But her dream was almost thwarted when the county government tried to force senseless regulations on her property.
Chastain owns a horse ranch outside of Olympia, Washington, where she rescues horses and hosts children with special needs. Her work there has been lauded by local teachers and community leaders.
One day, she received a letter from Thurston County that threatened to close her ranch down. It listed 11 property violations, which allegedly stemmed from a neighbor’s complaint. She was charged with building a swimming pool without a permit (it was already there when she moved in) and having a well too close to her garage.
Even worse, it limited her to only have six horses on her thirty acres— a regulation that was not even in county land codes. This forced Chastain to put some of her prized horses down.
I’m getting rid of horses. I’m saying goodbye to kids. I’m closing down programs. It was devastating.
A turning point came when she saw signs around that said “Stop Thurston County from Taking Our Property.”
She called the number on the sign, which led to the Freedom Foundation’s Glen Morgan. Morgan provided the information that restored her will to fight the county officials.
She testified and invited county officials to look around her property—and she invited her friends with video cameras. The county decided that there was nothing wrong with her property, and Chastain was vindicated.
Chastain’s is not an isolated case. Many people suffer under oppressive government regulations on their property or businesses. Glen Morgan warns citizens in Chastain’s position that “your silence will not protect you.” She shined the light of day on what government was doing to her, and she changed her situation.
If you don’t stand up against government grabbing power and squashing individual opportunity when you see it happening around you, then you may just become a victim of it yourself one day.