By Allison T. Williams
From: Daily Press
Photo: Tamira Thayne, the founder and executive director of Dogs Deserve Better,… (Adrin Snider/Daily Press…)
SURRY — Surry County deputies seized nine canisters of Mace, one Taser stun gun and a 1-year-old pit bull at the Surry County house best known as home of Michael Vick’s dogfighting operation.
Vick served 23 months in federal prison because of dogs. Now the current owner of the Moonlight Road house is facing animal cruelty charges.
In addition to the Mace and Taser, deputies late Monday seized veterinary records from Dogs Deserve Better’s Good Newz Rehab Center for Chained and Penned Dogs, according to search warrants filed Tuesday in Surry Circuit Court.
The search warrants were served hours after the organization’s founder, Tamira Thayne was charged with two misdemeanor animal abuse charges.
The misdemeanors, one count each of animal cruelty and inadequate care of animals could, upon conviction, bring fines of up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail, according to Surry County Chief Animal Control Officer Tracy Terry.
Thayne is scheduled to appear Sept. 25 in Surry General District Court.
A Good Newz employee outside the spacious, white-brick house that serves as both Thayne’s local residence and the dog kennel said Thayne was not home Tuesday afternoon.
Calls to Thayne’s cell phone were not returned.
But on Monday, she questioned why county animal control officers never targeted Vick during the years he bankrolled dog fights on the property. Vick served a prison term on federal dog fighting conspiracy charges before making his football comeback.
“Look at all he did to those dogs and he was never charged (by the county),” said Thayne.
Moving to Surry
Thayne operated Dogs Deserve Better out of her Pennsylvania home before expanding the operation by moving to the NFL quarterback’s former property in Surry. After an aggressive online fundraising campaign the group purchased the 4,600-square-foot white-brick house and opened in June 2011.
Complaints began almost immediately.
She had differences with neighbors and run-ins with fellow animal rights advocates.
In September 2011, Giles County resident Shannon Allen, the Dogs Deserve Better organization’s former national rescue contractor, quit and publicly alleged that Thayne may have misused donations. Thayne fought back, denying the allegations and offering up the organization’s financial records for scrutiny.
In January, Surry neighbor Andrew Williams objected to a long-range plan to build a $2 million, 50-dog kennel for abused dogs and the potential traffic and commercialization it could bring to the remote community.
Another neighbor, Richard Clark, whose property backs up to Thayne’s driveway, also opposed the operation. “I’m not against rescuing dogs, but I don’t think a residential area is the place to do it,” he told the Daily Press in January.
His multiple no-trespassing signs, visible through a fence, were posted every few feet along Thayne’s driveway.
“Animals are being Maced and tased on regular basis” and dogs are being crated for a “minimum of 19 hours a day unless it is raining outside, then they are crated even longer,” according to the search warrant. In addition, the document says, injured and sick dogs are not getting necessary veterinary care.
Terry declined to discuss the findings on Tuesday, citing a pending investigation.
Read more: Daily Press