Should Michael Vick Own a Dog?

Seth Victor

My quick answer is no, but Scott Heiser from ALDF offers a more detailed explanation about what realistic enforceable judicial options exist to keep abusers like Vick (who recently stated that owning a dog will help with his rehabilitation) from owning animals. You can read Heiser’s Q&A here.


UPDATE: While we are on the subject of punishment and rehabilitation, apparently President Obama went out of his way to praise the Philadelphia Eagles for giving Vick a second chance. Very interesting. You can read the article here.

4 Responses

  1. The risk factors listed by Mr. Heiser are reasonable & applicable, but only part of the story. In punishing, we weigh retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation, and incapacitation (more or less). The heinous nature of the crimes understandably generates great resistance to any idea of sentence reduction. But as is the situation with parolees, all this must be balanced against the rehabilitation of the man being weighted, and the actual risk he poses to other animals.

    Mr. Heiser clearly favors retribution over rehabilitation, and gives very little consideration to the actual risk of Mr. Vick abusing a domesticated animal, since he summarily dismisses any possibility that he may indeed have grown up and pose little risk to a domesticated pet.

    “Whether his supporters are truly concerned about animal welfare or just too invested in Mr. Vick’s “comeback” to give a damn about the fate of the next dog who comes under Mr. Vick’s control….”

    I get the anger. But having represented individuals with criminal & immigration violations it is my habit to ask people not to disregard their anger, but to just remember that the guilty often come from a different place than we do, and that they can and do often change, and that after a point, anger, without more, does not beget solutions.

    Mr. Vick isn’t going away. perhaps we can keep the cruelty issue alive while also taking a true measure of the man and wondering if perhaps he could be of use to the cause.

  2. Thanks for the thoughtful response Matthew. You raise a good point about retribution versus rehabilitation. What about punishments like Megan’s Law, or the more relevant Megan’s Law-like law passed by Suffolk County ?

    Is there a middle ground where it is not rehabilitation, not retribution, but simply that society, via legislation, want an individual to re-participate in all arenas save the one?

  3. Perhaps Mr Vick can be a role model for young and oldd alike, that people can change and compassion for all living beings is possible, especially in this season of Christmas.
    And I also believe that he and any new dog should be carefully monitored to assure us all that he has indeed learned new behaviors towards an animal companion.

  4. Therapy for him is essential so that he does not repeat or exaggerate his past behavior. It makes sense to me that dog-involved therapy has the highest chance of success for him, as well as so many young people who will continue to emulate him, whether he is corrected or not. How much better for a whole bunch of dogs, and people, if he is truly rehabilitated.

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