UPDATED: Woman Who Bought Vick Property Wanted for Animal Cruelty

For quite some time, readers have been sending me tips, both pro and con, regarding the group who bought the Michael Vick property in Surry Co, VA.  Dogs Deserve Better, an anti-tethering group founded and operated by Tamira Thayne (fka Tammy Grimes), purchased the home and land in May 2011, reportedly intending to turn it into some type of dog sanctuary.  There have been problems from the beginning and to be honest, I never could make heads or tails of what was going on so I didn’t blog about it.  But this is newsworthy:

According to Tracy Terry, Chief Animal Control officer for Surry County, Tamira Thayne is wanted for animal cruelty and inadequate care of animals.


Terry told WAVY.com Thayne has been operating an illegal shelter as long as she has been in the state of Virginia.

No details have been provided regarding the cruelty complaints and authorities have been unable to locate Ms. Thayne as of today.

Update, August 28:  The story on WAVY.com was updated late last night to include a bit of additional info.  Ms.Thayne has been served with the animal cruelty warrant.

Thayne allowed WAVY.com to observe the dogs Monday afternoon and where they are kept.

One dog was seized by AC during the TV crew’s visit but the other eight were left in place.  The chief ACO promised more information by the end of the week.  There is a video from the late news broadcast showing some of the dogs who appear to be well cared for and socialized.

I guess the thing that raises a red flag for me here is the fact that AC did not seize any dogs, even when there was an outstanding cruelty warrant, until the TV news crew arrived.  It could be a coincidence but it looks suspicious to me.

52 thoughts on “UPDATED: Woman Who Bought Vick Property Wanted for Animal Cruelty

    1. Yes, it has. I never could work out where the angry neighbors part stopped and the complaints of cruelty began. It seems like a tangled web. We’ll see what the authorities have to say in coming days.

    2. …and we all know how accurate the rumor mills are. Screw the facts, the judge and the jury…the social media rumor mill is what everyone should be judged by…

  1. So what exactly has she done besides help get dogs off chains and out of horrid living situations…of course no details are provided because this is a political issue now…how sad…

  2. I’ve seen pictures of the site from a friend who visited there and didn’t see anything that set off red flags. I hope this is not true and the truth surfaces.

  3. First I’ve heard of this and Tami and I go back about 6 years. I’ll drop her a line and let her know what’s up and just ask her point blank. I knew she was not popular in the region. Keep in mind, this is the same area where the DA would not – as in he refused – to do anything about the state charges against Vick for his hands on killing of dogs. If you’ve read Jim Gorant’s Lost Dogs, you know what I’m talking about. Vick’s time was for violation of federal laws only.

    I have the utmost respect for Tami and will until I am proven wrong. Time to take a look see from afar.

  4. The thing she is MOST famous for is rescuing Doogie from being unable to get up off frozen ground in PA, because a neighbor near Doogie had called her after 3 days of phoning the local Animal Control and getting no response. She videod Doogie during the rescue and after, and then hid him and was brought up on theft charges by a bunch of idiots in cahoots with each other. She had taken him to a vet immediately, who diagnosed bone spurs (VERY painful) and got him on meds. The videos of him walking around happy and clean later speak for themselves, I believe. Meanwhile, the owners who had him chained with other dogs in their yard said, ‘Oh, we were GOING to take him to be euthanized that day after work’. Really? After him being out on the frigid ground, unable to get up for 3 days?? Lying pieces of crap.

    Note that the current news article said that no animals were seized, but that officers were ensuring that they got the care they needed, or something like that. Unless this woman is suffering from something, she showed level-headedness and determination in the case of Doogie, which went on for a couple of years, and she said she would go to jail rather than return him to his neglectful owners! It is well worth reading the back and forth of her case in PA, where she defied orders to take down videos and to surrender Doogie – I say GOOD FOR HER! We should not circulate bad rumors at this point. She is a hero.


    1. No one is circulating bad rumors. There are animal cruelty warrants against her which the authorities have been unable to serve at this time. That’s all that has been reported.

  5. From Tami’s DDB page:

    “There is no truth to the recent news articles. This is another attempt by a small group of people who are trying to put an end to Dogs Deserve Better and other rescue groups. They have been sending in false claims to the Surry County officials and demanding they close our rescue. We have copies of their letters and are in the process of getting it straightened out. There will be an official statement soon.”

    I first dealt with Tami before she was arrested for “stealing” a dying dog named Doogie. Many moons ago and many discussions were held. I knew she would be convicted of theft and I also know she would do the same thing again to save the life of a dog in the face of public officials who could care less.

    I look forward to her statement and as I told her, I will always presume haters are coming after her before I assume she has mistreated any animal.

  6. There have been many complaints from Dogs Deserve Better people who have quit the organization because since she bought that property it seems to them according to their complaints that she has abandoned them and the dogs they save; that she’s more interested in the house itself.

  7. DDB is denying and says they will release a comment soon. This is via their fb page: “There is no truth to the recent news articles. This is another attempt by a small group of people who are trying to put an end to Dogs Deserve Better and other rescue groups. They have been sending in false claims to the Surry County officials and demanding they close our rescue. We have copies of their letters and are in the process of getting it straightened out. There will be an official statement soon.” They are open to the public, invite people to just stop by and seem to have people in and out. I pray this is not true as I have donated and distributed some of their literature!

    1. I am not an attorney but I would think it would be important for her to contact authorities immediately so the warrants may be served. Regardless of the merits of the charges (which I have no info on), it does not look good to people if you appear to be avoiding the police.

      1. In case Richmond coverage from CBS affiliate has not been posted here it is:

        Kennel owner on Michael Vick’s old property faces charges

        Posted on: 6:02 pm, August 27, 2012, by Alix Bryan

        SURRY COUNTY, Va. (WTVR)–The owner of Dogs Deserve Better kennel, located on the property once owned by Michael Vick is facing charges.

        Tammy Thayne is charged with animal cruelty and inadequate care of an animal according to Tracy Terry with Surry County Animal Control. The kennel was on Vick’s former property, which was sold after his dog fighting charges.

        She also claims that Dogs Deserve Better is under investigation with operating an illegal shelter, but that investigation is being handled with the Va. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).

        VDACS said they are investigating the kennel, but can’t comment on the specifics regarding the investigation. They can say a staff veterinarian inspected the kennel last week, but no action was taken.

        They said the investigation is ongoing.

        CBS 6 will continue to follow this story—please watch CBS 6 and wtvr.com for updates.

  8. Having said that, who knows where the truth lies. It’s hard to believe that she could or would do such a turn around.

  9. Like you I have been following the internet rumors. It seems like she started the operation with great intentions but grossly underfinanced which is a recipe for problems. I hope it works for the best for the dogs.

  10. There’s a comment on the DDB Facebook page saying that Dr. Suzanne Fiala and her supporters are behind the complaints. I don’t know if this is true, or if the complaints are valid, but Dr. Fiala lost her case against DDB regarding the dog Joel that she was fostering and would have reason to hold a grudge. I read the court documents related to that case and DDB was clearly justified in their decision to take Joel back and rehome him.

  11. I won’t even venture to guess the true story here but I would not be surprised if the heart of this is with people who do not want her there or who feel slighted, somehow.

    I once had a run-in of sorts with a woman who tried to adopt from a large nonprofit I support in Colorado. She was so angry that they would not adopt a dog to her that she set up her own web site and went on a tirade to do everything she could to discredit the group. I knew from talking to the group founders that she was very angry but I did try to interact with her rationally. It was a waste of energy. She was not be be persuaded in her opinion of their corrupt organization and ultimately I had to block her emails and all contact from her. Any words which did not fit her agenda were not the least bit welcome and in her mind, they were of no value.

    I don’t know if something similar is going on here. I do know that some people in advocacy circles are….well, I’ll just say it: nuts. I’ve had people threaten to cause me to lose my job and hunt me down over some perceived slight. All the while claiming to be advocates for animals. We are a passionate group which often makes many of us an unstable group.

    Having warrants out for her arrest is bad news (sorry, no pun intended) but Tami is not new to legal issues and will no doubt face the music. It is not in her nature to hide and I presume she’s looking for an attorney to help her with her next legal battle. She’s one tough cookie and I will be watching this one play out.

    If I was in a foxhole with the enemy coming, I’d want her in there with me.

  12. I have not followed this for quite awhile and I did not know all the funds had been raised to buy the property. I agree that she needs to contact the authorities so the warrant(s) can be served. It can get nasty when all kinds of rumors circulate. I had to temporary quit my breed rescue because of rumors about rescuing from the dog auctions for my own independent rescue. Thank goodness this was before all the social media websites!

  13. A reader sent me this link. It contains multiple complaints (all jumbled together) from individuals who purport to be former associates of Ms. Thayne. I can’t say that any/all of these claims are true, false or contain a mixture of both. But it does give some additional background for anyone interested in another side of the story: http://complaintcafe.com/complaint/Clubs-&-Organizations-Scam/Dogs-Deserve-Better/6491/

    There are also a large number of people, including some here, who say they know Ms. Thayne and absolutely support her. I am not taking sides but rather sharing available info.

  14. Not Tammy Grimes!! They already got her once for abuse and puppy milling!! Who the hell sold this property to her!! She can’t even OWN an dog any more! She changed her name.. I bet they didn’t have any idea who they were selling this to!!! I just somehow HOPE it isn’t the same Tammy Grimes!! “Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened” Kathie


    1. Katherine, your another liar…she has never been in trouble for abuse or puppy milling! Sell your lies somewhere else….oh sell them to Shannon Allen who spends every waking minute of her miserable life hurting people and animals and the law.

  15. Yeah, as mentioned, Ms. Thaymes has been in legal troubles before in a positive way for animals, much to the owners/others dismay. I have no doubt that this is a revenge/pettiness issues as I dont think this is another MAS/abuse on purpose type of situation. I could be wrong though. Please keep us updated!

  16. “Terry said she began investigating on July 20 after receiving emailed complaints about how dogs were treated at the kennel. Terry and a representative from the Office of the State Veterinarian visited Thayne’s Surry kennel on Aug. 23.

    “Both Terry and Elaine Lidholm, spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which oversees the state veterinarian’s office, refused to elaborate, citing an ongoing investigation.

    s”Terry noted that two charges against Thayne involve the care of multiple animals.

    “Dogs have not been removed and the kennel has not been shut down, Terry said. For now, Terry said her office is taking steps to make sure that all of the dogs are receiving proper care.

    “In addition to the animal abuse charges, Terry said Dogs Deserve Better did not comply with issues identified by the state veterinarian in order to operate a kennel in Virginia. Although she would not elaborate on details, Lidholm did confirm that the organization never got the state veterinarian office’s required approval to open as a private kennel.”

  17. Re complaintcafe.com link posted by YesBiscuit — Were there names attached to the posts which have been deleted, or does no one give their name on this site?

  18. There is a long entry on the DDB Facebook page this morning. Feel free to read it. I can tell you that Tami was heartbroken that Jada was taken and I fear for the safety of the dog now that she is not with Tami.

    I give little or no credibility to a person or people who would start a WordPress smear campaign and essentially try to incite a riot in cyberspace rather than to use that same amount of time and energy to work in a constructive manner with the person about whom they complain. I give the WordPress site no more credibility than I do the smear sites set up against Nathan Winograd.

    I am obviously biased and this will be my last comment here on this issue. Tami is not my only contact with DDB and as long as her key folks stand by her, that’s good enough for me. As was the case with Doogie in PA, the truth will come out eventually.

  19. There have been a little group of ppl on facebook on a group called Bring Joel Home who have been axe grinding against DDB for about 12 months. Making groundless complaints etc because DDB took a dog back from a foster who wanted to adopt him.
    I suspect these ppl are at the back of all this.

    1. I agree. If the dog was in danger, and they had enough evidence to get a warrant, they should not have delayed in seizing the dog. And why is only one of the dogs supposedly in danger? It raises questions.

      1. Did anyone see any physical signs that this dog taken by AC was abused or were they going on the word of “past” employees. I’ve had the unfortunate task of letting someone go and they make sure you don’t forget them when the door closes behind them. Those who jump quickly to judge without the facts may suffer the same some day….just saying.

      2. Thanks for the warning or threat or whatever but I’m not jumping to any conclusions. In fact, I’ve been doing the opposite by waiting to say anything at all on the subject for a long time, despite numerous reader tips. And I think this post was fair.

      3. …not a threat, just a life observation. I wasn’t speaking specifically to you, but to anyone who has already decided her guilt without knowing all the facts. This article was posted on FB and the person who shared it “hopes she burns”.

  20. I think many people are concerned over the finances and running of DDB. That house was bought with donations and continues to be funded with donations, while TT lives there rent free and also takes a salary. She willnot release an accounting of all monies received and outgo for quite some time now. In addition, they continue to turn away needy dogs as they have no room. All this money for 14 dogs…something is fishy. For all the monies collected, they could have built a wonderful facility in an appropriate place-not the middle of a neighborhood where they really werenot wanted. It was a publicity stunt to take advantage of the outrage over MV’s actions….I used to support this organization back when,,,but..no more..

    1. If you have complaints about donations and where the money is going, report them to the IRS since this organization is a 501c3. You could also report them to the state that they are incorporated in. I am tired of reading rumors/hearsay on the internet about organizations and how they spend their money. I read about this group and it was all about how it was not a 501c3 and how it was not legal in every state to collect funds. They are a 501c3 according to the IRS website. I have nothing to do with this group-never volunteered or donated but am sick of all the bs that goes on!

      1. It was not that they accused of not being registered as a 501c3, it was that they were not registered in most of the states where they were doing business. That lead to the “reorganization” All that is water under the bridge, yet DDB seems not to have learned from their mistakes. Gotta follow the rules, especially when you are running off other peoples donations.

  21. Most Animal Control people seem to be pompous, ‘good ole boy’ types who like to throw their weight and power around and hurt animal lovers – especially in ‘political’ cases. How many stand up for what they believe?? Very few – they are puppets.

    The article keeps saying ‘kennel’ because the property is/has a kennel, but people who know the place say there were what – 8 dogs? – and they live in the house!!!! Smoke/mirrors and misrepresentation by jerks, is what I say.

  22. This is the first I have heard about these allegations, but I will not take sides. It sounds like a lot of people just don’t like her for her love of and wish to save these animals. I could be wrong, hope I am not. What we DO know is that there is all kinds of batshit crazy people involved in rescue in one way or another, and it seems at times that all these crazies sooner or later find a scapegoat and agenda against one or more rescue(r)s. That may well be the case here. The truth will out whether it be in Tami’s favor or not, and then we will know.

  23. This is a direct result of Shannon Allen and Suzanne Fiala. Just google Shannon Eaton Allen and you’ll see how messed up this former DDB embezzler is. The “Bring Joel Home” group is rejoicing that Jada was taken because Joel was taken from Fiala. They feel it’s just revenge.

    1. I’m not involved with any side of this and I don’t think anyone is rejoicing over anything. There have been questions concerning the finances for quite some time and every time a question has been asked, that person has been ostracized and belittled and the ? never gets answered…why is that? Any legit group answers ?’s about where the money is going..and don’t tell me to request a report from gov’t 501c3 grp- shouldn’t have to do that to get info. I no longer give to anyone who won’t tell me where the money is going.

      1. If you’re not involved on any side than how do you know there have been questions concerning the finances and by whom? I’m betting FaceBook where “rescuers” make chipin’s to collect money for dogs that are posted on fb, not actually in their 501c3 shelter and then “question” where other fb “rescuers” and legitimate rescues’ money is going to try and “legitimize” their own “rescue”. I do my own due diligence when making donations and that does not mean demanding financial answers on social media. I don’t believe legitimate rescues are sharing their finances on fb though you might check Charity Navigator if you’re looking for a charity that has their finances posted on their websites. Bare in mind large corporations that report their finances quarterly to the SEC have been known to cook the books, so giving can be a risk regardless. Beware of buying into the so called rescues on social media. Visit a shelter in your area and try volunteering, maybe you’ll find the answers you’re looking for.

      2. Very simply-because I am in rescue, for many years-independently-only take what I can handle, but I do have several favorite groups that I try to help out when I can. DDB used to be one of those….so, I have donated in the past. And I feel I have a right to know where my money is being spent….is it on the animals. I didn’t ask it on any social media, I didn’t ask for a penny by penny accounting..just a generalized ?, but it seems no matter what, where, when you ask…you become the “enemy” or on somebody’s side in the latest battle. That makes me wonder…and why I donot affiliate with any group. It seems it always ends up in BS and my money and time are better spent on my own. The animals never, ever fight with me!!!

      3. I read a lot of comments on the Ripoff Report website! Many 501c3s do not realize that they need to register in all states. There are some states that require it if you have a donate here button on your website. You might as report all of them!

  24. Dogs Deserve Better is not a group I will ever support. They are very intent on passing anti-chaining legislation, which focuses on banning a tool instead of fixing the actual problem, which is poor education in most instances. Humane education would go a long way, but you don’t see them trying to promote anything like that. The other issue is that punishments for violating the animal cruelty laws are very lenient, and the laws are often poorly enforced in many areas, and simply legislating away the use of a tool will not solve this problem. Neglect and outright abuse should be against the law, but in many places as long as the dog has “food, water and shelter” the owner is within the law.

    Frankly, DDB unsettles me. I mean, check out some of their articles, for example “poor little rich dog”.

    The article singles out dogs who are owned by the middle and upper middle class who got a puppy, failed to train it, don’t properly exercise it, and as a result the dog lives his life in a state of benign neglect. The article actually calls the dogs abused. This article reeks of animal rights rhetoric. The very animal rights movement that sees pet ownership itself as a violation of an animal’s rights (because apparently they are our slaves), the movement that seeks to END pet ownership.

    Nope, don’t trust DDB one bit.

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