Discovering and Disclosing The Truth About
Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoptions
Copyright © 2006 - 2012
All Rights Reserved
Gentle Giant News
Over the past year and a half, we have received many testimonies from individual adoptors telling of their
horrific experience with Gentle Giants Rescue and/or Burt & Tracy Ward. However, a lot of those
individuals have requested that we not make their testimonies public because of the fear that the Wards
will either repossess their dog from them, will take legal actions against them, or will hinder their ability
from ever adopting a dog from any rescue group again.
** Please people, do not let them frighten you with their saber rattling and their threats. The law is there to
protect you, and it will. Just because they do not like something, does not make it illegal or give them the
right to sue you. And the more they try to use the courts to bully people, like they did with us, and the local
newspaper before us, the more it will cost them. You have rights, they can not take away your dog just
because they do not like what you are doing. Nor can they sue you for speaking out. The only way they will
be stopped is if people stand up to them, just like any school yard bully. The more people speak out about
their experiences with GG and the Wards, and file complaints with Norco Animal Control, the sooner they
will be shut down and dogs will find their way to safe responsible REAL rescues. ** excerpts from
Message Board post by Marc Sayer
Although it may be in your contractual agreement that GGR "reserves the right to repossess the adopted
dog at ANY time, for ANY reason", this section of the contract is NOT legally enforceable (check with your
own legal counsel). Once the "purchase" takes place and you have paid for the item, in this case a dog,
that item is your own personal property and CANNOT be taken back unless you have failed to pay for this
"item" in full. And since we all know that you cannot leave with one of their dogs without you emptying your
pocket book and maxing out your Credit Card, lack of payment will never be the issue. To my knowledge,
the only way you can "lose" your dog is if your local animal control deems your household unsafe to the
animal, or if your animal is unsafe to the public by way of previously reported dog bites from your dog. So,
if you are taking care of your dog humanely and your dog is not a danger to anyone ... you have absolutely
NOTHING to worry about.
It is also my understanding that GGR is now requiring that you bring your adopted dog ONLY to their vet for
care. Folks ... THEY CAN'T DO THAT. That is against the law. That would be like a car sales man telling
you that in order for you to purchase their car, they require that you have your car serviced ONLY at their
service station, and purchase your gas ONLY at their gas station. If it's not lawful, it can't be enforced.
This brings me to another "contractual agreement" that you probably had to sign in order to adopt a dog
from GGR. THE FOOD CONTRACT. GGR seems to believe that you are REQUIRED to feed your newly
adopted dog their food (Gentle Giant's World Class Canine Cuisine) and ONLY their food for the life of the
dog in order for you to adopt a dog from them. Again, it may be in your contract (or a separate contract),
but this is also not legally enforceable. Once you own the "item" that you purchased, the "Seller" cannot
dictate the manner in which you feed, maintain, or take care of that item (the dog).
Although you may have signed the contract, the contract can only be enforced in what is LEGAL. The
illegal terms on that contract are null and void. This does not mean that the entire contract is invalid, it only
means that certain portions of the contract may possibly be invalid and unenforceable.
WHAT GENTLE GIANTS DOESN'T WANT YOU TO KNOW:
The dog they adopt out to you becomes YOUR personal property once the dog is handed over to you....
even if you received the dog for free.
What does this mean to you? EVERYTHING in the contract that tells you how to "maintain" the dog does
not apply to you. The prior owner (meaning Gentle Giants) no longer has control over that dog... they
relinquished that responsibility to you.
You are only accountable to the laws of the land, ei: State, County & City regulations.
The ONLY way that dog can be taken away from you, would be if you are endangering the dogs live (as
determined by a Court) or the dog is endangering others.
So......... if you were to speak up about your own personal testimony of your adoption experience with
Gentle Giants, you have absolutely NOTHING to lose. Gentle Giants CANNOT repossess your dog for any
Here are a few more things you should also know about Gentle Giants Rescue:
In order for them to operate in the City of Norco as a "Non-Profit" Rescue Organization, they must comply
AT ALL TIMES with certain requirements that the City has established. (See a copy of the "Conditional
Use Permit") http://www.gentlegiantnews.com/GG_CUP.pdf
1. They are limited to a maximum of 55 ANIMALS (not just dogs) on their premises at any time.
This includes their own family pets, of which are limited to just 4 dogs. This also includes cats, horses,
pigs, goats, etc. (See Resolution, Page 3, Paragraph 4)
Take a look around ..... how many animals did you count?
2. They MUST have all dogs, 4 months of age or older, vaccinated for Rabies and MUST have
those records available at all times. (See Resolution, Page 4, Paragraph 11)
Were you provided with a copy of the Rabies Certificate? Were you told they would be sent to you as
soon as she find them? Were you ever sent them? If they are supposed to have those records available,
why can't they provide them to you? This forces you to have to re-vaccinate the dog in order to be in
compliance with your City or County regulations. This puts your dog at risk of over-vaccination.
3. They MUST have all dogs, 8 weeks of age or older, spayed or neutered within 30 days of their
receipt of dog into their rescue operation. (See Resolution, Page 3, Paragraph 9)
How many of the dogs were not available to take home that day because they had to be spayed or
There are a lot of people that would LOVE to see this "Organization" get closed down. There are also a
lot of people that don't want them closed down, but would like them to be in compliance with the Law.
Here's how you can help:
1. If you have adopted from Gentle Giants, even if the dog you adopted was in good health and good
temperament, if you notice a violation of ANY or ALL of these 3 regulations, we would encourage you to
file a complaint with the City of Norco. The City would have not other way of knowing of these violations if
nobody tells them. Keep a copy of the complaint form for your own records, and we would also appreciate
it if you would forward a copy of the complaint form to us. (forwarding information can be provided upon
**Please note: You do NOT have to be a resident of Norco in order to file a complaint.
2. Send us your experience so that the public will be made aware that what happened to you could
possibly happen to them if they adopted from Gentle Giants Rescue.
4. If you found Gentle Giants Rescue through Petfinder about a dog they had listed on Petfinder, then find
out that the dog is no longer available for adoption, write to Petfinder and let them know. Their email
I personally believe the truth is best told by those that have experienced and lived it themselves. Read what real people have to say about their adoption experience or personal encounters with
Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoptions.
These testimonies have been posted with the
permission of the author.
Click HERE to
Read their Stories
* A few people have chosen to remain anonymous or just use their online user name,
in fear of losing their adopted dog to Gentle Giants.
However, their testimonies are just as valid and just as important as the others.
For more testimonies, visit Rescue Watchdog
If you have also adopted a dog from Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoptions, in Norco, CA and would like to share your story, we would love to hear it.
If you have had any other type of working relationship with Gentle Giants, what was that experience like? (For example: Did you release a dog you could no longer keep? Are you an County or City Animal Control Agency? Would you release dogs to Gentle Giants? Do you or have you transported for Gentle Giants? Do you foster for Gentle Giants? Have you ever applied to adopt a dog from Gentle Giants and been denied?)
We would love to hear your story. Please contact us.
Quoted by: Burt Ward/Tracy Ward
"Our dogs don't drool. "
“Every one of these beautiful, loving animals would be dead if it weren’t for us”
“Our dogs are now living to be 18 years old because of our new food, Gentle Giants World Class Canine Cuisine.”
.... AND MANY MORE. Click Here to read the rest of them, and verify the sources.
Are Burt and Tracy Ward grossly over-exaggerating the quantity of
dogs that they actually adopt out … or is there something else going
According to Burt Ward's statements...
• They are feeding at least 700 dogs PER DAY
• Perhaps their 55 dogs (the amount allowed for them to have, as
per the City of Norco) are eating 28 pounds of food per day, PER
View All Documents and Articles regarding
Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoptions, Inc.
Some of these Documents and Articles are as follows:
Gentle Giant's failed lawsuit against Press-Enterprise Newspaper
Gentle Giant's failed lawsuit against Sayer/Laird, etal
Gentle Giant's Application for their 501c3 Non-Profit Status
City of Norco's meeting minutes leading up to the issuance of the Conditional Use Permit
What was your experience like with
Gentle Giants Rescue?
to take the Survey
CLICK HERE to view summary results from Jan. 3, 2006 thru Feb. 10, 2008 (95 survey results)
CLICK HERE to view summary results as of March 22, 2008
Dog Owner's Guide to:
Why people do rescue
In support of all you rescue workers out there ... trying to make a difference, here is a video dedicated to educating the public about WHY to have your dog or cat spayed/neutered.
This video is quite graphic ... so you've been "warned".
~Click HERE for a list of reputable rescue organization across the Nation.
This is not a complete list. If you have knowledge of a reputable giant breed rescue organization in your area, please email me a link along with an explanation as to why you believe the rescue is reputable.
How do you recognize a Reputable Rescue? ~Click HERE~
GDCA & AKC Articles
"Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships with Dogs"
By: Suzanne Clothier
To view the author's website, click on the logo.
Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.
Albert Einstein, quoted in New York Times, March 13, 1940
US (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)
Pride goes before destruction, and arogance before a fall.
It is better to live humbly with the poor than to share plunder with the proud.
Holy Bible, Proverbs 16: 18-19
Hits as of January 1, 2007: 20,806
Hits as of January 11, 2008: 38,991
HIts as of January 1, 2009: 53,109
Hits as of January 1, 2010: 66,875
Hits as of January 1, 2011: 81,809
Hits as of January 1, 2012: 97,371
Well, I guess that was not the truth. I just recently
(July 2008) received another email from someone
that went to GGR to release a dog. Here is an
excerpt from the email this person wrote to me:
"When we got to the property, it looked
NOTHING like the website. It was all dirt and
there was millions of dollars of construction
going on. The front of the house had 2 what
looked like sunrooms just built on and in what I
guess used to be the front yard was a giant
monstrosity of a pool going in - something that
you'd see in Las Vegas! With waterfalls and rock
formations, moat and what looked like an island
in the middle!
We saw no dogs and I asked a worker about
Tracy and he took me into one of the sunrooms
and knocked on the window. She opened it
slightly and asked who I was and after I
explained told me to go wait with the dog in the
car. So I went back and told my friend who
immediately was irritated about that. Minutes
later Tracy came out and I said to her "Wow you
guys have a lot of projects going on here" and
she said "thats a 100 x 100 foot pool going in" I
asked her if that was for the dogs (I just assumed
it was an animal thing since they were a non-
profit rescue!) - she looked at me kind of funny
and said "for the dogs? no! Its for us" and then
proceeded to point in different directions and
offer the following information which I also
thought was odd "a tennis court is going there
and a theatre is going there"
The next day, my friend went back to go get the
dog (another story in itself) my friend had a brief
"discussion" with Burt::
"She started questioning him about the
construction saying something like "I sure hope
the pool you are building is not with money from
your non-profit organizations and if it is its for the
dogs" - he said "Thats an $850,000 swimming
pool - why would I let my dogs in it"!
So, my question is ... where are they getting the
money to do all this construction? To my
knowledge, neither of them have a main income
(other than the adoption funds, dog food sales,
and bottled water sales).
I guess their 2008 tax returns will be quite
interesting to see.
For the past couple of years, the puppy population
at Gentle Giants Rescue has been increasing by
leaps and bounds. If you were to talk to ANY other
rescue group around the Nation, both breed
specific and all-breed, puppies are a rarity. So,
how is it that Gentle Giants Rescue ALWAYS has
puppies? They have puppies of just about any
Giant Breed dog. Additionally, they have recently
been advertising "designer" breed puppies. Here
is a snippet from their website: "See our unique
'one-of-a-kind' Gentle Giants, such as our very rare
“Doodle” a giant Great Dane/Poodle who looks
like a Great Dane when he is shaved and
groomed, but looks like a giant "Super Poodle"
when his fur grows out. Also, check out our
amazing "Woodle" an Irish Wolfhound/Poodle, our
funloving "BorzAf" a beautiful Borzoi/Afghan, and
our breathtaking "Great DaNewfé" a Great
Dane/Newfoundland" (see their home page).
So the question arises, "Where do they get all
Email testimonies come in on a regular basis from
adopters that have been through horrible
experiences. Most of those testimonies are posted
seems to be a common thread with most of these
testimonies, in that the dogs they are showing as
"available" for adoption are not yet spayed or
neutered. If they adopted that dog, they would have
to come back in a few days to pick him/her up after
the dog has had it's surgery.
It is also well-known that it is standard practice of
Gentle Giants Rescue that all the dogs live together
in a pack. They sleep together, they eat together,
and they "hang out" together. Most of these dogs
live in the back "house", so they are not supervised
at all times.
So ... what do you think? Unaltered adult dogs ...
living communally ... lots of puppies available.
HOW DOES GENTLE GIANTS RATE?
Read what others have said.
(The "rating" that raves about Gentle Giants was written by Burt Ward himself. A bit biased if you ask me.)
Make a rating yourself.
After carefully reviewing three years worth of Gentle Giants IRS 990 Tax Returns for the years 2004, 2005
and 2006, here are some of my thoughts:
If you read or hear any of the media that Burt Ward publicizes about GGR, he is constantly bragging about
how many dogs they adopt out each year. At one point, he had stated that they adopt out 1,000 dogs per
year. To back up this claim, a lawsuit complaint was filed in the County of Riverside against one of the
adopters claiming that they have adopted over 10,000 dogs in the past 14 years. Assuming that GGR
was not adopting out that large of a quantity when they first started, over the years the quantity has
increased, it averages out to approximately 1,000 dogs per year. This would actually make Burt Ward's
claims to be close to the truth. And since it IS filed with the County Courts, it MUST be true.
HOWEVER, based on the 2004 returns, they are claiming to have adopted out 200+ dogs, in 2005 they
adopted out 300+ dogs, and again in 2006 they adopted out 300+ dogs. So which is it? 1,000 adoptions
per year, or 300 dogs per year? These numbers aren't even close.
The next observation I made, and having in my possession a number of adoption contracts over the above
referenced years, the average adoption fees for the year 2004 were between $400.00 to $650.00 ;
average adoption fees for the years 2005 & 2006 were between $650.00 to $900.00.
Based on the estimated amount of dogs adopted per year of 1,000 dogs and based on a averaged
adoption fee of $525.00 for 2005, and $775.00 for 2005 & 2006, then the total GROSS adoptions should
be closer to $525,000.00 and $775,000.00. (I believe my math is correct. Check the math yourself.)
HOWEVER, gross adoption fees reported on the 990 Tax Returns for those years were MUCH lower than
that. In 2004, they reported their gross adoption fees as $222,493.00, 2005 as $351,359.00, and 2006
I don't know about you ... but these numbers just don't make any sense to me.
Here's a few more thoughts:
Listed in their very limited itemized expenses, here are some expenses that seem a bit questionable.
Feeding/Cleaning: They are allowed to have a maximum of 55 animals on their premises at all times, in
accordance to the City of Norco Conditional Use Permit. So, based on that quantity, they are only feeding
55 dogs each day. IF they paid full retail price for each bag of food (averages at $20.00 per bag for the
food they feed ... I personally have witnessed Burt feeding their "herd" Pedrigree dog food), and 1 bag will
feed 1 dog for 30 days, they would need to purchase 55 bags of food per month for their dogs. IF they
actually did buy the food, then the approximate amount they would be spending is $13,200.00 per year,
not $31,900 to $35,350 as claimed in their 2004, 2005, & 2006 990s. However, that is not the case.
Most of the food is donated to them by manufactures that have stale food and can’t sell in retail stores.
Training Fees: Burt and Tracy Ward provide their own training, don't they? In fact, they even sell a
"Training and Wellness Program" Here is a quote from THEIR website:
“We offer our "Gentle Giants Training And Total Wellness Program" semi-annually for $495.00, which
provides you with the following services and benefits for your adopted dog every six (6) months . . .”
They are charging for this service, yet the income from this service is NOT reported in any of their tax
returns. Instead they have Training Fees listed in the expense itemization. So who did they pay for
Training in 2005 - $30,159.00 and 2006 - $16,165.00?
Transportation: When dogs are relinquished to GGR, the owner of the dog MUST deliver the dog
themselves. There are other occasions that volunteers will pick up dogs at animal shelters, these
volunteers are NOT paid or reimbursed for their time or gas. This is a volunteer service. What
transportation costs? 2004: $35,020.00 / 2005: $35,144.00 / 2006: $42,660.00
Website Maintenance: Burt Ward is a website guru. He maintains his own website. Yet they are
claiming to be paying out $12,920.00 in 2005 and $14,307.00 in 2006. Who is he paying this too?
As of today's date, this site has been visited
Back in January (2008), I received an email from
an adopter. One of the things he mentioned is that
there is some new construction going on and the
property was all torn up because of it. When the
adopter questioned what they were building, he
was told they were putting in a pool for the dogs.