‘Dogs Deserve Better’ protests in Wytheville




A group of animal rights activists has been occupying the space outside of the Wythe County Administration Building this week in an effort to raise awareness about local animal abuse.

The group, called “Dogs Deserve Better,” is acting on a specific case in Wytheville they came across in 2012, which, two years later, has yet to be resolved. The group’s founder, Tamira Thayne, has been enduring cold temperatures to protest since Monday, with plans to continue through the end of the week.

Thayne started the organization in 2002, after living next to an abusive dog owner in her hometown. According to Thayne, “Dogs Deserve Better” works for chained and penned dogs to bring them into the home and with their families.

“I couldn’t stand the fact that this is all he had for his life and I couldn’t believe it was legal, so I decided to take a stand against it, and I formed the organization,” said Thayne.

Although the group usually tackles smaller cases across the country, the case in Wytheville is an example of larger scale cases that they are starting to work with.

During her time holding a sign outside of the Administration Building, Thayne has gained followers, some local, as well as some from other states. Thayne, who now lives in Northern Virginia, came down to achieve justice for 11 dogs being kept in a small wooden box on their owner’s property, which she said is a clear sign of neglect.

According to Thayne, their continued abuse is something that could have ended when she first discovered them two years ago.

“Really, they should’ve been seized two years ago when they were found completely covered in fleas,” said Thayne. “Local officials really failed those dogs at that point in time.”

At first, the county called on the local humane society to give the dogs a flea bath, but according to Thayne, they never went any further.

“I feel from talking to the local humane society that they were prepared at that time to get all those dogs out of there, but they were not allowed to, and the local animal control did not do their jobs in our opinion,” said Thayne.

When Thayne returned, she took video evidence of the dogs in their undersized crates, and used that to get the movement going again. Originally the owner had 12 dogs, although one died due to a flea related illness, which, according to Thayne, is a result of their living conditions.

After Thayne first found the dogs in their repugnant living conditions, she confronted the owner, asking him to bring them inside, and even questioning if he’d be willing to give them up to a rescue group. She also said that he’s been known to threaten people who have tried to take his dogs, although he didn’t threaten Thayne directly when she came to assess the situation.

“I assumed he knew I would come down on the opposite side of him at some point, but only if he’s able to understand that,” said Thayne. “We’re not sure about his mental capacity at this point.”

Thayne plans on continuing to protest until the end of the week, and her ultimate goal is to free the dogs and get them into new homes. She also said that in this case, and all abuse cases in general, they are fighting against the property mentality that neglectful dog owners seem to have.

“By law, they are property, but they are beings with feelings, and needs – emotional needs especially – that are not being met,” said Thayne.

At this point, their movement and success is all about power in numbers to persuade the county to take action.

“We’re hoping for more protesters, and we’re hoping for a positive outcome for these dogs, they’ve suffered long enough,” said Thayne. “In these cases, until people start really taking a stand, this is going to continue. We can’t be the only one’s doing that, we need everybody.”



115 Responses to ‘Dogs Deserve Better’ protests in Wytheville

  1. R Belsher

    March 6, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    May Thayne and her organization have power, strength, perseverance and success.

  2. Maxine Covington

    March 7, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Thank you for the work you are doing for these dogs. I have called and e-mailed the officials of Wythe County to no avail. They have ignored all requests that have sent them. I believe that they are elected officials who need to listen to the voters.
    Yesterday I contacted WRIC Channel 8 in Richmond to see if they would come out and do a story on this. This is a clear cut case of animal abuse!
    I understand that the “owner” of these dogs is a squatter (in litigation now) and has no running water or electricity in his house, which I believe violates housing requirements.
    Do these poor animals have to die before Wythe Co. takes a stand and does the jobs they were elected to do.

    • Linda Reis

      March 7, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      please send me the phn numbers. I have a few cents worth to add to these ‘officials’.

  3. Leslie Prescott

    March 7, 2014 at 11:11 am

    I am so thankful for these wonderful people fighting for the rights of these helpless dogs. Shame on the locals for allowing this to go on. God bless you Dogs Deserve Better!

  4. Ruthann Strother

    March 7, 2014 at 11:40 am

    I wonder where the Humane Society is on this and
    what else they plan to do.
    This is an example of local government supporting the status quo no matter how morally wrong it is.
    I hope that more local people will get out and support the protesters.
    Call, write letters, and yes, picket!

  5. Linda

    March 7, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    You ladies rock. I would be with you if I didn’t live so far away. These dogs need to get out of that hell hole.

  6. Mare Horton

    March 7, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    NY is watching. Sad.

  7. cf

    March 7, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    The world is watching you Wythe Co.!!!

  8. Robin Kaiser

    March 7, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Keep fighting for these dogs! They deserve a better life!

  9. Diane Ashley

    March 7, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    The County officials are failing to fulfill their obligations and are turning a blind eye to this situation. They have ignored e mails and calls made to their office, they have blocked comments from their page and they are making false statements to the press. They claim they have no documentation regarding their visits to this property – so how does anyone know if they EVER visited this property? This case needs national attention and someone from the media should take a ride out to the property and view the horrendous condition under which these dogs are being forced to live. Free these dogs Now!

  10. Darlene

    March 7, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    You guys are all rock stars and I can not believe or understand how the dogs are not out of there. I wish so much that I could be there with you, holding a sign and supporting those poor babies. Stay safe and don’t give up.

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