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Dogs Deserve Better, Inc.
February 28, 2012

ANOTHER ABANDONED DDB DOG - 

Here is the synopsis on Hank as I have lived it. I stand behind what I put in writing and will defend if need be.  This is the truth as I know it.  
In July 2011, A Buddy For Life, Inc was contacted by Tiffany Citino, a former DDB rep from the state of Delaware, for help with placing a 4 year old Hound Mix named Hank.  Tiffany told us that she was going through some financial difficulties as well as being in the middle of a high risk pregnancy.  
 
When asked why she had not contacted DDB to take Hank back into their rescue, she said that she had asked them for help with a dog that she adopted from them years ago, (Kiddo) and that Tami Thayne emailed her and told her to euthanize said dog.  She said she already knew what Tami’s answer would be, so she did not ask.  She also said that a DDB rep in MA approved a home for him who subsequently dumped him at Kent County SPCA in Delaware, our local high kill animal control facility. 
 
Because of what she perceived to be this rep’s poor judgment in screening homes, she did not feel as though Hank would be safe if this DDB rep was involved with Hank anymore.  She told us that the DDB rep had given her permission to re-home Hank on her own.
 
A Buddy For Life, Inc, found a foster home for Hank at the end of July 2011.  He was in his foster home for approximately 2 months without incident.  He lived with two other dogs at that time, as well as a husband and wife and had a large back yard to run around in.  
 
In September 2011, A Buddy For Life, Inc, found an adoptive home for Hank.  His adoptive home was a previous adopter, as well as long time personal friends with one of the volunteers.   These people used to volunteer at a local no kill shelter, and have handled all types of dogs.  They are truly caring people who do right by any dog that comes their way.
 
After having Hank in their family for 5 months, Hank lunged, teeth showing, twice in a 10 minute time span at the woman.  There was nothing he was protecting (no bones, food, etc).  This came out of the blue, and startled me when I heard about this. Unfortunately, the couple decided that while they love Hank, they cannot have a dog that shows this kind of behavior unprovoked in their home. They had grandkids who visited often, and while they were always careful with the little ones and their dogs, they did not want to risk anyone getting hurt. 
 
Little did I know what I was about to find out.
 
I picked Hank up from his adoptive home on February 15, 2012.  Hank was happy to see me, and went willingly with me to my car.  I emailed Tami Thayne, CEO/Founder of Dogs Deserve Better, on February 17, 2012 in regards to Hank.  I emailed her with the situation as I knew it, and requested that she take Hank back to her rescue/rehab sanctuary to work on his behaviors, as we are a small rescue who does not have the resources or money to work with a dog like Hank. 
 
I felt as though since we were never made aware of Hank’s issues, it was only fair that DDB take him back into their care and work with him.  Hank is a liability, plain and simple.  Without intense training and the properly motivated home that is willing to follow the advice of a knowledgeable and competent trainer, he could possibly hurt someone in the future.  
 
Tami Thayne emailed me back, first telling me thank you for my civil tone and professionalism, and then in the next five paragraphs proceeds to slander Tiffany and Sean Citino.  I did not email Tami regarding the Citinos, I emailed her regarding Hank.  This was uncalled for and completely unprofessional in my opinion.  I did not respond to that part of her email.  
 
She also told me that her emails to me were to be kept confidential, again, I did not respond to that part.  I refused to respond to anything that didn’t have to do with Hank.  While Tami may be pre-occupied with her reputation, I am more pre-occupied with the dog, Hank, which I believe they failed. 
 
Tami said in her email to me and the MA rep for DDB, whom she cc’d on my original email to her:
 
 “*****, I'd like you to take responsibility for Hank, and if that means putting him down, then that's what it means. I know that he has had chance after chance and issue after issue. Let me know what you think. DDB will pay for the procedure if it needs to be done in DE, or whatever you think is best.”
 
Tami suggestion was that I euthanize Hank, as the DDB Good News Kennel was in its infancy, and could not rehabilitate a dog like Hank at this time.  She said that DDB would pay for the euthanasia.  She also copied the MA rep on this, who agreed with the decision to euthanize Hank, and also made sure she had some bad things to say about the Citinos.  
 
The MA rep’s email was troubling, and is what was the biggest catalyst for me to open my eyes and see that DDB as an organization FAILED Hank, not once, but 6 times.  
 
From the DDB MA rep’s email:
 
 “I am the original rescuer for Hank Williamsjr, the dog we are discussing. Hank was with DDB-MA for over a year and had 4 adopters that returned him always within the first week due to a strange lunge he would do for no real reason. I do feel that you should have emailed me directly when this issue occured. This is not an issue for Tami Thayne. This is my issue. DDB in VA is full and unpredictable dogs cannot be adopted out and so I personally recommend euthanasia for Hank.”
 
In the MA rep’s email to me, she disparaged the Citino’s, admitted that she knew that Hank had lunged before, and that Hank had been in 6 different homes while with DDB.  None of this was ever relayed to me by the Citino’s nor by the MA rep.  The MA rep knew that I had Hank as I had emailed her regarding his new home and our need for his microchip information in Sept 2011.  
 
Had A Buddy For Life, Inc, known of Hank’s aggression issues, we would have managed him differently and started looking at other options—we never would have placed him into a home due to his unpredictability. The MA rep even disparages the Citinos for going to rescue Hank at the local kill shelter when the home she approved for him dumped him there when she told the new home that she was in MA and there was nothing she could do immediately for Hank. She told them to take Hank to the local humane society. Hank was instead dumped at a high kill animal control facility. 
 
She also lets me know that I never should have contacted Tami Thayne regarding this issue, and that it is her issue to deal with.  Tami is the founder/CEO of the organization, and so I felt she had every right to not only know what was going on, but also that she had a chance to address it.  DDB reps are all over the US representing her organization.
 
My responses to all emails were polite and firm. Once they requested euthanasia, I asked for Hank to be signed over legally to A Buddy For Life, Inc, as I wasn’t going to fail him again.  Tami emailed me and the rep from MA and told her to sign him over to me, but I refused.  The MA rep is a volunteer within the organization who holds no official title that I am aware of.  Therefore, I requested that the surrender forms bear Tami Thaynes signature, which I did obtain on February 19, 2012.
 
After posting a plea to raise money to send Hank to a life long care sanctuary, the MA rep felt the need to respond to the posting on A Buddy For Lifes Facebook page.  Among some of her comments were:
 
 “a RESCUER HAS LIABILITY AND A RESPONSIBILITY TO HUMANS.”  When asked by BJH why she agreed to euthanize Hank, she responded:  “because I had no where to put him and he is a liability for a rescue since he is unpredictable. good rescuers dont adopt out unpredictable dogs” however, she found him stable enough, by her own admission, to put him in at least 6 different homes while Hank was with DDB, and each time he was returned due to his unpredictable behavior.  
 
I used to have immense respect for DDB.  I participated in the Chain Off, and donated money over the years.  I still feel as though their mission is a noble one—to get dogs off of chains and into a home.  However, after my experience with Hank and DDB, I can no longer be sure of what is going on within the organization.  Do all organizations make mistakes?  Sure, none of us are perfect.  As long as we learn from our mistakes, they build character and give us good life lessons. Rescue is hard work.  It is a thankless job. However, Hank was not failed once, he was failed multiple times by the organization.

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When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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