Tamira has stepped down from her position as CEO of Dogs Deserve Better, effective March 2015. Although proud of what she has accomplished for chained dogs and grateful for all those who have joined that mission and will continue in her stead, Tamira now looks forward to her next adventure. View her blog here.
A Varied Career Path Leads to Dog Advocacy
Tamira Thayne, DN, Rev, was labeled the 'animal lover' in the family from an early age growing up on a farm in rural Pennsylvania. This love combined with a deep empathy for dogs—the most social of beings—ostracised to the end of a chain led her to form Dogs Deserve Better, Inc. in the fall of 2002. Ms. Thayne passed the reins of the organization to new leadership in March 2015.
Dogs Deserve Better, a nonprofit dedicated to freeing the chained dogs and bringing them into the home and family, bought Michael Vick's former dogfighting compound in Smithfield, Virginia, in 2011 and has been transforming it to the Good Newz Rehab Center for Chained and Penned Dogs.
Through her work for chained dogs, Tamira has suffered greatly in her quest to bring them freedom, but only a fraction as much as the dogs suffer. She has spent 877 hours chained to doghouses in front of State Capitols and other locations educating and advocating for better laws; she has spoken at over 75 venues nationwide about the issue and how we can be better friends to those who depend on us for their very existence; she has been arrested four times for helping dogs left in deplorable conditions and sometimes so ill they were unable to stand.
In 2012, Tamira was falsely charged with animal cruelty by Surry County, Virginia authorities in an attempt to destroy her reputation and force her and her organization from the former Vick property. The DA? The very same commonwealth attorney who let Vick walk from all cruelty charges, despite Vick's own confession of the horrors inflicted on dogs who were poor fighters.
Thankfully, Surry County's attempt was unsuccessful; the judge declaring "there is a very clear lack of evidence of abuse." Thayne then spent 30 days in a hunger strike on the courthouse lawn across from the Commonwealth Attorney's office to gain justice in a corrupt system. She collapsed on Day 30 and was hospitalized for two days due to systemic acidosis brought on by starvation.
Surry County settled a lawsuit brought by Tamira and Dogs Deserve Better for their smear tactics for an undisclosed amount in August 2015. Read the release here.
During the past thirteen years, Tamira has herself rescued and rehabilitated over 250 formerly chained and penned dogs; her organization, over 3000. The dog pictured above, Banshee, became one of her favorites, and he loved her with a fierceness she still misses to this day. He died of lung cancer in late 2010. Watch the video of his last fetch here.