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.

Football, Pit Bulls, and Regaining Trust: A book review of Jim Gorant’s The Lost Dogs

Stephen Iannacone

In July of 2007, after months of investigating, Michael Vick and three others were charged with the federal crime of operating an interstate dog fighting ring known as “Bad Newz Kennels.”  Initially, Vick maintained that he only funded the dog fighting ring.  However, as further details were released over the course of the investigation, he eventually confessed and publicly apologized for his actions.  Every sports fan, animal advocate, and legal aficionado knows the result of this case.  However, very few of us know the amount of effort that went into building a case against Vick, collecting the evidence, attempting to rehabilitate the pit bulls that authorities were able to rescue, and finding these pit bulls new and loving homes.

Jim Gorant, a senior editor at Sports Illustrated, does a remarkable job of presenting these facts in his book The Lost Dogs.  The book leaves you feeling sickened that a man like Vick could be playing football again after a mere 19 months in prison, but also feeling revitalized to learn that so many of the pit bulls have survived what they were forced to endure.  Gorant pays credit where it is due: to the investigators who managed to obtain a near impossible warrant and eventually indicted Vick; to the shelters that helped care for the pit bulls after they were rescued; to the many people who assisted in rehabilitating the pit bulls; and to the pit bulls themselves.  Gorant reveals the true side of not only the Vick dogs, but also an entire breed.  Plainly stated, pit bulls are discriminated against, especially in the media.  This book takes a step in the right direction, clearing the name of a misunderstood and mislabeled breed.   Continue reading

Eagles TAWK

Jessica Kordas

In 2007, Michael Vick, then quarterback for the NFL Atlanta Falcons, was convicted and sentences to 23 months in prison for dog fighting related offenses.  When Vick was arrested and charged, the NFL suspended him from the league indefinitely.  After Vick’s release earlier this year, the NFL commissioner reinstated him, allowing Vick to play in the NFL should a team choose to hire him.  Shortly after this announcement Vick signed a contract to play for the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie thought that Vick was taking an active role to be a valuable member in society, as such he offered Vick a second chance.  In addition, Lurie promised disappointed fans that the Eagles organization would also actively participate in the animal welfare arena.  Lurie’s full statement can be read here.  Related blawg posts are here.

A few weeks into the 2009 season the Eagles announced they would keep their promise and set up a community outreach program called Eagles Tawk.  This program is designed to help educate people on a number of important issues including, spaying and neutering pets, eliminating dog fighting, and the benefits of pet adoption.  The sports world revolves around money and, while hiring Vick inevitably hurt Lurie’s pocket temporarily, fans will ultimately forget the harm that Michael Vick caused.  While this program doesn’t make up for the things that Vick, it may help a new demographic to become interested in animal welfare.  Continue reading