Arrested in the Practice of Free Speech on Behalf of the Dogs

Tamira Thayne braves threat of arrest to stand solo with a sign in front of the Olympic Animal Sanctuary in protest of conditions and failure to allow access to check on dogs.

Tamira Thayne braves threat of arrest to stand solo with a sign in front of the Olympic Animal Sanctuary in protest of conditions and failure to allow access to check on dogs.

On Day 3 of the Forks Washington protest outside the Olympic Animal Sanctuary, Dogs Deserve Better founder and CEO Tamira Thayne—a 49-year-old ordained minister, wife, and mother of two—was arrested as she peacefully protested on public property and taken to the Forks City Jail.

Read the previous blog entries for background to the case, and visit our webpage at http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/sonny.html and this Facebook page to learn more about the situation or to donate for Tamira’s legal fees.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/OAS-life-inside-the-sanctuary/396180077155674

This is what happened in Tamira’s words:

On Day 3 Robin Budin, Debi Esposito, and I met up and I made the decision to again practice my constitutional right to free speech in front of the warehouse holding at least 120 dogs—despite the bogus restraining order the organization founder placed against me.

This order was meant solely to gag me into silence for the rest of my time here, and was made without me being given due process or being allowed to present my side of the story.

I had been standing there with my sign for only about ten minutes before a Forks police officer showed up to arrest me. I quietly held a sign reading “I’m here for the dogs, they need help.”

Officer comes to make arrest while as many as 120 dogs wait for help in cages inside the cold warehouse

Officer comes to make arrest while as many as 120 dogs STILL wait for help in cages inside the cold warehouse. How long must they wait?

I was protesting on public property, and was not trespassing on any property owned by Olympic Animal Sanctuary.

It was a blustery and frigid day, with the temperature reading 28 degrees when I got to the location. Robin Budin, who was also hit with a restraining order for attempting to bring freedom to the dogs trapped in the warehouse, stayed at 500 yards (or was it feet…wherever the officer told her she could stand) and was instructed to use the zoom lens to capture my arrest on film if the worst should happen.

Tamira Thayne is handcuffed by Forks police officer. He was kind.

Tamira Thayne is handcuffed by Forks police officer. He was kind.

I am very appalled that there are bogus systems in place that allow people to falsely deter citizens from practicing free speech, and these very same systems are allowing the actual criminals to go free.

It’s the dogs who are suffering; you can never make me suffer to the extent that they have suffered, so I was prepared to endure the worst.

handcuffed3

Tamira Thayne is frisked before being placed in the police vehicle

Tamira Thayne is frisked by the officer.

She was then placed into the back of the police vehicle

She was then placed into the back of the police vehicle while handcuffed.

The arresting officer was very kind, and in fact everyone I met at the police station treated me very well. This was my first ever stay in jail (believe it or not), and even though I tried to be tough and appear that I was unaffected by the inhumanity of it, I cried as I lay in my cell waiting for my paperwork to be processed.

I kept telling myself it was the right thing to do, because we must stand up to bullies who attempt to silence us through unacceptable use of loopholes in the legal system. I thought of the dogs warehoused at 1021 Russell St., and how just that morning I had videotaped them crying and howling, while there was no one entering or leaving the facility to care for them.

At the jail, I was instructed to remove all jewelry and extraneous clothing and it was placed into a packet for when I was released. I laid in the jail and tried to nap, pray, and meditate in the bitter cold without any kind of blanket or cover to keep me warm. I couldn’t help but notice the parallel between myself and the way the dogs were living in the warehouse, without heat, open windows and gaps in the siding, and in small cages for life.

I refused the lunch they provided because I would not eat while in captivity. I asked for water and was given a small styrofoam cup to get water from the sink.

There was a camera in the cell, and I was told it didn’t show the small area by the toilet/sink combo, which, ok, was just creepy. I vowed to wait as long as humanly possible before testing that theory out for myself, not that I would ever know for sure if I were being watched while using the facilities.

I was taken for processing, and asked questions that were invasive. I watched a 20-minute video about sexual abuse in prisons and what steps to take if you are experiencing sexual abuse by either other inmates or guards. I felt badly for those forced to endure those kinds of conditions.

I passed cells full of men that all watched the newcomer with interest, and I asked the officer to make sure I didn’t end up in a cell full of men.

I was taken to a store room with orange jumpsuits, and issued a pair of orange boxers, orange pants, a white t-shirt, and an orange shirt. I was given a pair of sandals for my feet.

I was put into a 4 foot by 5 foot room to change, as it was the only room without a camera. I was left in this room for about 20 minutes, and I ended up pacing back and forth, back and forth, just like the dogs do when they are forced to exist in tiny cages.

I could only walk two paces before I had to turn around and go back. That is probably more room than some of the dogs have.

The orange shirt was still wet from the laundry, and I realized that whoever did the laundry hadn’t made sure it was dry. I told the officer, and joked that I would have to take over the laundry, because obviously these guys weren’t doing it right.

I was then fingerprinted and my prints sent off to wherever these things go.

I was then bailed out after three hours by Robin Budin, despite me telling her to just leave me there. She had succumbed to pressure from caring supporters to get me out of there, but I felt it was my honor and duty to stay there on behalf of the dogs.

I now have to go before a judge Monday morning at 10 a.m. to be arraigned. For practicing free speech?

Tomorrow we have five people scheduled to come out to protest at OAS. If you are in the area, and you care about the fate of the dogs warehoused at 1021 Russell St., please come out and join us.

I thank everyone who has supported us and fought for these dogs. There are so many fighting in our different ways, and I am grateful to each and every one of you.

I hope to post video of the arrest and audio of the dogs’ cries tomorrow.

Thank you.

Tamira Ci Thayne

P.S. Here’s a current blogpost about what is going on: http://www.seattledogspot.com/blog/dog-blog/post/olympic-animal-sanctuary-director-wants-dog-rescuer-to-stop-watching-him

Debi Esposito very bravely continued to protest in front of OAS for an hour by herself after Tamira was arrested. Thank you, Debi!

Debi Esposito very bravely continued to protest in front of OAS for an hour by herself after Tamira was arrested. Thank you, Debi!

Another shot of one of the two open windows on the top floor of the warehouse, allowing frigid air to blow through at all hours of the day and night.

Another shot of one of the two open windows on the top floor of the warehouse, allowing frigid air to blow through at all hours of the day and night.

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