Marilyn was born and raised in Sacramento, CA and moved to Loomis (Placer County) in 1970. I graduated from Sacramento State (CSUS) with a B.A. in Business Education/Accounting) and later from San Francisco State with an M.A in Education. I established a bookkeeping business and was a licensed tax preparer for many years. Now retired after a 35-year stint as a high school teacher in the San Juan USD, I work as a volunteer for a number of nonprofits—serving in Board positions and advocating for animals and environmental protection issues. My primary commitment is to animal welfare (stopping cruelty, abuse, and neglect) and wildlife conservation. For over a decade, I have fostered rescued puppies and work with them (house training, obedience, etc.) for adoption to permanent homes. I live with a rescued/adopted very sweet Great Dane, a 19 lb Whippet/Chi/who-knows-what “character,” and two rescued battery hens.
I attended the University of California, Davis and graduated with a B.S. degree in Human Development. In 2001, I received a Juris Doctorate from Lincoln Law School in Sacramento and practiced family law for several years. Currently, I work as an Administrative Law Judge for the State of California, Board of Parole Hearings, where I make parole suitability determinations for prisoners who were sentenced to life with the possibility of parole. I am a lifelong vegetarian and I work to foster compassionate treatment for animals everywhere. I am very proud to join the Board of the Humane Society of the Sierra Foothills.
Although I love all animals, my extensive knowledge of equines plays an important role on the Humane Society of the Sierra Foothills Board. I worked for the Placer Union High School District for over 20 years in a variety of teaching assignments. During that time I began the Inmate Education Program and served as its lead teacher. In addition to my contributions on this Board, I also serve on the board of the Friends of the Auburn Library and teach cooking classes at Placer Adult school. I’m married 48 years to Judge J. Richard Couzens, and I have four grown children.
Dr. Sara Neilson is a graduate of the Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Immediately following veterinary school, Dr. Neilson completed a one-year small animal ER/general practice internship at Loomis Basin Veterinary Hospital (now VCA Loomis Basin). She remained as a full time associate there for five years after her internship. In 2015, Dr. Neilson began serving many different hospitals, shelters and rescues as a relief veterinarian, which she continues to do presently. Her pets include one rescued stray goldendoodle and one nine-year old cat rescued as a kitten. She has lived in Auburn, CA since 2011 and greatly enjoys all the trail and outdoor activities Auburn and Northern California have to offer.
I am a longtime Loomis resident & animal advocate, originally settling here to have room for my horses. And while the travel demands of my medical sales career make responsible horse ownership difficult, I manage to get my horse fix volunteering at a 5000 acre wild horse sanctuary. I’ve had the pleasure of fostering, adopting and caring for many dogs & cats over the years. We currently share our home with the “Lady of the House”, aka, a 10 year old rescued golden retriever named Buffy. I am honored to join the BoD for the HSSF and to contribute any way I can to the furtherance of their mission and to the vital & invaluable work they do.
"I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being". — Abraham Lincoln