The founder of a dog rescue center located where Eagles quarterback Michael Vick once owned a dogfighting compound is facing animal abuse charges.
Tamira Thayne, the executive director of Dogs Deserve Better, opened the Good Newz Rehab Center for Chained and Penned Dogs in Surry, Va., in June 2011. She now faces one count of inadequate care of animals, a Class 4 misdemeanor, and a misdemeanor count of animal cruelty, according to multiple reports.
A search warrant was executed at the premises Monday, and both charges carry fines of up to $1,000 and/or can carry a jail sentence of up to one year.
"This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard in my life," Thayne, who recently returned from her honeymoon in the Caribbean, told The Daily News. "Our dogs are wonderfully taken care. I shouldn't have to fight anything (related to the charges). But I guess I'm going to have to find an attorney for this."
Thayne faces a Sept. 25 hearing in Surry County General District Court on the inadequate care charge.
Vick served 18 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to bankrolling and participating in an interstate dogfighting ring. He owned the 15-acre property in Surry County where the Bad Newz Kennels was located.
Thayne relocated from Philadelphia to the Surry property, which includes a 4,600-square-foot house, last year, and received criticism for using donations for the purchase.
Surry County Chief Animal Control Officer Tracy Terry said she opened an investigation on July 20 after receiving complaints about how Thayne's animals were being treated. However, no animals have been removed from the kennel, which is still open.
Terry said Thayne also has not complied with issues identified by the state veterinarian in order to run a private kennel in the state of Virginia.
Deana Whitfield, a former Dogs Deserve Better employee, told The Daily News she contacted the county animal control office in May, citing concerns that some of the dogs at the compound would get into scuffles that resulted in injuries.