for CHANGE, One Horse at a Time
In a county with more than 20,000 horses, resources for horses in law enforcement custody have at times been hard to come by.
The unique housing, handling and management needs of horses make them a logistical challenge for municipalities, especially
in light of tough economic times. But in 2007, horses in critical need found themselves with more options and a chance at a
better future thanks to the inception of the 501(c)3 organization Coins to Help Abandoned and Neglected Equines (CHANGE).
CHANGE functions as a community-based support network that assists local law enforcement with equine humane cases.
CHANGE provides housing, veterinary care, farrier care and adoption services for horses in law enforcement custody.
Since the organization’s inception, it has assisted with several dozen critical horses, many of whom entered the foster
care program near death but were successfully rehabilitated and adopted into loving homes. But CHANGE doesn’t stop there--it
also strives to educate law enforcement and the community about horse care. Through its efforts, CHANGE has helped to set
legal precedent by providing expert witness testimony in several equine criminal cases.
According to equine veterinarian Grant Miller, simply caring for horses who are victims of abuse and abandonment without
addressing the root of the issue “enables the problem.” Miller, who founded CHANGE after euthanizing an emaciated and severely
dehydrated horse left tied to a fence in 100-degree heat, describes a multi-pronged approach to the challenge of horse neglect.
It all starts, and ends, with the law. “The law is the bottom line,” says Miller, “and if you enforce the law, you pull the
situation up by the bootstraps.”
CHANGE recognizes that prevention of horse abuse and neglect before it occurs is preferable to prosecuting and punishing
offenders. That is why CHANGE works to offer education programs to law enforcement and the public in order to create a
better understanding of basic horse care and handling.
It’s a tall order for a little organization that subsists solely on donations from the community, but CHANGE is
showing Sonoma County that big changes can come from the collective efforts of the community. "We are taking a
new approach to an old problem," says Miller. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
The ongoing success of CHANGE is due to the overwhelming community support that it has received. It is clear that
concerned community members want a method to contribute in whatever way they are able. When people see a horse in
distress, they do not want to feel helpless. CHANGE gives them the tools they need to become empowered and to make
their neighborhood a healthy place, for animals and people. Please donate today to help make a difference in the
life of a horse in need and in your community.