I also came across the USDA Inspector General’s Office report on their investigation. This is what would have come out in court if these men hadn’t plead guilty and I don’t remember ever seeing this in the news coverage. It’s particularly applicable to his suitability for having a pet dog. This section describing his use of to known family pets as bait dogs is particularly chilling:
Unfamiliar with the horrors of bait dogs? Do a google image search on “bait dog”. Warning, it’s graphic . Imagine the worst wounds possible—the reality is even worse.
The report goes on to detail dogs being killed by hanging, shooting, drowning, electrocuting, and slamming on the ground until the dog’s neck & spine were broken.
This barbaric shit went on for 5 years. And now he has another dog. I don’t care how much speaking he does on animal welfare, someone who does these sorts of things, hears the sounds these poor dogs made, is broken.
As odd as it may seem, Michael Vick may be the best thing that ever happened to the pit bull. He gave the forum to discuss this and make it possible to get the message out there that these dogs are not what they’ve been made out to be in the headlines, that they really are just sort of dogs. And a lot varies from each one to another and then how they’re raised and socialized and all of these issues that go around them. You can find the sweetest, most loving pitbulls in the world and you can find other dogs that are as mean as you want.
The Michigan State University College of Law has a very informative page on dog fighting that covers the history, the training, the culture, the societal cost, the criminal links, laws and legal issues, and evidence, including less obvious things such as the drugs/vitamins/medical supplies used. You can also find out about the signs of dog fighting. And the Humane Society of the United States has a FAQ on dog fighting. (Note: None of the these pages have gruesome photos of dogs showing the barbarism of dog fighting. They do have a wealth of information.)
What an amazing journey. It all started with Cathy at CampCocker quietly going about the hard work of rescuing Cocker Spaniels when she saw a dog in desperate need like so many dogs, except this wasn’t a Cocker, it was a pitt bull. Cathy stepped up, made an amazing video, and Stanley’s rescue started. It’s so inspiring to see how far he’s come in this latest video and the other dogs who have been saved as a result.
But, I think we have to remember he is just one dog. There are thousands out there every day who are also desperately in need of medical care, kindness, and a home. Stanley really isn’t any more special than all those other dogs. Every dog needing rescue has a story, a will to live, a personality, a spirit, and a mind. Please consider adopting a dog instead of purchasing a dog. They’re all special. And your journey with them will be so rewarding.
Lastly, I want to say I do not understand how people can demonize a breed of dog. Stanley has been through hell, but just look at the tail wagging when he gets out of his crate at the airport.
Stanley’s story wouldn’t be possible without these groups and they all need donations including LA Animal Services:
Los Angeles Animal Services—they have programs to improve the welfare of animals in their shelters, to provide foster homes, for spay/neuter campaigns in low income areas, & to provide medical treatment for “severely injured, abused, and neglected animals rescued by Animal Services”
Sadly, the first part of Stanley’s story is all too common. Shelters are filled with dogs & cats who need just one person to step up and change their life. I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, but please consider adopting before you ever buy a cat or dog. Pure bred or mixed breed, juvenile or adult, spotted striped or solid, short hair or long, big or small, any possible color or temperament—whatever you’re looking for is out there, but most of them don’t have a lot of time. And don’t forget there are rescue groups for all sorts of animals: reptiles, ferrets, pocket pet, exotics, horses, goats. Please adopt!
Sports Illustrated has a good article on several of the dogs rescued from Michael Vick’s dog fighting operation, Bad Newz Kennels. Many of these dogs have really blossomed in foster homes, while others still have a lot to overcome. Jasmine, in particular, is a dog absolutely gripped by fear, but she is making progress thanks to a dedicated foster mom.
Our dog, Saffron, had big fear issues when we adopted her. I know how much work it takes to build a dog’s confidence and I know how wonderful it is when that dog reaches each new milestone.
Maybe Michael Vick’s dogs will help change the image of the pit bull and society will stop blaming the breed. Check out the great gallery of these dogs living the happy lives they deserve.