Owner of former Vick home faces cruelty charges
The founder of a dog sanctuary at NFL star Michael Vick’s former
dogfighting compound said Monday that she was shocked to learn that
she faces charges of animal cruelty and inadequate care of
Tamira Thayne said in a telephone interview from her Dogs
Deserve Better operation in Surry County that she read a newspaper
report about the charges, but had neither spoken to authorities nor
been served warrants.
”I know nothing about it,” Thayne said. ”I just got home from
my honeymoon in St. Lucia. Apparently I was abusing dogs while I
Surry County Chief Animal Control Officer Tracy Terry said her
office received complaints that led to an investigation, and the
results prompted her to file the charges Friday. She declined to
say specifically what led to the charges, but said Thayne should
not be surprised.
”There’s certain things I just can’t disclose right now,” the
A hearing is set for Sept. 25 in Surry County General District
Court on the inadequate care charge. No hearing date is set on the
cruelty count. Both charges are misdemeanors.
Thayne insisted she and her employees have done nothing
”We take special pains to make sure our dogs are safe and
happy,” she said. ”They have a great life here. Vick tortured
dogs to death and never once got charged with animal cruelty.
Somebody needs to tell me what the hell is going on here.”
Vick, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, served 18 months in
prison after pleading guilty in federal court to participating in
an interstate dogfighting conspiracy. The enterprise operated out
of his five-bedroom home and 15-acre property in rural Surry
County, which he sold to a developer after he was charged. Thayne’s
organization bought the former Bad Newz Kennels property last year
for about $600,000 and turned it into a sanctuary for dogs that
have been chained and penned.
Terry said Dogs Deserve Better has been operating without state
”The state veterinarian told her in January they were not going
to approve her until she rectified some things,” Terry said.
Thayne said she thought she was in good graces with the
”They told us to do certain things and we did them, and I
haven’t heard from them,” she said. ”To my knowledge, we’ve done
everything they asked us to do.”
Thayne said her facility currently is caring for nine dogs,
including her personal pet. She said they all live in the house,
not out back where Vick and his associates kept dogs penned and
chained and put them through brutal test fights. According to court
papers in the cases of Vick and his codefendants, Vick bankrolled
the operation and joined others in killing some dogs that did not
perform well in the tests.
Since his release from prison in 2009, Vick has worked with the
Humane Society of the United States to stop organized animal
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