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The Gentle Barn

The Gentle Barn is an American nonprofit 501(c)(3) animal welfare organization located in Santa Clarita, California. Founded by Ellie Laks in 1999, The Gentle Barn's mission is to provide sanctuary for abused animals who would not otherwise be able to find homes.[1]

The Gentle Barn
FounderEllie Laks
FocusAnimal welfare, animal rights
Key people
Jay Weiner
WebsiteThe Gentle Barn



The Gentle Barn was founded in 1999 on a half-acre property in Tarzana, California. Jay Weiner, who is also Laks' husband, joined the organization in 2002.[2] In 2003, the organization moved to a six-acre property at its current location in Santa Clarita.[3] Laks cites a childhood love for animals as the inspiration for creating the sanctuary. She also credits animals with helping her heal after an abusive childhood.[4]

The organization began allowing visitors the same year it opened and later added animal-assisted therapy programs for disabled and special-needs children and at-risk youth,[5] including inner-city gang members, drug addicts, and abused children.[4]

In 2012, The Gentle Barn took in 51 animals from the property of Roberto Celedon, a "backyard butcher" who was charged on 13 counts, including three felonies related to cruelty to animals.[6] For its work in the case, The Gentle Barn was honored by Supervisor Michael D, Antonovich of the Fifth District of Los Angeles County.[7]

The Gentle Barn established additional sanctuarys in Dittmer,Missouri in 2017 and Christiana,Tennessee in 2018.

The sanctuaryEdit

The current six-acre property has horse and cow pastures, a barnyard for the smaller animals, and an organic vegetable garden.[3] It currently houses 170 animals,[8] including cows, horses, pigs, sheep, chickens, llamas, emus, cats, dogs, birds.[4] The first cow rescued, Buddha, is often used for therapy sessions with quadriplegic children.[9] Animals at The Gentle Barn are treated with a holistic approach, including acupuncture and veterinary chiropractic methods.[6] The property is completely vegan and does not allow any food products derived from animals.[10] The property is open for tours on Sundays.[11] A separate facility, the Sun Chlorella Healing Center, is not open to the public and is used to treat the sickest and most traumatized animals.[12] The Gentle Barn requires $50,000 a month to operate. Most of the funds come through the website, from individual donors, corporate grants, and foundations. Major donors include Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, Hilary Swank,[5] Kirstie Alley,[5] Toyota, CBS, William Morris Endeavor, and Princess Cruises.[4] Actress and animal activist Pamela Anderson has also visited The Gentle Barn to feed turkeys on Thanksgiving.[1] In 2011, a lock of hair given by Justin Bieber to Ellen DeGeneres was auctioned for over $40,000, with all proceeds going to The Gentle Barn.[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Worden, Leon (2011-11-24). "Gentle Barn Turkeys Get Thanksgiving Treat from Pamela Anderson". SCVTV News. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
  2. ^ "The Gentle Barn". Retrieved 2014-02-15.
  3. ^ a b "A Brief History". The Gentle Barn. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
  4. ^ a b c d Jones, Karen (2011-11-01). "In the Company of Animals, Healing for Humans". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
  5. ^ a b c Dodd, Johnny (2011-07-04). "Gentle Barn: Stable of Friends". People Magazine. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
  6. ^ a b Drake, Megan (2012-04-14). "California Backyard Butcher Charged". Retrieved 2014-02-14.
  7. ^ "Supervisors to Honor Gentle Barn on Tuesday". SCVTV News. 2012-07-23. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
  8. ^ Grau, Deborah (2013-07-02). "Rescued Animals Make a Difference in the Lives of Kids". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
  9. ^ "Turning Point: The Gentle Barn". ByuTV. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
  10. ^ McQuade, Julia (2014-01-29). "Seek stress relief with 'The Gentle Barn'". The Los Angeles Loyolan. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
  11. ^ Cormier, Nicole (2013-08-07). "Share An Educational And Compassionate Experience At The Gentle Barn". CBS Los Angeles. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
  12. ^ McCarthy, Michelle (2013-12-25). "The Gentle Barn's Kyle DiFulvio Rescues Animals and People". Retrieved 2014-02-14.
  13. ^ Gracely, Joe (2011-03-03). "Justin Bieber's hair sells for over $40K in Ellen DeGeneres charity auction". Daily News. Retrieved 2014-02-14.

External linksEdit