Ellie Laks, founder of The Gentle Barn

Ellie Laks–the founder of The Gentle Barn, a Southern California sanctuary of sorts that houses 130+ animals that have been rescued from abuse, neglect or slaughter…once they’ve recovered, the animals are visited and often cared for by abused children–recounts her own childhood of frequently coming to the aid of injured or sick animals, bringing them home and often clashing with her parents about the parade of critters. 

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In fact, she remembers a tantrum as a seven-year-old where she pledged that one day she’d have a big place of her own where she could look after a bunch of animals. Fast forward to adulthood and the beginning of The Gentle Barn, when she rescued a neglected goat from a petting zoo that involved planting herself there for 12 days straight, until they relinquished the goat. That goat and other animals lived in the back yard of her house in Tarzana–and right away, Laks got underprivileged and abused kids interacting with these animals. Now, The Gentle Barn sits on a six-acre parcel in Santa Clarita, CA, where the animals (horses, donkeys, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens, dogs and cats) are visited and tended to by kids in foster care, on probation, in gangs, from the inner city, as well as special needs children and adults. Tremendous healing takes places, in all directions. Laks also addresses plans to open additional locations of The Gentle Barn, possibly launch a reality series at the facility in collaboration with Ellen DeGeneres, and more. (http://www.GentleBarn.org)

ALSO: We had a brief conversation with Twila Cole, Director of Development, Events and Community Relations at the Humane Society of Pinellas County, about the organization’s then-forthcoming Mutt Strut to be held on St. Patrick’s Day, marking the 20th year of the event. (www.humanesocietyofpinellas.org)

COMEDY CORNER: Jerry Seinfeld’s “Horses” (portion) (www.JerrySeinfeld.com)

MUSIC: Johnny Cakes and The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypso “The Donkey Song,” Tribal Style’s version of “Like A Lion In The Morning,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: The Pixies’ “Monkey Gone To Heaven”

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

One Reply to Ellie Laks, founder of The Gentle Barn

  1. Marko Vegano says:

    I just learned about Ellie and her Gentle Barn. I admire her. She is the Jane Goodall of farm animals. From what little I read, I wish this world was filled with more like her. Thank her for me.
    In Highest Admiration
    and Vegan Love,

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