‘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. LaurieL

    March 8, 2014 at 1:36 am

    We are watching from Wisconsin. Thoroughly disgusted with the lack of compassion, and lawlessness. This has been going on for far too long. We will not be going away until these dogs are free. For Gods sake, please do the right thing now. We will win. Those dogs will be set free. As long as it takes, we will not go away. You need to do your job. There is no going back.


    March 8, 2014 at 5:35 am

    I am an outraged citizen of Wythe County. This situation needs dealt with immediately. It is unacceptable that law enforcement has let this torture continue so long.

  3. Mary Johnson

    March 8, 2014 at 6:19 am

    I have been following this from Albert Lea,MN.
    This is such a heartbreaking ordeal.
    The Dogs Deserve Better organization is
    doing all they can and need everyone’s support
    to notify the local & state officials involved
    to stop this unacceptable abuse of the Dogs.
    This has been going on way too long and
    these poor dogs deserve a chance at life. I’m
    Praying someone with the authority to do so
    frees these innocent victims.

  4. California

    March 8, 2014 at 7:54 am

    California is watching too!
    Wythe County please take action now to free these dogs.

  5. Pamela Burton

    March 8, 2014 at 9:07 am

    I have called..and spoken to many folks in positions of power in Wyeth-pronounced WAYTH-….Everyone I spoke to made sure I pronounced it correctly….But NO ONE cared to hear about these poor animals shut in the box and covered in Fleas…..Shut in THE DARK….and sprayed with HOUSE FLEA KILLER….Some animals have died in this DUNGEON…and these animals could be rescued and placed in homes….But WAYTH officials are not concerned that their County has become the SECOND Animal Abuse and Neglect Capitol of North America…It’s to bad that WAYTH county is stll so backward as to embrace “The Souths” attitude where animals are concerned….May Be that they will realize that The Eyes of THE WORLD are ON THEM!!!!!…After all-Tourism money speaks loudly…..Who wants to visit an area that allows ANIMAL ABUSE AND NEGLECT on such a scale???

    • NC girl

      March 9, 2014 at 9:06 am

      Please cite the source of the statistic you used. I believe that it is far from being a fact.

    • Elizabeth

      March 9, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      You know…I take serious exception at you making this an issue of “The South”.

      Please don’t visit. We don’t need closed minded people down here that have no idea what they’re talking about.

  6. Kim

    March 8, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Since the first of January. We have been Emailing/calling all officials/government/local new media/CNN, ABC, NBC etc. working to be a voice for the voiceless. We WILL free these deserving dogs. All dogs are human companions and deserve to be in loving homes.

  7. Karen Perrin

    March 8, 2014 at 10:46 am

    We are watching from Ontario Canada..Some body has got to become a hero for these dogs..How can this man,,thwart every ordinance,,living with no sewerage,,no water,,no electricity on land that is not his,,and be allowed to abuse these poor dogs,,some of whom have died from fleas..Please help get these dogs to freedom.

  8. Deb

    March 8, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Calling, e-mailing and networking this disgusting case of abuse daily and I won’t stop until those poor dogs are free! Wythe County Officals all eyes are on you waiting for you to finally do your job!!!!

    New York, the entire country and the world are watching Wythe County, end this now!!!!

  9. Tara Klein

    March 8, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    I am watching from New York!!! I am appalled that the officials in Virginia have done nothing meaningful to resolve this awful situation and improve the lives of those dogs. This is no way for dogs to live. What is it going to take? When are the officials in Wythe County going to take some responsibility and do the right thing?

  10. Elizabeth

    March 8, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Everytime I see the name of this group “Dogs Deserve Better” I say AMEN. Dogs do deserve better than this bunch of ignorant uneducated animal rights extremists whose leader is a convicted felon in PA and charged with animal cruelty in VA. The ideas they have about animal care have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with animal husbandry and none of them have any experience in the care of animals other than owning a pet
    Please state your credentials to offer an opinion on this subject. Where did you train? Do you have a degree in animal husbandry, animal behaviorial science or vet medicine? Do you have experience in dealing with MULTIPLE dogs and where did you get that experience? Owning a dog or two does NOT qualify someone to speak on owning multiple dogs, on the needs of different breeds and on the care and feeding of animals. “Loving dogs” does not make someone an expert on dogs belonging to other people.
    I am always willing to share my credentials. I am a Legislative Liaison to the American Kennel Club, a Delegate to the Virginia Federation of Dog Clubs and a member of the NAIA. I have FORTY NINE years hands-on experience raising, training and showing dogs. I have taken enough classes, workshops, seminars and symposiums to earn at least a Bachelor’s degree and while earning my five college degrees I have taken college classes in biology and genetics. I earned a national certification through NADOI as a dog obedience instructor. I have worked in vet offices, animal shelters, grooming shops and boarding kennels. I HAVE EARNED THE RIGHT TO MY OPINION ON ANIMAL CARE. This is about common sense and experience versus ignorance and emotional appeal. Next step will be them asking for “funds” for their projects. If you want to donate to an organization that works for animals go to http://www.naiaonline.org and you will find a lot of information about the true standards of care for animals.

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