Tag Archives: nonprofit

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.



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...http://www.psycheducation.org/start/fiala.htm

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

free weekly giveaway ends tomorrow… yurts anyone?

ok, you have one more day, the last few days no one else has submitted any entries… which makes us think that we should give people a shorter amount of time… for the next giveaway, you will have a day or two… Internet time is faster than real time…   we have some wonderful new surprises and resources coming up… 

yesterday, while writing about yurts and affordable and alternative housing for my blog for the Seattle newspaper, I came across two cute photos (below)… a dog in a yurt and a couple of llamas in a yurt…since I don’t yet know how to post photos there, and since they are animals, thought I’d post them here for you to enjoy… and if you don’t know and want to know what a yurt is, visit my other blog below (hint: a yurt is a round or circular or dome housing structure used by nomads in Mongolia, Russia and even in the USA)…  am thinking that they will come in handy on some land for the K9 healing center, some yurts for the animals, a yurt for myself, for staff and guests… yurts are in campgrounds across America, there are yurt bed and breakfast inns, and yurts have endured extreme weather such as snow, rain, and heat… they are extremely affordable… portable… and easy to put up, good for emergency relief shelter, nomads, dog kennels, dog weddings, mobile offices, writer’s retreat, artists studio, dog camps, doggie daycare and doggie education centers.  Women writers with dogs retreat and healing center… 

If anyone would like to donate land, yurts, expertise and other resources for the doggie healing and education center, please let me know.  we will need to set up a 5013c non-profit status, grants, and donations… am going to announce a Creative Expression contest this week which will help launch and fund the healing center so get in on the ground floor, for the pups. 








Filed under Adventure, affordable housing, all you need is a dog, animals, belly rubs, Dog Bless America, dog friendly, dog parks, dog ranches, dog spa, dog weddings, doggie camp, doggie daycare, doggie healing center, dogs, dogs around the world, donations, end dog racism, four paws up, K9 approved, K9 travel, keep pets safe, kennels, mutts, pet care, shaggy dog story, travel with dog, vet, women travel, women with dogs, women writers with dogs, yurts

Fun Raising Money for your dog rescue group…

There is a reason why I called this Fun Raising rather than FundRaising… Many people hate asking other people for money (myself included)…  And if you think of this as FUN (as opposed to asking for a handout or begging), then you might just psych yourself into another frame of mind… as if it’s fun and it just might turn out that way.  

I remember a time years ago when a group of us were selling seminars, trying to get registrations and it was tough going. Seemed like everyone and their brother had a seminar or workshop. EST, Actualizations and other personal growth seminars were BIG… so how was ours different?  just changed my life… how do I tell that to anyone?

One day the founder of the organization suggested that we go to the beach and have a No contest. A No contest?  The person who got the MOST No’s won the contest… We were to go up to everyone on the beach and try to sell/register them in the seminar… and off we went to the beaches.  We had a BLAST.  The pressure was OFF since all we had to get were No’s…   and the person who got the MOST No’s won. Turned the whole thing upside down, inside out and made it really crazy FUN… 

So, now, you got a non-profit status with the IRS 501c3 status?  Now what… wanna have fun and raise money, to boot?

Check out Best Friends Animal Society’s web page…


What can you learn from the nation’s largest no-kill shelter ?  They started out a group of best friends who were rescuing animals.  And now 30+ years later, they have grown into a well-known organization with a huge network, with a show on the National Geographic and articles in the New York Times, plus a book. How did they do all of that? They’ve got lots of stories about the animals and photos galore on their website and in all of their promotional materials.

They’ve got members who subscribe to the magazine and give healthy donations. Best Friends have gotten celebrities involved in their cause.

I remember back years ago (12 + years ago) when I first met the people Best Friends. I was living in Las Vegas and every time I went to Whole Foods market, there were a couple of folks outside behind a table telling me about these animals they were helping. Asking for donations. They were a constant presence, every time I went shopping, almost every time. 

Same with Animal Friends Rescue in Pacific Grove, California. They were always outside Trader Joe’s.  Now after 10 years, Animal Friends has a storefront. 


Both of these rescue groups started small, and were/are visible in their community and talking to people about the animals, participating with Pet stores for adoptions, and asking for donations. 

These organizations started out just like you. People who care about animals. And you can learn from their successes. They are both non-profits because people who give big money donations to dog rescue groups, including big foundations who award grants, want to deduct their donation for tax purposes. If you don’t have non-profit status, they probably won’t give you the Big Bucks.

It’s also essential to have a newsletter, website  (include a donate button, media press room and press kit), magazine or ezine to tell people about the animals on a regular basis.  Through these publications you can appeal for new donations to folks, new and past supporters, members, funders and people who have adopted from your organization.  

Sending out newsworthy press releases on a regular basis to alert the media about your good works is also important.  The media love a good heartwarming tale and/or sad shaggy dog story. 

If you need to find a professional writer to help you with the above, I offer a discounted rate to all animal rescues.

Meanwhile, if you want to write funraising letters yourself, keep these tips in mind…

Tell a story… make it personal… give people one particular animal to care about. Reel them into a compelling story and make it light-hearted. People like to give partly because they want to help homeless and abandoned animals, it makes them feel good to contribute. It would be nice if they felt the same way about people, but I digress. Maybe the person did an animal wrong at some time and still feel guilty and want to right the wrong, were abused as kids, were not able to have a pet or want to teach their kids to have a heart and to give. Many times, they want to feel part of something larger than themselves, a good and worthy cause, and sometimes just because you asked, and they have the means, they will reach into their wallet, checkbook, or credit card and pull out $1000 or more, you never know.

Your letter has to convey to the reader that giving to your organization will satisfy the reasons people want to give. Give them what they want. Make them happy.

It is also important to convey specifically where their money will go and who and how it will help.  Start your letter off with the story of a pit bull (Best Friends Vicktory dogs) who were rescued from Michael Vicks dog fighters, a dangerous and abusive situation and how now, that very same pit bull is being cared for in a loving home. Just an example. Or how about the cats who were living in a dumpster. Show them that their money matters. Remind them about all of the well-behaved, loving dogs who deserve forever homes.

Show potential donors that you can help them help the dogs. All they have to do is give. 

If you write the letter keeping the donor’s needs in mind, you will get better results. Also, make it easy for them to give. Accept credit card payments, paypal, and checks. Put the info on your website so all they have to do is click.

Consider your typical donor. Who is that person? Can you write a letter as if you’re writing directly to her (or him)?  What would you say to them? How would you tell them your story?  Don’t censor as you write. Write as if you were speaking directly to the person, and  don’t forget to ask for the donation.

Maybe you feel as though you are begging and have a hard time asking for money, but if you try to avoid the topic, then you will never get the donation. Ask and you shall receive. Don’t ask and you won’t. 

After you are done writing the letter, put it aside for the evening. Let it percolate overnight.  In the morning, read the letter again and go over the letter with a red pen, editing along the way. But don’t edit it too much. You don’t want the letter to be so boring, perfect, prim and proper that no one will want to read it. 

If you hate writing and many people do, please email me or visit me at


I’ll be glad to help spruce up the letter you’ve written. Or, I can write the letter for you.


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