Dog Rescue: Cat fight

Update: Sad news… not only has there been a lawsuit with allegations of a stolen dog, but now the organization’s leader, Tamira Thayne, is being accused of misappropriation of funds and other illegal actions. She has been living on the property. There were 150 rescue reps around the country, now there are 25. Shannon Allen, the national rescue coordinator just quit.  And now it seems that the Good Newz Rehab Center is a bust, going belly up.  And who suffers the most, the dogs who DO DESERVE SO MUCH BETTER.,0,2898847.story


ok, another dog fight has turned into a cat fight… she said vs she said… when the dog poop hits the fan it stinks up the whole entire house … Patrick’s custody battle was settled by a Judge’s verdict … but here I am right smack in the middle of a different situation.  On the one hand, I think with all of the many animals who need homes it seems crazy for people to be fighting over the custody of any one pet. And yet as an animal owner, I know how bonded and attached one gets to a pet. And the more I learn about the situation, the worse it gets.

Ladies, can we please resolve this situation peaceably. Cici’s plea.

With mixed feelings here we go:

It started off innocently enough… someone asked me what I was doing about a situation and I had no idea since I did not know there was a situation…

since I had just interviewed the person that they were asking questions from (and not getting any answers) I offered naively to send the questions directly to the source.

Shocked and appalled I received a very unprofessional, to say the least, answer.

here are the questions:

do not know a thing about this situation in Washington Dogs Deserve Better, a friend is asking questions, see below, can u let me know the answers thanks.

I just found out the story about Joel on Bring Joel Home that your organization took him away from his new owner. Why did you do that? Is Joel still alive? What was your rationale? What are you doing to resolve this horrible issue and the trauma it clearly would cause Joel… who was brought back to life by Dr. Suzanne Fiala. Please explain how this was in the best interest of Joel, which should be your only concern.. the well being of the animal? I am shocked and would greatly appreciate answers. Thank you for honoring your mission of caring about animals.

here is the answer:

Oh, Jesus, yes he’s alive and in a good home…here’s an article written by the good doctor...

That might explain a bit of the drama. She changed our adoption contract to say she could pen him, and she made other changes too…so we pulled him and put him in another foster home.

How does sending a link to an article about someone’s mental health eight years ago answer the  questions about taking a dog away from a Doctor who fostered a near death animal back to health and who was in the process of adopting him????

the back story

the entire sad tale from start to finish on CNN:  Animal Rescuers Gone Wrong

One comment of many that I have read sums it up:  No, the drama is because they were responsible for a death of a dog and Dr. Fiala confronted them. A few hours after they were called out for being the cause of a dog’s death, they yanked Joel. Very disturbing, political, and wrong.

Joel was a starving pitbull similar to Patrick prior to being placed in the home of Dr. Suzanne Fiala after which he grew healthy, and in the process was adopted. Shortly after settling in, Joel was taken from Suzanne and her family by the very agency that “rescued” him.

The answer to me seemed below the belt. I have since written back and asked for another reply, answers to questions and suggested DDB get a grip with so much on the line and so far received two responses.

1. They were not responsible for the death of a dog. That’s all lies based on her need for drama and destruction. Joel is in a safe, drama-free home, where he will remain.

2. As the case is in litigation, that’s all I am authorized to say by our attorney. You can post what you’d like. We are a great group and we work very hard for chained dogs. No, we are not perfect. No one is. But we made the right decision in this case, and we will not be going back on that decision.

Now that she has managed to destroy those who wanted to help chained dogs in Seattle, there is no help there for the dogs.

I will continue to help chained dogs to the best of my ability. If people don’t like that, then they may stop asking us for help and deal with it themselves. Simple enough.

Blaming Dr. Suzanne publicly without answering questions

DDB put the link to the article, adoption contract and a note online on their Facebook page which showed Dr. Suzanne’s personal info. WHAT, Seriously?

Photos from DDB Statement regarding Suzanne Fiala and Joel in Washington State  (Note: Cici and I have jpgs evidence)

wanted to post a photo of Joel from DDB site but have not been able to do so but here is one page of the adoption contract where DDB says Dr. Suzanne made changes to it…

WHY NOT COME CLEAN AND ANSWER QUESTIONS????  Instead DDB is banning and deleting comments asking questions ala you know who instead of answering.  Deja blue.

Seems to Cici that Dogs Deserve Better has A LOT AT STAKE HERE and are putting THEIR ENTIRE ORGANIZATION AND REPUTATION on the line by behaving badly making animal advocates question THEIR involvement with DDB.

Since DDB is raising HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS and wants to raise MILLIONS to purchase and renovate the Michael Vick property, is planning to open in July and is doing tons of PR in order to fundraise, this situation has given me and many pause, to say the least.  I have to speak out especially since I just interviewed the founder, Tamira Thayne and have given her group PR on this blog.   I know how overwhelming it can be to do publicity and to do a HUGE project. Not an excuse for bad behavior, just a context. I guess this would be one way to bail. Not wise nor professional in any way. And who gets to suffer? The doggies.

As it is plenty of people have had reservations about the project. Since dogs sniff with their noses, they will be able to smell what happened on the property, the blood, carcasses of dead dogs, and so on, I won’t go into the gore and graphics. For the story, read the Lost Dogs book by Jim Gorant. How will dogs respond to that negative energy and vibes?  Certainly, NONE of the former v-dogs will EVER go back there to revisit their horrendous past. And frankly, I was invited to go there but I declined. I would not bring Cici there and subject her and myself to that. Still, I gave Tamira and the project the benefit of the doubt. But color Cici and I appalled beyond belief now that we are hearing about this situation. So imagine how others are feeling, too.

DDB seems to be stonewalling and it is not going well…

from Dogs Deserve Better
This page is reserved for FANS of Dogs Deserve Better. All those interested in hearing our side of of the Joel story are welcome to visit our notes page. This is all that we are at liberty to post at this time. The story will be told in its entirety once the the legal proceedings are over.

the DDB Washington chapter was closed a few days ago.  They were running as an unregistered NPO. That begs the question of what was being done with the donations and what other compliance issues there may have been. If DDB Washington was not registered with the Secretary of State in Washington, yet running as an NPO and have shut their doors, what happened to the donations?  Is the Attorney General looking into this?  What about the rescued animals? where are they and what happens to them?

Other comments:

This public “dog fight”, will ruin DDB’s reputation if not destroy the organization…

Every day animal rescues and groups are shut down because of pettiness and infighting. Dogs lose. Volunteers lose. Everyone loses. Lose lose lose.

The razor’s edge of having power, influence, arrogance without the character and integrity to manage such responsibility.

am very disturbed at the possibility that someone’s treatment for a medical problem is in any way being held against them, or published to others. This in no way answers the questions being asked and goes back to the dark ages when mental illness was stigmatized…

What saddens me the most is this puts all their state chapters at risk of losing credibility.  now you start to question the group as a whole and I hope DDB central is realizing the damage they are doing to the entire group.

It is now eight weeks since Joel was taken. If he is happy and healthy, perhaps he should stay where he is. But there are other concerns and questions.

The way you are handling this issue with Joel is sad, and your actions and non-answers are tarnishing your own name. You have done so much good and achieved so much.  Please reconsider and come to an amicable settlement in this case. For Joel’s sake and for all the people who have supported you over the years. Our reputation, at the end of the day is all we have. Do not tarnish yours any further.

What a shame. Fosters or potential fosters will think twice, donors – like I am… will really think twice and wonder where will the money will go…

A petition to Bring Joel Home was started.

Open letter to Ms. Tamira Ci Thayne and Dogs Deserve Better

From Suzanne J. Fiala, MD

Dear Ms. Thayne,

I have followed your postings regarding the increasing pressure to hold yourselves accountable regarding the taking of Joel and your questionable activities, with interest. As you and I both know, there are many dark details regarding this story and I for one have nothing to hide. Can you say the same?

Your attempts to disparage my integrity and credibility by posting a link to my article, “Normal is a Place I Visit”, published in JAMA in 1993, are particularly disappointing. To quote one of my friends, “Is that the best you got?” First and foremost, thank you for opening a side discussion regarding mental illness, which, by the way, afflicts one in five Americans. It is a ‘cause’ of mine about which I am as passionate as I am about animal welfare. You see, it is the last foothold of public prejudice and stigma perpetrated by the ignorant, as a means of trying to discredit and humiliate those of us born with a genetic illness.

As my article states, Ms. Thayne, were I afflicted with breast cancer or cerebral palsy, would you attempt to use those things against me as well? 
The fact is that I am incredibly proud of my ‘coming out’ article regarding personal struggles with mental illness. Though the facts in that article remain true, my life eight years later has moved on to a more integrated ‘whole’ and my daily life experiences are quite different. But to be published in one of the two the premier medical journals of the world with a readership in the millions is no small feat. My article received more public attention and praise when it was published than any other first-person article in JAMA before or since. And it is still used today at medical schools and psychiatry residencies as a training tool around the country. So thank you for bringing it up; I am most proud of that article, and I continue to be an outspoken advocate about the destigmatization of mental illness and promoting education of the ignorant about this very important issue.  Clearly you have not been so enlightened, and your actions have only highlighted the importance of the cause.

My credentials, Ms. Thayne, are as follows: I went from being a welfare mother of two, to becoming an articulate, educated, and beloved physician and productive member of my community. I have six children, the youngest three adopted children from eastern Europe, all of them older, at-risk children.

I have accomplished twice as much as many people do in a lifetime, and have had to work three times as hard to get there. And I have twenty five years of education, graduated from the top medical school and residency in the country with honors and special recognition, and was elected chief resident of my residency training program. And I am also an animal lover and advocate of a lifetime.

As to your bio, Ms. Thayne, I do believe and know that you have done much good for suffering animals, and for that I commend you. But dare I say, you have lost your way somewhere, and deception, arrogance and considering yourself above the laws of decency and what is morally right have taken a front seat. We both love animals and share a desire to protect and defend. However, we disagree on this point: the ends DO NOT justify the means.

As we both know, I was a praised and favored, tireless volunteer for DDB –Washington for six months, from October 2011 through March 2011. I have the evidence, because I have saved every FB posting praising me, every email and text; along with all the questionable things that followed. How is it that the Washington DDB Rep Kelly Page was my patient, my friend, and my fan for years, had been out to my house numerous times, and entrusted me with ELEVEN DDB pitbull/mixes in need for fostering, and enthusiastically supported my adoption of Joel, until I dared to complain?

And how is it that my adoption contract (a one-way contract NOT requiring a countersignature, as is evident by both copies of my correspondence as well as by your contract yourself), should happen to be altered and revoked just one week after I blew the whistle on DDB?

Rather than attacking me personally, or producing a contract that has been clearly altered, how about providing some ANSWERS?

And how about addressing the fact that DDB-Washington collected over $500 in donations for Joel’s care, NONE OF WHICH WENT TO PAY FOR THOSE ITEMIZED EXPENSES? (and yes, I have those documents as well.) Or admitting that your high-priced attorney was breathing down my neck with a written threat the VERY DAY that Joel was taken from daycare, advising me to cease and desist or risk legal proceedings from you? (Yes, I have that document, too.)

Or let’s discuss this: HOW IS IT THAT DDB-Washington solicited charitable contributions within the state of Washington for all of its years in our state, without registering with the Washington Secretary of State’s office as a charity? (I am sure you are aware that this violates the Consumer Protection Act, and is punishable by large fines, not to mention what it does to your credibility.) And that you and DDB, Ms. Thayne, sought to file a charitable org application to the state of Washington ONLY 4 DAYS AFTER MY COMPLAINTS, on April 11, 2011? Is it purely coincidence, or were you perhaps trying to get your affairs in order and clean up your act before we looked further?

I would suggest that your fans from other states check with their state Attorney General/Secretary of State’s office, and I believe they will discover, as I have, that you don’t appear to be registered in ALMOST ANY state as a charitable organization. Yet you continue to solicit funds…as you have for years. That is what I mean when I refer to your arrogance and apparent belief that you are above the law. 
Ms. Thayne, I did try my best to resolve this with you privately and amicably. But you have stonewalled me, racked up thousands of dollars in litigation costs (that your supporters mistakenly believe is going to rescue dogs?), and with no end in sight. Is that really where your donors want your money to go? To fight me, one individual, over Joel? Let’s let them decide.

I look forward to your response, and I do hope you have the courage to leave this letter on your website as an open response to the public. If not, I ask you, what do you have to hide? As before, since the day that you seized Joel, I remain open and willing to talk with you as one animal advocate to another. What I want is simple. I want Joel back. One has only to look at our photos, our video, talk to our friends and neighbors, to know that Joel and I belong together. It is as simple as that.

NEVER did you contact me, return my requests for dialogue, respond to my concerns or investigate DDB-Washington, which started this whole chain of events. NEVER did you contact my veterinarian to ascertain what type of pet owner I am, or how I treat my animals. NEVER did your regional rep Marie Belanger get in touch with my contacts, and inestigate my concerns about the doings in Washington state. Had you done so, you would not have found one single person to say a disparaging word about me, and would have found a pile of evidence to support my disillusionment with DDB.

As I have time and am able, I WILL be scanning and posting all of the documents in my files: the misappropriated money by DDB Washington that went ?where exactly, the praise and love I received from DDB reps as a foster, the DDB announcement posting my adoption of Joel, the letter of attack sent by your attorney the day that you took Joel advising me to back off, and the perjured comments by Ms Page, Washington DDB rep, and her chums that were filed in court 2 weeks ago, along with copies of evidence refuting their lies one point at a time.

You see, Ms. Thayne, I have nothing to fear; because truth and evidence are on my side. What do you have? The misguided judgment to attack my mental health publically, and a forged contract. I for one am comfortable letting public opinion weigh in on this issue.

And by the way, it’s Dr. Fiala, not Ms. Fiala.

I supported myself through school and have 25 years of education. I am very proud of my life and accomplishments, and my achievements stand for themselves. I am a humanitarian, a healer, an advocate for the underserved and the underdogs, and the environment. And I have nothing to hide. Can you say the same? I welcome your response.

Suzanne J. Fiala, MD

Seattle, WA

June 3, 2011

the good Doctor and her furry friend Joel that she nursed back to health.

there are MANY pages of evidence/proof from Bring Joel Back Home: 120 pages of scanned documents revealing DDB’s praise of Dr. Fiala UNTIL the day she complained, DDB announcing Joel’s adoption on FB, DDB’s 11th hour application to become a legal Washington charity dated April 11, four DAYS after Dr. Fiala’s complaint (after years of soliciting funds illegally in WA), Comments from Thayne and Belinger, much more

here are a couple…


Filed under animal abuse, animal rescue, dogs, Uncategorized

5 responses to “Dog Rescue: Cat fight

  1. Lynne

    I have been following this unfold in the media since yesterday 6/4, I am an avid dog lover and advocate. I had never heard of Dogs Deserve Better, but there were certain elements to this story that mimic my experiences in my profession of being a special education teacher and an advocate of people with special needs and that is EGO. Unfortunately, I have met many “Tamira’s” in my life. These are people who have an agenda and that is to make themselves look good while seeming to care for others in need. Her statement,”Now that she (Dr. Fiala) has managed to destroy those who wanted to help chained dogs in Seattle, there is no help there for the dogs.” Really! Both of those statements are untrue: Dr, Fiala has not “destroyed” anyone and there are other people and organizations who want to and do indeed help assist dogs in need. Again-EGO. I am appalled that our most innocent and those who cannot speak for themselves, animals and children, are hijacked by warped people with ulterior motives. For Joel’s sake and other dogs who come into contact with this suspect organization, I say a prayer. I could also go into the unscrupulous nature of people who use other’s challenges (mental illness, special needs) against them, but that is a discussion for another time.

  2. EmilyS

    Tamara (formerly Tammy) the founder of DDB was convicted of theft for taking an old dog out of his yard (because the standard of care didn’t meet HER expectations). Despite the owner’s plea, she refused to give the dog back, and he died away from his family.

    She’s a freak and a publicity hound… the whole thing with making the Vick property a shelter just creeps me out.

  3. You clarified a lot of the issues for me. Thank you. I support Dogs Deserve Better but not in this action. It seems to me all of this could have been settled with out destroying reputations and making all parties happy. As to the Dr.s personal background, unless she had been convicted of animal abuse or neglect, I would think that she would be an ideal guardian for Joel. I personally was smeared by person unnamed with regard to past mental health issues and had people expose a family member’s struggles with alcohol. Is this fair play? No. Like you said would you make fun of someone with cancer and then tell the world about your “disease”.

  4. evan quinn

    Try reading the legal pleadings (all public record) before you jump to conclusions. All the questions everyone has been asking are answered and DDB is not able to say more until the case is litigated.

  5. Ferrel1 (I need to remain anonymous please)

    DDB’s web site specifically names Dr. Fiala and finds it necessary to mention and relate to a mental health state when speaking of a dog fostering. To me, this nonprofit is saying it very clearly watched a rescued dog become a service dog under some contract. Then they removed this dog. Then they bring up a disability as a character flaw openly on their web site. I see an issue here beyond what the judges are judging.

    This nonprofit is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act in their own web site words. Their contract probably doesn’t address dogs that inadvertantly become service dogs while in foster care.

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