Pet owners are rallying around one local animal shelter whose license was suspended. The organization had to have all of its animals adopted out by Tuesday. The facility was shut down by the Department of Agriculture for code violations.
Now, the animal rescue group is asking Columbia County leaders for help so they can re-open their facility. Many of the group's volunteers say that without Happy Tails, the CSRA will see an increase in lost or homeless pets.
CSRA Happy Tails Founder Barbara Gleitsmann asked people to attend Tuesday night's commission meeting. An overwhelming amount of animal lovers showed up, although, there were a few in attendance who were there to discredit Happy Tails, but Gleitsman isn't letting that bring her down.
With their pets at their sides, dozens of people showed up before Tuesday night's Columbia County Commission meeting to show their support for CSRA Happy Tails. Gleitsmann thanked the crowd for helping her out over the last several years.
"No one has worked harder than we have... not me... we... our team has, to accomplish what we've accomplished in 10 years," says Gleitsmann.
Carole Buki adopted her dog Casper from Happy Tails about 3 years ago. She says that Gleitsmann took Casper in when another shelter was going to euthanize him.
"I just hate to see this happen to her because she really does have a good heart. I really have a problem with what's going on with her group, as far as the action being taken against her," says Buki.
After the rally for support, Gleitsmann and several other supporters spoke before commissioners to ask for their help.
We weren't inside of the meeting when it happened, but a former volunteer at Happy Tails did get up in front of the commission to speak out against the animal rescue.
Gleitsmann stormed out of the meeting saying that the volunteer has been trying to destroy her character for months.
"I am dumb founded that she is still on this witch hunt. Because she is the one who has largely stirred all of this stuff about this rescue group. It is extremely hurtful and unnecessary," says Gleitsmann.
"People are just throwing bricks at her and her character isn't built on what people say about her. It's built on what she does with those bricks they are throwing. And she has a wonderful foundation," says Happy Tails Volunteer Darlene Doerr.
After hearing both sides, the commission told Gleitsmann that her problem was out of their jurisdiction.
Gleitsmann says that she was able to adopt out all of the rescued animals before the state shut down her business. If anyone is interesting in helping Happy Tails, she is asking that you contact the Georgia Department of Agriculture to express your concern.