Happy Tails Rescue pushes adoptions before shutdown

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News 12 at 11 o'clock / Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy Tails Investigation (WRDW-TV)

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Time has run out for a local animal shelter that is losing its license and shutting down on March 18.

On Sunday, supporters gathered for one last animal adoption push.

"The fact that they're being shut down is just crazy to me," said Wes Dollar, a Happy Tails adopter.

"I'm just really, really sad that this place is closing down," said Happy Tails youth volunteer Jason Carter.

A thought shared by many who are volunteering or adopting with CSRA Happy Tails, an animal rescue now shutting down after an investigation by the Department of Agriculture.

"All of a sudden, it seemed like nothing we were doing was satisfactory," said Happy Tails Founder Barbara Gleitsmann. "And it's been extremely frustrating and extremely worrisome."

Gleitsmann founded the CSRA Happy Tails Animal Rescue 10 years ago.

"I'm extremely proud of all we've accomplished," Gleitsmann said. "We've rescued hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of needy dogs and cats, kittens and puppies."

The Department of Agriculture says 18 violations were found there in July, which led to the department issuing a consent order, suspending Gleitsmann's license for a year and fining her $18,000.

"We have already paid our fine in total," Gleitsmann explained. "And I don't know if that makes us look guilty or not, but we wanted that off of our shoulders."

The shelter was given 30 days to find homes for more than 30 dogs.

Now, time has run out.

With the deadline looming, supporters gathered to focus on finding a home for every single one of the remaining animals.

"We feel like we could provide at least one, possibly even two, with a great home and the opportunity to be part of the family," Dollar said.

Dollar and his wife ended up taking a puppy home.

With the remaining hours left before the suspension starts, Gleitsmann and volunteers are working harder than ever to find these remaining pups forever families.

"It has been an unbelievable experience, but I can assure you that they will all be safe," Gleitsmann said. "All of these animals deserve a chance."

When News 12 last talked to the Department of Agriculture, we were told this wasn't meant to be a permanent shutdown. At the end of the year-long suspension, Gleitsmann can reapply for her license.

News 12 will continue to keep you updated as this story develops.

To see how you can get involved, visit the Happy Tails Facebook page.

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