NEWPORT NEWS, VIRGINIA — Amy (Havens) Hines, a former Preble County resident and 1984 Eaton High School graduate, co-wrote an anti-animal abuse song which will be released on Friday, Sept. 25.
The song is being sung by Bria Kelly, a past top 10 finalist on The Voice. It is titled “Why Me?” and has been written from the perspective of the animal.
They recorded the music video – which is sure to be controversial – at Bad Newz Kennels, the former dog fighting compound of NFL quarterback Michael Vick.
In the video, the animals are all portrayed by people, providing an impactful symbol and hopefully humanizing the cruel abuse that some dogs endure.
The Virginia kennel has since been converted to Good Newz Rehabilitation Center, an animal charity run by Dogs Deserve Better, where Hines is employed.
Inspiration for the song came after Hines’ good friend, Donna Hughes, released a popular song titled “Dog on a 10 Foot Chain” about a dog she had seen chained near her home.
Friends of the dog owner soon began to attack Hughes online, stating that “it was just a dog,” while also hurling abusive language toward her, said Hines.
“There are some people that just don’t realize that, be it a dog or a human, abuse is just wrong,” she said. “I was so angry after reading some of those posts that the song just flew off my pen. In 15 minutes, I had those lyrics down.”
Hines’ next move was to find someone with a powerful enough voice to extract the kind of emotion she had in mind. She said asking Kelly to sing the song was a no-brainer.
“There are few people that could pull it off the way it should be done. She was the obvious choice,” said Hines.
The music video, which operated on a small budget, turned out an enthusiastic and passionate crew to help portray Hines’ vision as well.
They had to acquire volunteer talent to help portray the animals. Generally, in a non-compensation project, there is around a 40 percent participation rate. In Hines’ video, they had a 100 percent participation rate, spending a 22-hour day producing this historic video.
“It’s riveting. It’s powerful. And it’s going to shake the world. Everyone that has seen it is just speechless,” she said. “It was produced to do that – to make people realize that abuse is wrong.”
The effects of the compound were not lost on the lead singer either. The Good Newz Center has left some areas untouched, as a type of reminder of the abuse that went down at the estate.
“I went into the barn where the dog fights were actually held. It was disgusting to know that the squalor of this place and the shouting of humans were the last things some dogs ever experienced in their lives. I also saw the “hospital”, where maimed dogs were patched up and coaxed back to fight another day,” said Kelly. “Seeing these sights and having (Hines) explain what actually happened, just before I recorded my portion of the video made me truly feel the emotion of the lyrics I was singing. When the video finally comes out, what you see in it will be real. Everyone there gave their all and it shows in the finished product.”
Kelly and Hines both hope that people will relate to the lyrics and it will continue to raise awareness that abuse of any kind is unacceptable.
“Unfortunately, dog-fighting and other similar forms of animal abuse, including the continuous penning and chaining of dogs, is not going away anytime soon. So I hope this music video makes it much harder for this type of behavior to exist, and I hope it helps rehabilitate those animals already abused,” said Kelly. “I have read in the past that a society can be judged by how they treat their most helpless or weakest members. So it’s an unfortunate reality check, at least to me, that we humans have a long way to go.”
A portion of the proceeds from the music sales will be donated to the Dogs Deserve Better Center.
For more information on the project, visit whymemusic.com