about money for Jay. They had rescued a horse together and actually kept it at my place. Jay paid his board for a while, then stopped. He skipped out on 6 months of board and medications. He took it to Ellie's where the horse was in horrible conditions and too small of a place to be in. The horse coliced and passed away. The vets had been to Ellie's on many occasions due to Ellie feeding wrong food to the animals. Animal Reg had been out on many occasions. Jay is only in it for the money as I know first hand by our conversations. At the time Jay did not know anything about farm animals and I can pretty much bet that his knowledge has not changed. Ellie and Jay will take credit for things they haven't done. Unfortunatly, they have now gotten Ellen Degeneras involved in donating and P.R. for them. Ellie has been getting lots of money through Ellen and her show. Ellen Degeneras does not know what they have done in the past or what they are doing now. It's all a show for the cameras and Ellen when she shows up. Fortunatly Ellen is doing it for the animals but does not know all of what is going on. She does not know she is being used. I have known Ellie since the beginning and before the gentle barn. I met Jay when he first came into ellie's life and business. I know their history.....
I was surprised how freely Jay was willing to spend money... YOUR money donated, to make himself look good. Sending dogs by taxi cab to new homes with a cab driver? Really! Offering to pay rescues $1000 to take a fully vetted (and spayed/neutered dog) to make GB look good? Really! Exagerating the number of animals they helped.... with YOUR money? Really! Threatening a lawsuit against those that did not support reckless rescue (of course with YOUR donated money)? Really! Hey, people, it is YOUR money, but I think they should rename it the Jay & Ellie Foundation, as it appears to have little to do with animals, but greed and egos. Out of their mouths, they offered, they did not receive donations UNTIL they brought CHILDREN into it. Exploitation of children? Really!
This organization is currently under investigation by California Attorney General for financial fraud. Today is May 14th, 2012 and yet Guidestar does not have tax information for The Gentle Barn for 2010 or 2011 yet. This is due to the fact that the organization has yet to file their tax documents for 2010 or 2011. Do your homework before you consider giving money to this organization. It seems they are in some very troubled waters and there is no way to know how it will turn out.
Review from Guidestar