Working for CHANGE, One Horse at a Time

In a county with more than 27,000 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.

What we do

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.

Why we do it

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.”

How we do it

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.”

What you can do

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.

Are you interested in creating a program like CHANGE? We are willing to share some of our founding documents and ideas with appropriate, interested parties.

Contact us at director@sonomachangeprogram.com if you would like to learn about what we do and how we do it. Ask for “CHANGE In A Box” and we’ll send you what you need.

CHANGE empowers individuals to give what they can to help horses in need.

The intensive and expensive task of rehabilitating and rehoming a horse in need becomes simple when everyone gives what they can.

The program has shown that big changes result from dedicated community efforts.