Complaint Review: Dogs Deserve Better
Dogs Deserve Better Tammy Grimes Fraudulent rescue. Activist Grimes/Thayne using rescue 501c3 status for personal gain. Internet
I was a DDB Rep for a year. I worked very hard and dedicated all of my free time and my -own- money to responding to calls and/or emails pleading for help. I juggled a full time job, my own household and all of my pets, and a family who I tried to see. My family saw that I was bankrupting myself and they would always be puzzled as to why I wasn't receiving more (financial) support. I never questioned the org, even though I was treated poorly througout my time with the org. For me, my commitment revolved around the dogs. So that's where my focus was. There were experiences with DDB and its leaders that brought up red flags and all of the negative experiences had to do with money. The Reps did the ground work, while the org's leaders focused on money. And money dictated how they treated the Reps, the public, and even the dogs! I NEVER could get anywhere with legistlative ideas because the org's leaders were focused on money. The founder gave absolutely no attention or support to the Reps. We were policed though. There were times I asked for help on various levels, and I got the runaround. Yet, when it came to DDB spending money, I could always count on hearing back from the coordinator or founder. I was being bullied by a fellow Rep and because "she brought in alot of money", I was forced to deal with this Rep's harrassment. I stayed as long as I could for the dogs. But finally, I had to quit after I was once again belittled by a coordinator and betrayed by a lazy foster Mom who this coordinator sided with. I stayed supportive of the org until the founder bought the Surry Co property. The Rep program was halted so they could could "campaign for money". In my mind, I was disillusioned with the idea of raising money to buy a building!? This building was also serving as a residence for the founder. The Vick house has horrific memories, and dead dogs are still there in the ground. Moreover, countless dogs were suffering, so that a building could be financed. And the bottom line was seeing, that legislation, the key to changing everything, was at the bottom of the list for DDB. Buying the Vick house was a publicity stunt that took time and money away from dogs languishing in back yards throughout the U.S. And the effectiveness of the org seemed minimal. That is my experience with DDB and I regret to say that I no longer associate myself with the group.
I was an area representative with DDB for 6 years... from 2005 to 2011. For two years I was also a regional coordinator, coordinating several states' area representatives. In the 6 years I served DDB, I independently rescued and rehabilitated over 100 dogs. I asked for vet help only twice, and help with dogs that needed rescue on two occasions. When I joined DDB in 2005, all the reps were separate entities. We managed our own "branch" of DDB, and I always took pride in my work and had much respect for the DDB name. I was impressed yet concerned with the amount of trust that DDB freely poured into their representatives. Aside from a monthly report submission, we were essentially able to make our own decisions, manage our own fundraising and finances, and organize our own rescues. As the organization grew, much of that changed. I began as a representative for my county, dealing with the public and the dogs in my area that needed help. As the DDB name spread, more and more people from all over my state needed assistance, and because DDB had a hard time keeping reps for long periods, at times I would be the only representative for 100s of miles. I was expected to respond to calls and requests for help all over my state, which was essentially impossible for any one person to do, aside from the fact that I was working a full time job on top of my 30+ hours per week of volunteering. Also, because I was more active than many other reps, I would end up receiving calls for areas that HAD representatives... but they wouldn't return calls and answer emails. I discussed this problem several times with regional coordinators and the rep coordinator, but nothing ever changed and the expectations were always there from the organization that I should be doing more. Last summer, after 6 years of dedicated volunteering, we reps were all informed out of the blue, that the group was putting us all on hiatus... but only "temporarily". We were sent a mass email that questioned our loyalty to the group and our dedication to the cause; told us to really think about what being a rep meant to us... the rep program was going to be revamped. I spoke with the founder and she asked that I join the restructuring committee. I emailed the rep coordinator to express my interest, but was never included in the process. One day, we all received an email informing us that the rep program was now going to be completely different; that all of us reps had to work HARDER and that we also ALL needed to REAPPLY to the position in order to be allowed to be a DDB representative. Once the deadline for reapplication came and went and mine went unsubmitted, I never heard from DDB again For all of the years I volunteered for them, all of the dogs that I helped, and all of the good that i gave to their organization, I was never thanked for my service, nor was it even acknowledged that I helped them for as long as I did. I was one of only a handful of representatives that stayed with the group as long as I did. I have met and spent hours with Tami, the founder, at a tabling event, had long phone conversations and email interchanges with the regional coordinators, rep coordinators, and even Tami. I poured my heart into the group, and in the end, my existence was never even acknowledged. I think that DDB has made a mistakes putting all of their resources into the rehab center and in letting their rep progam go. They have taken away resources to hundreds if not thousands of dogs all over the country in order to develop the rehab center that can help only a handful of dogs at a time. They have burned bridges with supporters and spent so much of their funds on the center that I believe could have been put to far better uses. And they continue to solicit donations, despite the fact that their money isn't even going towards public education or rescue at this point. It is being poured into the rehab center. DDB's focus has become so near sighted, I really fear that by pouring all of their resources into the center and by dropping so many of their supporters, that they have brought more harm to the dogs than good. It's a shame because I used to have a lot of respect for this group, but I also never thought they were going to throw away their loyal representatives .
For a VERY brief time I was a Dogs Deserve Better Rep. with DDB. My reason for leaving was the Founder/CEO. She REALLY push for money. When she was trying to raise money for Vick's old place and sent an email to all of the reps, basically blasting everyone for not giving money..that was it for me. Some of us HAD donated and others wanted to but couldn't because they found themselves unemployed etc. because of the economy. The secondary reason I decided to step out was because there was a LOT of disagreements, fights, etc. in this group - not just the people who subscribe/support it but the people who run it/volunteer etc. What REALLY upsets me is all the dogs that are not getting the treatment/care/attention they need while all the in-fighting is going on. I was in it SOLELY to help the dogs - The leadership of this group has forgotten that MOST of the people involved DONATE their time - and given MOST have families, jobs etc. that's a pretty big deal. Yes, financially supporting an organizations needs is important BUT the email was berating. I stayed on the Facebook page to try to keep up w/any dogs near me that needed homes/help etc. and/or to help w/the laws BUT not after this..obviously things have only gone from bad to worse. On a side note, for MONTHS I tried to get someone from DDB locally to meet w/the animal control director (she was MORE than willing) to get things in place to make chaining illegal where I live. NO ONE EVER followed up - even after multiple promises they would. Sad, sad, sad. IF (and I'm saying IF) the goal was for the Founder/CEO to place herself in the mansion and that was it..she will not be able to maintain it without income. Donors are being taken advantage of unfortunately.
Blind, unquestioning loyalty is very dangerous. At the very least, this organization's actions over the past year have raised some very legitimate questions that are not being adequately addressed. I for one have one such question over the Fiala case. Why did DDB pour money, time, resources, planning, and support to reposses one dog under Fiala's care who had a willing adopter, and yet will not even take in dogs from former fosters who are begging for DDB's help? Are we supposed to keep supporting an organization that keeps exercising very questionable judgement? DDB may have won in the Fiala case but why should my donations keep going toward's legal expenses if this need not have gone to court in the first place?
Looks the way that Dogs Deserve Better has handled the purchase of the Vick property and their reps is sort of like removing the engines from a sinking ship to keep it afloat.
Careful what you post on DOGS DESERVE BETTER's rescue page because if you want to reserve judgement and hear both sides of the story so you leave a post asking them about the allegations that they abandon their foster dogs, use the donations (collected for these dogs) for themselves, kidnap rescue dogs from their adoptive homes and about a email statement made by founder, Tami, that to "euthanize" a dog who is known to bite is the "right thing to do" instead of rehabilitating them - they will NOT address your questions, will delete your post and then will BLOCK you - all while commenting on their page that they "do not block" anybody. Then, you can't dispute that statement, cuz you know, you are BLOCKED. Makes me wonder 1.) how many other people have been blocked? and 2.) WHY did they DELETE MY COMMENT then BLOCK ME instead of answering my questions? That only shows me that the allegations are true and they don't want their supporters/followers to know. This organization is suppose to be a RESCUE. The best interest of the dogs is suppose to be their main concern. I am sharing this because a rescue that operates/behaves like DDB (and who has a founder who is as rude and uncaring as Tami as is apparent in her email to a foster mom) it shines a negative light on other rescues who truly DO have the dogs best interest at heart, who truly DO use donations on the dogs, who truly DO support their fosters - because people could start thinking that other rescues operate this way and could be hesitant in donating or fostering. I can't post this on DDB's wall because, you know, I've been blocked (even though they "don't block") so I am sharing this here so that people can be aware of what is going on. DDB has taken one dog from his doggie daycare and away from his foster/adoptive mom (a veterinarian who nursed him back from starvation), because Joel's mom reported them for mismanaging donations (not giving the donated money to the dogs the money was donated for) and for abandoning their dogs at their foster homes. Now, they are refusing to take back another foster dog (a dog whom needs medical treatment and DDB has refused to release the funds that were donated to THIS DOG for this treatment - ask his foster/adoptive mom about this) and has, instead, told the foster/adopter, in an email, to "euthanize" the dog.
I don`t have lots to say, but my friend attended a conference that Tammie attended, my friend had a $500.00 check in her pocket, she approached Tammie and Tammie didn`t give her the time of day, in fact my friend stated that Tammie was looking for more important people, so she stated that she put the check back in her pocket and walked away, she stated that she felt that Tammie was only looking for the big folks to interact with, and Tammie didn`t feel that she was one of those..how darn sad is that..this lady has a rescue of her own, but wanted to donate $500.00 to DDB, out of her own pocket, as she believed in this rescue because of me..makes me feel bad, but not so bad, that she didn`t give her money to DDB..that in the end made me feel WONDERFUL, but how sad of the dogs that DDB lies and says that they help.
WTKR NewsChannel 3 SURRY For members of the rescue group Dogs Deserve Better, moving into the Bad Newz Kennels property was supposed to signify a new beginning. We were there in June when they started settling in. "We thought it would be a great fit because the whole idea of turning something negative into something positive, it's very powerful," Tamira Thayne. But three months after their relocation from Pennsylvania, former volunteers and employees are calling into question the non-profit's central mission and possible misappropriation of funds. The latest defection from Dogs Deserve Better, Shannon Allen, the group's former national rescue coordinator. "I don't agree, a lot of people don't agree with the rehab center, amount of money being spent there," says Allen. Allen says there is very little oversight on the organization's founder, Tamira Thayne. The former employee says money from past fundraising has gone missing, unaccounted for. Meanwhile, the organization put limits how many dogs they can take in at a time, and screens their picks based on behavior. "The point of a rehab center is to help dogs that don't get along with other dogs and other people," says Allen. Volunteers say Tamira's reasoning for not taking in critical care dogs is that the vet bills were too expensive. Meanwhile, they allege Tamira was fundraising for a new carport for the mansion. "These were dogs in dire straits that were in very bad condition, needed lots of medical and emotional care," says Allen. And she isn't the only one losing confidence in the organization. Allen says before their move to Virginia, Dogs Deserve Better had over 150 rescue representatives all over the country. Now there is less than 25 still affiliated with the organization. "A lot of people left because when we bought this fenced center, we were told to stop rescuing, that we couldn't afford it anymore," she says. We went to the infamous mansion in Surry to confront Tamira, but no answer. And answers are exactly what these former volunteers are searching for.
DDB as whole has saved allot of desperate dogs. I will give them that on a National level and believe it is a greatly needed. I hope another organization forms to really help all dogs in need chained regardless of breed...and honestly bumps DDB out. Did you know the National facility that was so generously donated to does not take in PITBULLS..Ironically this is where Michael Vick killed them. What a supporter of dog rescue. Breed specific? So LEAVE THE PITBULLS chained? Dogs of all walks of abuse and chained need rescued to be ban a breed from a facility that is supposed to help all chained dogs is misrepresenting the cause. My personal story is why I left. We were told to fund raise for the DDB National org. and we were expected as a group to raise $15,000 for the Vick property purchase. We had dogs that did not have a place to go or boarding $ and when I raised the question in front of the group and my rep. I was told that we need to focus on raising the $15,000 for the facility and those dogs can wait. I left that day and never went back. Personally, I believe the founder mis- uses the funds and is shady. As a past supporter and volunteer for a local chapter in WA State I will say my experience with them has been appalling. I have experienced dogs being ignored that really needed the help. I believe the group leader and "leaders" are self righteous and have used donations for their own selfish needs. DDB just registered in WA this year but has been accepting financial donations prior to being registered in the State of WA. these numbers are not accounted for... This is truth. Check with the state of WA registered non profit charitable organizations. They are not worthy of becoming a GuidStar charity even if their cause is good, the people that run it are bad.
DDB is all about money, NOT the dogs. They are not bothering to get their dogs back from fosters that can no longer foster them. They talk to people very badly. If you question them about anything they will block you from their Facebook page so you can no longer ask anything. I would not recommend this so called organization to anyone. Please be careful people!!
I came to know of DDB through facebook interactions. As I began following DDB on facebook I started noticing that people who were asking legitimate questions about DDB's actions were treated very poorly and ridiculed and even called names. I myself had questions for them about a dog named Joel and how they removed (in my opinion, downright stole)) him for the care of one of their volunteers. Within a couple off days of inquiring, I was promtly banned from being able to ask questions or respond to others comments. Also, my previous posts were deleted from their page. This was actually happening to anybody and everybody that dared ask or say anything that they didn't like. I have seen some of the most disgusting name calling, accusations and downright lies being told by those that are supporting this organization. I have also read the testimony of many former volunteers and supporters, who have legitimate questions that never seem to get answered. If you are legitimate, why cannot peoples questions be answered, what are you afraid of? Personally, since I have been following the DDB organization, I think they have done more to harm the dog rescue cause than they have to help it.
I no longer support this organization. They are difficult to work with and they do not answer emails or Facebook posts when they are asked to help. Seems to me they are spending too much time fighting with everyone instead of unchaining dogs. I found another rescue to support who is helping unchain dogs. This is the article that convinced me they are under staffed because of the wrong decision made by the founder. Something stinks in Surry, Va.
DDB Dogged by Controversy - September 16, 2011 Rescue organization Dogs Deserve Better is no stranger to controversy, but recent allegations by the groups former national rescue coordinator may have far reaching implications in the long term health of the group. Just a few short months after their acquisition of the former Michael Vick residence, a prior employee is questioning what she calls possible misappropriation of funds and a major shift in the organizations mission. Shannon Allen, the groups former national rescue coordinator, recently resigned over a number of concerns with DDB activities. I dont agree, a lot of people dont agree with the rehab center, amount of money being spent there, says Allen. Allen says the organizations founder, Tamira Thayne, told volunteers to stop rescuing needy dogs shortly after DDB relocated to the Virginia mansion formerly occupied by Michael Vick. Allen says money from prior fundraising drives has gone missing, and shes also troubled by a new DDB policy: only dogs who pass personality screening tests will be considered for rescue by DDB. The point of a rehab center is to help dogs that dont get along with other dogs and other people, says Allen. Allen says her concerns are shared by many: she says that a few months ago, Dogs Deserve Better had over 150 rescue representatives in the US. Now that number has dwindled to less than 25. A lot of people left because when we bought this fenced center, we were told to stop rescuing, that we couldnt afford it anymore, says Allen. We want to rescue, thats what we signed up for, she said.
I would give ZERO stars, if that were an option. I was a volunteer for DDB Washington for 6 months, and was loaded up with ELEVEN dogs to foster in that short time. My first experience with a large rescue org certainly opened my eyes to thepotential for fraud and corruption in the world of animal rescue. DDB never repaid (any of my fostering costs totaling over $1600 - despite receipts turned in per protocol, and promises of reimbursement. When I caught the local state rep lying, misappropriating funds into her personal bank account and otherwise acting unethically; I publicly exposed my concerns after the national chapter ignored my concerns. In an apparent effort to get me to hush up and deflect attention from my provable claims, the organization not only "took back" the almost-dead dog I had fostered adopted via verbal agreement with my state rep, but proceeded to attack my credibility and character with a national smear campaign via perjured court documents, social media attacks and proactively attempting to ruin my professional career. This organization may have had a pure motive at its inception, and it HAS had many loyal, hardworking volunteers 'walking the walk' of animal advocacy and rescue. But the national CEO and founder, just like the former WA state rep, has knowingly engaged in fraud and illegal activities since the organizations' inception. Soliciting donations in numerous states without registering with the individual states as an active charity, thus violating the Consumer Protection Act for years (the CEO registered as a state charity in Washington state after 9 years of soliciting funds in my state the DAY AFTER I publicly exposed her org), the CEO paying herself a salary, living rent-free in a mansion and paying lawyers to fend off complaints such as mine, all with the dollars of well-meaning donors: all suggest that this so-called rescue organization is more about media attention and personal financial gain than about the dogs it purports to 'save'. While claiming to rescue 'hundreds of dogs' yearly, the actual number of dogs taken in and placed properly in permanent homes remains unknown. Our local state chapter as well as the national group operate with the 'revolving door' principle of taking dogs in with much publicity and farming them out as quickly as possible to inappropriate and sometimes completely unreliable 'homes'. Also the animal's medical needs are often unmet. Cases in point, a pup I fostered in March, a blind, beautiful young pitbull named kYLE, is again on the 'adoption' list at just barely a year of age. Kyle, this special needs dog, is listed as being "not good with children or cats". He was fine with both when in my foster home, which leaves one to wonder exactly what lack of attention and training has led to these disclaimers as to Kyle's current temperament. Kyle's mother LADY, whom I also fostered in January and into February 2011, has been billed as being in a permanent, loving home in court testimony. Yet she has bounced in and out of at least 8 foster care and multiple failed adoptions in the past 7 months and to date STILL is a dog without a home. A wonderful dog that I fostered with her pups, there is no reason for Lady to be homeless-other than poor placement into inappropriate homes. I have learned the hard way of the corruption and vice in animal rescue - as in every area of life there are opportunists who will use the 'underdogs' of society for their own gain. DDB, Inc. needs a forensic audit to investigate misappropriation of funds from the state levels to the national level. Hopefully the IRS will take a much closer look at the questionable accounting practices of national fund solicitations by illegal operation in multiple states, theft by state reps, and an absence of an objective board of directors minding the store. To the IRS: need evidence? Contact myself and my group of investigators - we have documentation for all claims mentioned herein. People sincerely motivated to become involved in animal advocacy and rescue, steer clear of this duplicitous and fraudulent organization whose actions speak louder than their pretty photo-ops, feel-good vignettes and anecdotal success stories and endless campaign for donations. / Suzanne Fiala, MD / Seattle, WA
The mandate of DDB is great..however putting it all into perspective is a different story..I have never heard that a president of a NON PROFIT group, pays herself $40,000.00 per year, has no mortgage, receives travel allowances..and so on.. Wheter or not Shannon is crazy or not, has no bearing..What does matter is the FACTS, anyone can read the spread sheet..As for Dr. Fiala and losing Joel, because of him being at a doggy daycare, is another excuse..Joel was taken because Dr. Fiala ASKED valid questions about finances..Tell me the difference, doggy daycare versus rehab center..So why does Tami not want the financial items to be published? it is a public site..right? I have never heard of anyone that is a VOLUNTEER, getting paid this amount of money per year..it is pathetic..When was the last time you saw her in action..WITH THE DOGS? all we see is her constant begging for funds..for people to buy calendars, cards, jewellery..her complaining how stressed she is, she only has 14 dogs AND she has help..complaining that she has not left her house for a few days..WHO CARES..neither have I. Many of us have loads of rescue dogs, run around, put the animals before our family..she wanted this life..She is welcome to leave this life any time..the sooner the better for all the dog involved..Go play with your BARBIE..( I am saying, get out of the life of dog rescue..
I was a paid employee of Dogs Deserve Better for 1 year and a volunteer for 2. I can say for fact that founder Tamira Ci Thayne has little concern for animals and a greater concern for money and fame. She was made aware in 2008 that she was illegally soliciting and accepting donations in states where she was not registered as a 501c3. She regular abandons foster dogs, refuses to pay these dogs expenses after promising to do so. People who have worked with Tami in her home office have reported seeing her kick and shake dogs, have seen her pay her house payment, car payment, utilities, and even groceries with donations. The organization would be great if Thayne would step down.
Never reimbursed by DDB for the money I spent on one their dogs... seems to a common theme with the owner Tamira burning people and not paying up as promised.
I had posted on their website asking them to explain why they took a formerly chained dog named Joel away from his adopter after she questioned the mis use of funds raised for the dog. She spent over $1000 dollars on getting the dog healthy and happy, she was never reimbursed, yet the DDB of Washington State continued to raise funds for Joels care. This mis use lead to the public finding out that DDB is not registered in most states as a 501c non profit. The Washington state site sent in a registration 4 days after they were questioned. DDB state organizations are raising monies illegally in most cases and are punishing those who question them.
It is sad that they fire volunteers that did a lot of good just to bring in new volunteers The great volunteers you have been in contact with are gone and the list is always changing. It has to be poor volunteer management.
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