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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