Jada licks Tami's face before being seized by Surry County AC on August 27, 2012.
She was ordered returned to Dogs Deserve Better on September 11, 2012.
Dogs Deserve Better founder and CEO Tamira Ci Thayne, an ordained interfaith minister whose organization bought Michael Vick's Bad Newz Kennels, is willing to die for her cause—and that may just be what happens if things don't change quickly in Surry County, Virginia.
"I began a hunger strike on the Surry County courthouse lawn May 7, 2013, because those in power have a moral obligation to wield this power justly, yet all I see around me is collusion and corruption," Thayne states.
"Surry County Commonwealth Attorney Gerald Poindexter and Animal Control officer Tracy Terry have made a mockery of the justice system—falsely arresting me for animal cruelty charges, dropping them via nolle pros when their witness failed to show up (for the second time), and continuing to threaten me to this day with re-arrest for the same charges...even though there is no physical evidence of injury to any of our dogs.
"A judge ordered the return of our dog Jada, a black and white tuxedo pitbull, on September 11, 2012, proclaiming 'In this case I just see pretty strong evidence—or let me just say this, a clear LACK OF EVIDENCE, that this dog has been cruelly treated.'
Thayne continues, "Yet Terry still boasts that they will continue to pursue cruelty charges against me, despite a vet's testimony on my behalf who had treated dogs at our facility three times. Dr. Dragon testified before the judge that all dogs were healthy and happy—and again—that she saw NO PHYSICAL EVIDENCE OF CRUELTY TO ANY OF THE DOGS.
"All the while, Poindexter has refused to put forward felony embezzlement charges for former employee Deana Whitfield. These charges were first taken to the Surry County Sheriff's office on August 17, 2012, investigated and compiled by state police officer Shawna Griffith, and show a clear paper trail of payroll padding. These charges have languished on Poindexter's desk since October of 2012."
Whitfield is the former employee who approached Surry County AC Officer Tracy Terry with false accusations against Thayne—it is believed in order to distract from her own legal troubles. So far it has worked.
"I waited to prove myself innocent—because let's face it, I was guilty until proven innocent—before I pushed for charges to be filed against Whitfield, in order to clear my name and the reputation of my nonprofit Dogs Deserve Better," Thayne continues.
"But both times I've spoken to Attorney Poindexter since charges were dropped against me March 5th, he has brushed off responsibiity for setting forward embezzlement charges against Whitfield. He even flat out told me that he HADN'T LOOKED AT THEM YET. Six months later.
"Worse, he asked me If I thought she did it deliberately!"
It's become blindingly apparent that Thayne is being charged and Whitfield is not as a smear tactic to run her and Dogs Deserve Better out of Surry County, Virginia.
Surry County Commonwealth Attorney Gerald Poindexter is one and the same DA who DROPPED CRUELTY CHARGES AGAINST MICHAEL VICK IN November 2008, and pushed to give him only time served on state dog fighting charges. He was given a three year suspended sentence.
To make the comparison, Poindexter dropped charges against Michael Vick when he had a confession to murdering dogs in various and sundry ways (read The Lost Dogs and Badd Newz for more information about the dogs and the case) and nine dead bodies federal agents pulled out of the ground as evidence. These bodies told their own tales of the cruelty waged upon them.
Yet in Thayne's case, Poindexter and Terry not only refused to drop the charges after the judge ordered DDB's VERY HEALTHY pitbull returned, but continued to threaten with refiling charges that they knew damn well never should have been filed in the first place.
How, just HOW, can Poindexter justify this kind of behavior? Rumor widely holds that there are two classifications of people Gerald Poindexter doesn't like: white people and animal activists.
Thayne just happens to be both.
Thayne's attorney was informed April 29th by phone that ACO
Tracy Terry intends to re-file charges against Thayne.
"It has become obvious to me that the harrassment of myself and my organization will not stop until I put a end to it. The legal route cannot work when corruption exists at the top tiers and there is no one to turn to for help," Thayne continues.
"I built Dogs Deserve Better from the ground up, and have put my heart and soul into this work to save chained dogs and win them better rights. DDB has paid for the Good Newz Rehab Center in full through bequests to Dogs Deserve Better, and we pay our taxes to Surry County on time each year.
"As Surry County property owners who are breaking no laws, we have every right to continue to build a sanctuary for formerly chained and penned dogs at the very same location where once chained fighting dogs received only heartache and pain.
"If Whitfield, Poindexter and Terry have anything to do with it, I will be destroyed and my organization in ruins. They have already quite successfully destroyed my personal reputation and cut the day to day donations to DDB drastically.
"I cannot tolerate the harrassment any longer. The only choice I have to put an end to this abuse of power is to starve myself on their doorstep until justice is served or I am carried away in a box.
"The irony for me is that at the age of 49, I am finally at peace in my personal life and consider that I have much to live for. I married a wonderful man who makes me laugh every day, I love my children deeply, and have just purchased a home with Joe along a river in central Virginia. The thought of losing all that I've worked so hard to achieve throughout my lifetime tears me up inside. I hurt for myself, for my husband, for my children, and for my good friends and family members.
"Life as a dog activist has been more difficult than I could have ever dreamed possible. I believed that most people loved dogs and the rest who treated them poorly would quickly come to understand what their needs are and strive to meet these needs, i.e. bring them into the home and family to live.
I never realized I would suffer so much persecution in fighting for rights for what is supposed to be Man's Best Friend.
"Yet I feel obligated to do what is morally right for both the dogs I serve and my own basic freedom to live without abuse and harrassment at the hands of officials when I'm merely going about the business of building our dogs a home.
"I can choose to die bravely—fighting corruption—or live as a coward under a cloud of continued false allegations; of those two, I choose death."
Thayne will end the hunger strike when justice prevails, i.e. charges against her are dropped and a statement of her innocence is made by ACO Tracy Terry and Gerald Poindexter; AND, charges against Deana Whitfield for felony embezzlement and making false statements to a police officer are brought forward. She also wants former employee and 'the witness who fails to show for hearings,' Andrea Wheeler, charged with making false statements to a police officer OR given the choice to turn state's evidence against Whitfield.
An investigation into corruption and malfeasance needs to ensue immediately against Poindexter and Terry, so that this abuse can not continue.
Please peruse the below timeline of events leading up to today as well as the evidence to back up Thayne's statements. If you believe her to be telling the truth, please contact local and national elected officials and media and insist that justice be served in Surry County, Virginia.
Office of the Attorney General
900 East Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219
To contact via web: http://www.ag.virginia.gov/ContactUsForm/ContactForm.aspx
Office of the Governor
Patrick Henry Building, 3rd Floor
1111 East Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
To contact via web: http://www.governor.virginia.gov/AboutTheGovernor/contactGovernor.cfm
Office: (804) 786-2211
Fax: (804) 371-6351
Tyrone W. Franklin (click here to e-mail)
Surry County Administrator
P. O. Box 65
Phone: (757) 294-5271
Fax: (757) 294-5204
Delegate: Richard L. Morris
Capitol Addr1: P.O. Box 406
Capitol Addr2:General Assembly Building
City/State/Zip: Richmond, Va. 23218-0406
Capitol Phone: (804) 698-1064
District Address1: P.O. Box 128
City/State/Zip: Carrollton, VA 23314
District Phone (757) 912-1644
Senator: L. Louise Lucas
Capitol Addr1: P.O. Box 396
Capitol Addr2: General Assembly Building
City/State/Zip: Richmond, Va. 23218-0406
Capitol Phone: (804) 698-7518
District Address1: P.O. Box 700
City/State/Zip: Portsmouth, VA 23705-0700
District Phone: (757) 397-8209
Tim Kaine, U.S. Senate
PO Box 12307
Richmond, VA 23241
Mark Warner, U.S. Senate
475 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
To e-mail, use this form
Timeline and Background of Thayne, Vick, Surry County