SURRY — Dogs Deserve Better founder Tamira Thayne says she is prepared to die for her cause.
Thayne is no stranger to extreme measures to show she’s devoted to freeing penned and chained animals, having chained herself outside 10 different state capitols.
This time, she is staging a hunger strike.
On May 7, Thayne began refusing food and started petitioning each day from a camp chair along Route 10 by the Surry County Circuit Courthouse. Thayne wants justice for reasons different than her usual campaign.
She wants Surry County Commonwealth’s Attorney Gerald Poindexter to bring embezzlements charges against a former employee, who she said padded her paycheck to the tune of $1,285.
She wants Poindexter and Chief Animal Control Officer Tracey Terry to admit that the former employee framed Thayne for animal cruelty charges.
Thayne was charged in August 2012 on misdemeanor animal cruelty and misdemeanor failure to provide adequate space charges. Her charges were postponed in March.
Finally, she wants her and Dogs Deserve Better’s name cleared, as their names have been muddied and donations have been affected, she said.
Thayne said she chose a hunger strike because it hurts herself and not others.
When asked how long she plans to strike, Thayne was resolute.
“I’ll do it till I’m dead. I don’t care if it breaks them,” she said.
Thayne contends that Poindexter is purposely keeping the animal cruelty charges alive and avoiding charging the former employee with embezzlement to push her and DDB out of the county.
“I don’t give a damn what they do down there,” said Poindexter about DDB’s mission. “I’m not against those types of interests — far from it.”
But Poindexter said he wouldn’t proceed with the embezzlement charges because he found no criminal intent on behalf of the employee.
“No evidence whatsoever of criminal intent,” said Poindexter, referencing emails in which the former employee offered means of mediation and repayment.
“Is that what criminals do, embezzlers?” he asked.
Poindexter also said that emails between Thayne, the former employee and another DDB employee were convoluted — at one time the accused employee worked full time, then part time, was paid hourly and sometimes at a salary.
Poindexter said he couldn’t pursue the charges because the former employer didn’t have criminal intent, the method of accounting was convoluted and Thayne had admitted to mistakes in one of the emails. ...(Subscribe!)