Local horse therapy program owed thousands by East County treatment center

Sovereign Health shut down its local center
Posted at 4:27 PM, Sep 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-04 17:55:09-04

PINE VALLEY, Calif. (KGTV) - Team 10 discovered more fallout from an East County residential treatment center that recently closed.

Former employees of Sovereign Health in Rancho San Diego said the facility closed earlier this summer. Many employees said they did not get paid.

Jaye Strother, founder of Heart N Soul Equine Assisted Therapy, has worked with Sovereign Health since January 2016. She said she's the latest victim of the company.

"They owe us over $16,000," Strother said.

Horses have always been a part of her life, so it made sense for her to start this program to help others. She said her two favorite things are psychology and animals.

"We address anything from anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol use," she said. "People tend to connect with the horses really well."

Strother enjoyed working with the kids, but the paychecks from Sovereign Health stopped coming. The last check she received was in February. She said she needs that money to keep her organization going.

"We've had to delve into our savings. We're getting by with that and donations right now," Strother said.

Sovereign Health's website advertising the center in Rancho San Diego is still active. When Team 10 called the phone number, the person who answered confirmed the treatment facility closed two months ago. When Team 10 asked to speak to someone with Sovereign Health, they were told there wasn't any information.

Dr. Tonmoy Sharma is the CEO.

"After I started hearing that they weren't paying the employees and the employees kept coming to me saying they were going to be leaving, then I kind of started getting upset because thought Dr. Sharma doesn't care at all about the kids.," Strother said. "It's just about money to him."

Strother is weighing her options, including possible legal action. However, she is hoping better days are ahead for her organization that she loves.

"Still going on faith something better's going to come up!" she said.

Strother is holding a fundraiser on Sunday September 9th from 8:30 to 11 a.m. to raise money for Heart N Soul. The pancake breakfast will be held at Descanso Town Hall at 24536 Viejas Grade Road. The breakfast also includes eggs, sausage, coffee, orange juice, and fruit. The cost is $6.50.