I don’t quite no what to say. Michael Vick confirmed he is again a dog owner. I find it unreal he is allowed to have any pets. He was banned from having dogs only while he was on probation. I always want to be sure I know what I’m talking about, so I read over the Summary of Facts from the plea bargains of Michael Vick and his co-defendants, Purnell A. Peace, Quanis L. Phillips, and Tony Taylor. That made for some pretty sickening reading. Gut-wrenching.
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.
Jim Gorant from Sports Illustrated has a new book that follows 49 surviving dogs seized from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennel. (You can read about the history of this case on the Michael Vick archive page.) Gorant says:
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.
Listen to the interview with the author. It was first thought that most of the dogs seized would be euthanized, happily this hasn’t been the case. Four dogs have even become therapy dogs.
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.)
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.
Michael Vick could be released to a halfway house as early as January 2009 and is also filing for bankruptcy. You can read more about the history of the Vick case.