Local vet builds network to help horses survive
Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 5:03 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 5:04 a.m.
When it comes to taking care of abused, neglected or abandoned horses, Grant Miller has become somewhat of a saint to North Coast horse rescuers.
Miller, a private veterinarian, often is contracted by the county to provide medical services to seized horses.
The growing number of neglected and abandoned horses in the county has prompted Miller to create a network of volunteers who can house, feed and care for abused horses.
Horse rescuers say the program, Coins to Help Abandoned and NeGlected Equines (CHANGE), provides the county with a much-needed resource to turn to. Many of the program’s services are provided by volunteers, but it also relies on public donations.
The idea for the program came last summer after Miller was forced to put down a horse that had been abandoned in a pasture off Todd Road in southwest Santa Rosa. The horse was found tied to a fence in 100-degree weather with no food or water. The horse was so far gone it had to be destroyed.
Katie Moore, who runs Watermark Farm in Fulton, provides volunteer foster homes for horses.
She said she recently took in a seized horse that had been kept locked in a 12-by-16-foot corral for almost 16 years.
“This would be the equivalent of taking a human toddler and locking them in a closet continuously through high school,” she said.
The horse had been kept alive on a diet of stale bread and rotting produce, she said. A bail of hay in Sonoma County sells for $15 to $18, whereas a year ago, the cost was $12 to $15. The typical horse eats approximately two bails a week, she said.
“I try to give a second chance to an otherwise doomed horse,” said Moore. “The horses I invariably take are either headed for slaughter or euthanasia.”
For more information about CHANGE, visit www.sonomachangeprogram.com.
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