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Abused Animals Find Healing Homes

Posted: March 4, 2008 8:30 a.m.
Updated: May 5, 2008 5:01 a.m.

Julia Pennington of Los Angeles plays with a cat rescued from a Lancaster "ranch" last month. Pennington volunteered to help in the rescue, then adopted the cat herself as Gentle Barn, an animal-rescue center, hosted an adoption day on Saturday.

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This is a warm and fuzzy story made up of several warm and fuzzy components, all of which come with four legs, a tail and big take-me-home eyes.

Capping a grisly tale told two months ago about scores of neglected animals rescued from Lancaster, workers at the Gentle Barn Foundation are happy to report a feel-good epilogue to that story of alleged abuse.

About 30 dogs and 30 cats rescued from appalling conditions six weeks ago were nursed back to shape by Gentle Barn staffers and were healthy enough to meet prospective adoptive owners this past weekend.

Adoption Day at the Canine Country Club on Saturday afternoon, on West Blue Cloud Road at Bouquet Canyon Road in Saugus, was a bigger success than its staff had planned. Ideally, the ultimate success would have been finding a home for every homeless animal.

"Some were ready to go when we found them, some needed some help and there are others that are still not ready," Jay L. Weiner, Gentle Barn's director of development, said Monday.

Four of the animals were allowed to go home with their respective owners on the weekend as volunteers for the non-profit charity remained on hand to perform the mandatory home-checks.

"The bottom line is that we just have to make sure that they're going to a good, safe home," Weiner said.

More than a dozen animals adopted on the weekend are scheduled to go through the home inspection process.

"I would have thought the day was a success if five dogs and five cats found homes," Weiner explained. "But, we had at least 16 placements. I was like, 'Wow! We did a good job.'"

Weiner said he had expected more people, but he was very pleased to learn that those who attended the adoption were serious about giving an animal a good home.

"The thing that was really cool about Saturday was that the people who showed up were there to adopt and were not just a bunch of looky-loos," he said.

In January, Gentle Barn staff learned that more than 200 animals, most of them dogs, were kept exposed to freezing temperatures with no water and no food at a remote "ranch" near Lancaster.

Many of the animals required medical treatment.

Weiner said that all of the rescued animals have been spayed or neutered and have received the nourishment and vaccinations necessary for a full recovery.

Anyone still wanting to adopt a dog, puppy or cat is urged to call the Gentle Barn at 661-252-2440, send an e-mail to or visit the organization online at



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