I was hospitalized on Day 30 of my Hunger Strike

12 needle jabs, five bruises, two IVs (three attempts), and 2 days stay in a hospital later has found me recuperating at my home in Central Virginia with husband Joe, our dog Sloan, and cats Mitsi, Tuna, and foster kitty Princess Vivian.

If you have no clue what is going on or why I ended up here, go to http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/surrycounty.html to find out more.

On days 29 of my Hunger Strike for Justice in Surry County, VA, I started to feel really sick—nauseous, lethargic, uneasy, and couldn’t sleep. I wanted to crawl out of my skin, and kept feeling like I had to throw up, but didn’t want to because I knew it would be all acid. I had been doing some veggie broth 4-5 times a week previously, but had cut that off the week before, dropping down to just water. I had also cut out any and all vitamin waters and vitamins of any sort in the same week.

My husband Joe was spending the day in support of my efforts on the courthouse lawn in Surry, across from Commonwealth Attorney Poindexter’s office. The day was sunny and warm, and between my feeling ill already and walking in the hot sun, I ending up collapsing around 4:00 p.m.

Earlier in the day

Earlier in the day

protest3lo

protest5lo

A couple hours before I collapsed, I started choking and threw up what little water I had in my system. I would later learn this was because I had metabolic acidosis.

A couple hours before I collapsed, I started choking and threw up what little water I had in my system. I would later learn this was because I had metabolic acidosis.

 

After I collapsed, Joe called 911. A supporter who stopped by took video from which I obtained these photos

After I collapsed, Joe called 911. A supporter who had stopped by took video from which I obtained these photos

Taken to the ambulance

Taken to the ambulance

In the hospital awaiting test results

In the hospital awaiting test results

When I first collapsed, I was diagnosed with a weak, high heartbeat, very low blood pressure, heat exhaustion, and dehydration. Upon further examination at John Randolph Hospital in Hopewell, Va it was determined that I had metabolic acidosis, which is what had me throwing up and kept me hospitalized for two days while they sought to reestablish my ph levels in the body.

At the urging of my doctors, family, friends, and supporters, I began eating again on Day 31 in order to regain health to my body.

Considerable progress was made toward justice during this hunger strike, and this is NOT the time to give up! Please continue to sign and pass along the petition, and write to the people listed on our page.

There is no reason on God’s Green Earth that ANY citizen should have to go to the levels I had to go to to seek the justice which is mine and my organization’s by right.

County administrator Tyrone Franklin assured our emissary that he would do all in his power to bring about a favorable outcome to this situation, and Commonwealth Attorney Gerald Poindexter called DDB Director of Operations Mark Hyre about coming to a resolution.

Please, keep up the pressure! Not only do Dogs Deserve Better, but in Surry County, the people who work for these dogs do as well.

I want to thank everything who supported me throughout what I would describe as the hardest time of my life. Your encouragement, your kindness, and even your pleas to make me stop touched me and let me know there are people out there who care about justice and who care about moral right and wrong. I appreciate you.

I will be writing more in the coming week as I have time to sit back and think about all that has happened, but I wanted to let you know that I am doing better and I should be back at full strength soon.

Please, write to the people listed on our page at http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/surrycounty.html, and sign our petition at http://www.change.org/petitions/gerald-g-poindexter-attorney-surry-va-end-harassment-of-dog-activist-do-your-job-or-recuse-yourself

Dogs Deserve Better and myself can get a positive resolution and be allowed to rescue dogs and help the community without harassment! Help me get there today.

Tami

Sign created by DDB employees for my return from the hospital

Sign created by DDB employees for my return from the hospital

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OK, I finally feel really bad

Today is Day 30 of my Hunger Strike in Surry County, VA.

I had an idea for a blog today, but instead I have to just say that I feel really bad. It started on Monday, and by last night, I couldn’t even sleep I felt so horrible.

I am nauseous and weak, and I feel like I need to throw up all the time, but I don’t want to because it will be just stomach acid.

Yesterday I wondered if I had a heart attack, because my chest felt tight and my left arm was weak, but I think it was just because I’m left handed and was holding the sign more with that arm. At least I hope so.

Oddly enough last night I got a call from one of my best high school friends who told me she had a heart attack three days ago. She was very emotionally distraught over it, as anyone would be, and she was alone and driving at the time. Luckily she recognized it and called 911. We haven’t seen each other in so long, but I’m so glad she made it out ok, and it really makes one think about the whole aging process. She is only 48.

My husband came down for two days to see me, and I tossed and turned most of the night, finally getting up to throw up around 3:00 a.m. I was right, it was horrible, but after that I was at least able to sleep for three hours.

Obviously, my family and friends are growing increasingly distressed, and I feel sad about it. I cannot bear to see them suffer on my behalf.

I will be back out there today, and we will see how it goes. If you don’t hear from me, it’s probably because I’m too sick to write.

I don’t know the outcome of what I’ve been doing, and I pray daily for justice. Sometimes that’s all you can do.

Once again, to read about the cases and see the evidence, visit http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/surrycounty.html

To sign our petition, please visit this link: http://www.change.org/petitions/gerald-g-poindexter-attorney-surry-va-end-harassment-of-dog-activist-do-your-job-or-recuse-yourself

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Two Surry County Guys Actually Thanked Me

Yesterday was a rainy day in Surry County, Va, but I was still out there with my signs, and volunteer Will came out with me and we got more active in our protest.

If you don’t know the background of the hunger strike for Surry County justice, read about it here: http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/surrycounty.html

Day 28 had some pretty crazy rain storms

Day 28 had some pretty crazy rain storms

I got more active with my sign, but only while Will was there, in case I went down

I got more active with my sign, but only while Will was there, in case I went down

Will has the enthusiasm for justice that only the youth can bring to the table!

Will has the enthusiasm for justice that only the youth can bring to the table!

On Friday, I was touched and thankful for two different men who came up to me. The first came bearing two big bottles of water, and said “I’ve been seeing you out here daily, and I just wanted to thank you for standing up to the corruption that has run rampant in Surry County for years and years. A lot of us talk about it, we complain about it, but you are out here trying to do something about it, and I wanted to thank you for that.”

Aw! I almost cried. So many people drive by, acting like they don’t see me, I feel like I’m getting nowhere with any government officials, but at least SOME of the local people are happy to see someone taking a stand.

I guess you have to start somewhere.

A few people have told me that they are afraid to come and talk to me because they are afraid that they too will get a target on their backs just from talking to me.

One guy came up, gave me a slip of paper with his phone number on it, and told me to call him while he stood a block away so that Poindexter wouldn’t see him talking to me!

Weird and really kinda scary. And there I sit each day for 28 days, openly opposing what I see is intensely wrong corruption in the county authorities.

Another guy came up and asked if he could get me anything, and said pretty much the same thing, that he appreciated me taking the stand. He said that one of his friends has been harassed for 20 years and has been doing nothing wrong but it continues to this day.

I don’t know the outcome of what I’ve been doing, and I pray daily for justice. Sometimes that’s all you can do.

Once again, to read about the cases and see the evidence, visit http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/surrycounty.html

To sign our petition, please visit this link: http://www.change.org/petitions/gerald-g-poindexter-attorney-surry-va-end-harassment-of-dog-activist-do-your-job-or-recuse-yourself

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He Thinks It’s Sufficient?

When I post my blog, there are always folks who don’t understand it, because they are just coming into the blog and reading it on the net. To get a feel for what is going on if you’re new to my hunger strike and fight for justice in Surry County, VA, visit this link: http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/surrycounty.html

This blog addresses parts of the cases I’m protesting, or the activities that are going on during my hunger strike, which today hits Day 25.

Healthwise I’m still not doing so badly. I have lost about 25 lbs., which is a good thing, but not a fun way to do it, if there is such a thing as a fun way to do it. I am weak and have a lot of headaches, and admittedly I get pretty grumpy about not having any food…but those things are part and parcel of this kind of protest.

I am beginning to be harassed by a man where I am sitting, the first day he just came up and told me that I was not part of this community, that we didn’t pay for this property (yes, we certainly did, thanks to our donors and bequests it is paid in full), and that people were tight knit here and I just needed to leave.

He also told me that dogs were not important, only people were.

Yesterday he repeated the same in person, only more belligerently, then he went across the street to the store and kept yelling at me and waving his arms and pointing at me and repeating his comments to others that were going into the store.

If he did anything to physically harm me, I seriously doubt help for me would be forthcoming. If one is going to take a stand, I guess one has to expect to be harassed for it.

I’m a big fan of the suffragist movement, and have been reading books on Alice Paul, one of the driving forces in getting the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote after decades of women fighting for this basic right. What these poor women suffered in the name of equal rights was just so staggering, so incredible, and so commendable, that I cannot and should not complain about what I suffer for this small piece of justice.

Which brings me to a comment that the county attorney, Mr. Hefty (not Poindexter) made in the hearing to win Jada back about their evidence (or lack thereof).

He told the judge at the wrap up portion “I think it’s sufficient.”

thinkitssufficient

I have to say, I almost laughed out loud at that point. Tracy Terry claimed there were ‘marks that had healed’ and ‘eyes appeared watery and red’, and that is sufficient evidence to seize a dog?

IN WHAT UNIVERSE?

What dog in the world doesn’t have marks that have healed? Every dog is like a child…they hurt themselves, they do all kind of things, they have accidents. That certainly is not evidence 99% of the time that they are being cruelly treated by anyone.

Tracy Terry also admitted that the photos of Jada that day she was seized were true evidence. Like the judge, you will not see ONE mark on her…and the fact that her eyes are ‘watery and red’ is also highly debatable and certainly no indication that she is being tortured daily.

tracyterryphotos

Think about it. Many of you have dogs that are older and are certainly not in the great shape that Jada is in these photos. How would you like it if Animal Control came to your house and seized your perfectly healthy dog based on the lies of another individual and a couple generic statements to make it somehow palatable to seize a perfectly healthy dog (without a warrant at that?)

It’s beyond my comprehension that this is allowed to go on in this or any other county in America. Just beyond my comprehension.

This was how Jada looked the day she was seized.

This was how Jada looked the day she was seized.

jadaseized2jadaseized3

No, Mr. Hefty, IT’S NOT SUFFICIENT. Not in Surry County, not anywhere else in the world. To seize a dog who looks like Jada is never sufficient, unless you have some mighty fine evidence to show just cause. And you didn’t and you still don’t.

On the bright side, we got our sign installed yesterday! We are very grateful our donor, Caroline C., who gave the money for the sign after she drove to see us and couldn’t find us. We love, love, love it! We hope you do too. Come see us.

The new sign at the Good Newz Rehab Center. It's happy!

The new sign at the Good Newz Rehab Center. It’s happy!

To see our evidence in this fight for justice, visit our page at http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/surrycounty.html

Please sign our petition too at http://www.change.org/petitions/gerald-g-poindexter-attorney-surry-va-end-harassment-of-dog-activist-do-your-job-or-recuse-yourself

Thank you!

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I Feel Like I’m in the Twilight Zone

Yesterday I was sitting there on the Commonwealth lawn, and Poindexter comes out of his office trailing Tracy Terry behind him. He says “Come on, let’s go talk to her.”

“Here we go” I think to myself.

He tells me to come into his office to review the case file on the embezzling charge. I say ok. He hands me the letter (the first page only) of the state police woman’s synopsis of the case, and he says, “See, there’s no embezzling there.”

I point to the figure she has ON the VERY FIRST PAGE of the letter, in the amount of $1006.22. I tell him it’s right there.

He grabs the paper back from me, and starts calling me a liar. Over and over he calls me a liar, and then he again tells me to go into his office to review the case file.

So I do.

It has these figures in it, the same figures he copied and gave to me on May 9. The figures don’t change. The state police officer, a cpa, spent a lot of time putting the case together. They don’t do that if there’s no case. She had it neatly laid out in a binder, but Poindexter obviously hasn’t read ANY of the case.

He certainly doesn’t understand it, either by his own wishful thinking or malevolence.

He continues to insist that there was no money taken from the organization through her paycheck, which is patently false, and the investigation by the officer proves it. Apparently he’s calling the investigating officer a liar as well, then, because she clearly shows a loss to the organization of $1006.22.

Felony embezzling is anything over $200.00.

I can’t imagine why we are even having this conversation. I truly feel like I’ve stepped into some alternate reality where facts before me are not facts and Poindexter is insistent that I don’t believe the facts that I know to be true.

The conversation escalates to yelling as he continues to maintain that nothing was taken and I point out that even her last pay is enough for a charge of felony embezzling because it shows an amount of $370.52 over what she was entitled in and of itself.

He tells me someone else paid her that, not her. That, again, is untrue, and he would know that if he read the case file the officer painstakingly put together for him.

Not only that, but from a logical standpoint, why on earth would anyone else deliberately pay someone else over and not themselves? That makes no sense whatsoever.

He finally throws me out of his office, saying he hoped I could see reason, but I’m obviously incapable of it.

What a bizarre experience.

Maybe Poindexter needs some new glasses? If you have any you don’t need, he might could use some.

Gerald G. Poindexter
Commonwealth’s Attorney
P. O. Box 358
Surry, VA 23883 
Phone:   (757) 294-3118
Fax:       (757) 294-3560
 
Contact Gerald Poindexter from this form, tell him you’ve seen the evidence that the officer gave him, and he either needs to charge or recuse himself from the case if he can’t do his job or understand the case file that the officer provided. Thank you!
 
http://www.surrycountyva.gov/departments/contact/commonwealths-attorney
 
This is the paper I was given May 9, and it shows the officers calculations. Money had to be backed out of what was missing because when she initially added extra hours, she used the wrong hourly wage, so then later when we investigated that was added back into the figures.

This is the paper I was given May 9, and it shows the officers calculations. Money had to be backed out of what was missing because when she initially added extra hours, she used the wrong hourly wage to calculate it, so then later when we investigated that was added back into the figures, making the final amount taken less than it initially appears. However, as you can see, the final paycheck alone is enough for a felony charge.

Make no mistake about it, Dogs Deserve Better initially just asked her to give the money back and did not want to press charges. We just wanted it over and done with. It’s very disappointing for a nonprofit to have people come in and take advantage of our trust in this way.

However, she refused to even acknowledge that she took the money, and instead framed me for cruelty in order to take the heat off her.

It has worked. It’s a real shame that we live in a world where those who commit crimes are not charged and those who do nothing wrong are drug through the mud.

I want justice for myself, my organization, and what has been taken from us.

It’s very hard for me to believe that Poindexter doesn’t have anyone he is accountable to for his actions. How can this be?

To see all the evidence, visit our page at http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/surrycounty.html.

Please write to the people listed on the page and then sign our petition for justice. Thank you.

 

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The Moral and Ethical Obligations of an Animal Control Officer

I got to sit alongside the river by my home this weekend. It is so peaceful.

I got to sit alongside the river by my home this weekend. It is so peaceful.

Animal control officers face moral and ethical obligations when in the line of duty, just like other officers of the law do.

Surry County ACO Tracy Terry is no exception.

In fact, I would argue that an Animal Control Officer has an even GREATER moral and ethical responsibility to ensure she is 100% sure of her facts and evidence when arresting someone from a nonprofit who works to save dogs, to avoid doing irreparable damage to the reputation of an innocent person and organization.

Unless, of course, that’s the entire point of the thing.

I’ve been told by those who call Tracy Terry for help on a regular basis that her modus operandi, like most animal control officers, is to go out and talk to the people, let them know where they are breaking the law, and give them a chance to fix it before taking any action.

And that often, the aspects of the law that are being broken are not even addressed by the dog owner, and still nothing happens.

Why, then, did ACO Tracy Terry skip all her usual steps in my arrest, and why, then, did she arrrest me without sufficient evidence to say BOO with?

Why is she totally dependent on the testimony of a witness who refuses to show up for a hearing?

These are the questions that need to be posed to her boss, Tyrone, Franklin, Surry County Administrator.

Tracy Terry is and was under an intense moral obligation to be sure of her facts before arresting me. She failed to do so. Not only that, but she illegally seized a VERY healthy dog without listing her on a warrant.

This should be enough for cause for immediately dismissal from her position with Surry County as Animal Control director.

Tyrone W. Franklin (click here to e-mail)
Surry County Administrator
P. O. Box 65
Surry,Virginia 23883
Phone:  (757) 294-5271
Fax:      (757) 294-5204

Tyrone Franklin had a discussion with a supporter yesterday, in which he said “If Ms Thayne is innocent, why is she not just bringing her ten witnesses to court to prove her innocence?”

Mr. Franklin, that has already been done. Twice. I brought ten witnesses to the first hearing and got our dog back, the judge stating there was a ‘very clear lack of evidence of abuse.’ That did not stop your officer, and at a time when she should have clearly known to drop all the false charges against me, she continued to pursue them.

I brought my ten witnesses to a hearing in March, which included an AC expert witness and a vet. Again, your witness failed to show up. Being dependent on the testimony of a witness who doesn’t want to come to court to lie is your officer’s failing. An officer MUST HAVE PHYSICAL evidence of abuse, not depend on the very questionable testimony of an individual.

Instead of doing the right thing, again, and dropping all charges, they chose to nolle prosse so they could hang the false allegations over my head longer.

This is unacceptable. I am innocent, and I deserve that fact to be known to all.

Mr. Franklin is also under the mistaken impression that the state police said there was not enough evidence to charge Deana Whitfield with embezzlement. This is false. The state police officer believed there was enough evidence and wrote up the charges and put them into Poindexter’s hands to put forward. He has refused to do so and refused to recuse himself from a case he should not be involved in.

I’m asking everyone today to write to ACO Tracy Terry’s boss, Tyrone Franklin, and insist on an immediate investigation into her activities with regard to Dogs Deserve Better.

He needs to know the following: 1. His officer seized a dog illegally without listing her on a search warrant. This is ACO101 stuff. Why did she do it? 2. His officer seized a beautiful and healthy dog without any justification. 3. His officer has no physical evidence of abuse and no just cause to arrest, did not bring a vet to court to testify about the dog’s health because we guarantee you the vet said she was perfectly healthy. Instead, DDB is the one who brought a vet to court who has been to our facility over a dozen times by now. 4. His officer had a moral and ethical obligation to have just cause before arresting Tamira Thayne, and that cause MUST show dogs that are injured or abused as a result of her actions. She failed in this basic tenet of animal control work. 5. Since DDB has dog caretakers on staff, if there were abuse going on, why would it not have been the one caring for the dog who was arrested? If Andrea Wheeler is claiming there is abuse while she is at work, yet she’s the one caring for the dogs, should she not be arrested herself instead? 6. His officer never laid eyes on Tamira Thayne before the day she arrested her. How does she even place her at the scene of the crime? 7. Why did his officer show up only while Ms. Thayne was on vacation? 8. Are the dogs at the AC in Surry not caged 24/7? Why then is she questioning the amount of time dogs at DDB live caged? Why is she not questioning the amount of time that other county dogs live caged? If there is a law stating how long a dog may be caged, that would be beneficial to DDB’s work. We’d like to see this law. We guarantee you our dogs spend less than 1/2 the time in a cage that the AC’s dogs do. Not only that, but our dogs RUN twice a day in a field, and spend time outside in fenced yards daily. Any feces accidents are cleaned up immediately upon discovery. No exception.

Please click the link and tell Mr. Franklin that his officer must immediately be held accountable and immediately investigated for her actions. Copy and paste the points above so Mr. Franklin knows what areas he needs to investigate. Thank you.

Tyrone W. Franklin (click here to e-mail)
Surry County Administrator
P. O. Box 65
Surry,Virginia 23883
Phone:  (757) 294-5271
Fax:      (757) 294-5204

If you have not done so, please sign our petition on my behalf: http://www.change.org/petitions/gerald-g-poindexter-attorney-surry-va-end-harassment-of-dog-activist-do-your-job-or-recuse-yourself

If you want to see all the evidence for yourself, visit this link: http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/surrycounty.html

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Come Visit the Good Newz Rehab Center and See for Yourself

As I enter Day 18 and a holiday weekend, I find myself thinking a lot about a comment that Poindexter made to the supporter who spoke to him via phone.

He told her the conditions at the Good Newz Rehab Center were horrible.

How would he know? Has he ever been here? NO.

Whose word is he taking for that? The ‘informant’? Of course.

LET’S. SEE. YOUR. EVIDENCE.

This is only more proof that Gerald Poindexter is ANYTHING but unbiased, and should have no right under the law to make any decisions on an embezzling case against the former employee and his informant.

I 100% guarantee you conditions here are 100% BETTER than the pound in Surry County under ACO Tracy Terry. Guarantee it.

Not only that, but I’m 100% sure Poindexter did not give a hoot what the conditions were like at self-confessed dogfighter Benny Butt’s place when he asked the judge to return all 33 malnourished pitbulls in 1999.

And I’m 100% sure he didn’t give a hoot what Michael Vick’s dogs lived like, chained to doghouses in the field, hidden in the black sheds for any that had unexplained injuries.

But suddenly he insists the 12 dogs here at the Good Newz Rehab Center are uncared for?

LET’S. SEE. YOUR. EVIDENCE.

Given that we had 10-12 dogs the day they came and seized Jada illegally without listing her on a search warrant, and Jada was the ONLY dog they seized, reason would tell you she had to be in the worst condition of them all.

But photos don’t lie, and no dog gets muscles and a shiny coat like Jada’s from sitting in a cage 20 hours a day. The judge said “Give her back.” No question about it.

Many volunteers have come and stayed overnight and worked with our caretakers and our dogs. Many people have stopped by for a visit and to see the facility. Every single one of them has raved about what we are doing and applauded our efforts for the dogs.

We have nothing to hide, and we invite anyone to come here and see us and our dogs and see how they live.

Below are photos of our fencing progress as of yesterday. They are slated to be finished by today, and then we will have four dog yards, as we are keeping one with the welded wire fencing until we can build our addition. What fun for our dogs!

You can still sponsor a fencing panel at http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/vinylfencing.html

Fencing complete front and side

Fencing complete front and side

What will be our largest and new fenced area, great place to fun and play!

What will be our largest and new fenced area, great place to run and play!

Jada runs with George in the field, spring 2012

Jada runs with George in the field, spring 2012

Jada runs out front with other dogs

Jada runs out front with other dogs

This is a great shot of Jada running in the field. This is how she gets her beautiful muscle tone

This is a great shot of Jada running in the field. This is how she gets her beautiful muscle tone

Sitting in a cage 20 hours a day? I don't think so.

Sitting in a cage 20 hours a day? I don’t think so.

I wish everyone out there a wonderful holiday and I remember all those who gave their lives so I can have the freedom of speech that I am now exercising. Thank you.

To all my service friends and compatriots, I love you all. Have a good weekend.

Tami

P.S. To review the timeline and all case evidence, visit this page: http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/surrycounty.html

To sign our petition demanding justice according to the law in Surry County, VA, visit this link: http://www.change.org/petitions/gerald-g-poindexter-attorney-surry-va-end-harassment-of-dog-activist-do-your-job-or-recuse-yourself

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