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« 'Underqualified, Overpaid Incompetents' and the need for local animal control reform | Main | One story, four points of view, and many happy endings »

December 16, 2010

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Dan

Why not let Vick get a dog when his probation is up? Have you forgotten the American principles of justice? Once he has done his time, and served his full punishment, he is a free man. As a convicted felony he can't own a gun or vote, but nothing in our laws says he can't get a dog? Why should you oppose him exercising his legal rights?

Marji

Do you feel the same way about all the other dog fighters, including many who participate in HSUS' funded inner city youth program, should not have dogs?

I can only speak for myself. I cannot opine Vick cannot have a dog without doing the same for every other dog fighter. Since many, including myself, have lauded programs that transform dog fighters into dog advocates - all the while KEEPING their dogs - I am uncomfortable stating Vick should be the only exception unless I'm consistent.

Randy

If killing dogs is a reason to prevent people from ever having them agsin how do we as a society justify that far more dogs are killed every day in public kill shelter in or near our community?

Where's the outrage for that? While I can never forgive Vick for what he did I will not get consumed on hating him as a person.

People make mistakes, people use poor judgment - it's up to the creator to judge them for those choices not me.

I also believe in redemption of human life. As much as we hate to admit it once Vick has served his time - done his probation he has redeemed himself to society. I also fall short on the logic of punishing Vick's children anymore then they already are for acts THEY did not commit.

Appears to me there is a logical solution for those who claim to despise the process of killing shelter dogs and the Michael Vick saga. Have Vick rescue a dog that's about to bde killed at the shelter. Let him complete his rehabilitation by stepping up and saving a dog NO ONE else will.

I think we could agree that if you ask the dog if it would choose between being Vick's family pet and being killed at the shelter the answer would be obvious.

I hate this "Vick saga" for many reasons - one - those who waste so much energy hating Vick should channel that energy and HATE the fact YOUR shelter is probably killing some innocent dog all while we advocates look away.

Brent

Here's the reality -- it is not at all uncommon for people convicted of felonies to have lifetime limits put on them for certain activities.

There is a guy by the name of Jerry Lee Southern. He got convicted of felony dog abuse -- and while he wasn't a dog fighter, the conditions his dogs lived (and died) in were in many respects worse than what the Vick dogs endured.

Southern was forbidden by the courts in the state of Kansas from ever owning dogs in the state again.

Two years ago, Southern was busted again for animal cruelty - -this time just across the state line in Oklahoma. Over 100 dogs were seized from him and he was arrested on 96 counts of animal cruelty -- he eventually pled guilty on 5 counts and was convicted, again. Here's more about Southern:

http://btoellner.typepad.com/kcdogblog/2010/08/jerry-lee-southern-gets-90-days-in-jail.html

My point is that people who do horrible things often get caught up in the same horrible things and it is not uncommon for courts to put restrictions in place to keep them from doing it.

I do believe that redemption is possible....but I also find it hypocritical of the same organization that said it was not possible for the dogs to then say it is ok for the abuser - -especially when the said organization's primary mission is supposed to be the well-being of animals.

Brent

Randy said: "If killing dogs is a reason to prevent people from ever having them agsin how do we as a society justify that far more dogs are killed every day in public kill shelter in or near our community? Where's the outrage for that?"

I don't disagree. In fact, I think if everyone put as much energy into being angry at their local shelter as they've put into being angry at Vick, we'd be killing a lot fewer animals right now in our shelters.

This is why I haven't spent a lot of time on this blog condemning Vick(although I have spent a fair amount of time talking about the success stories of his dogs) and have spent a lot of time criticizing poorly run shelter organizations (see the post from earlier today). Heck, even this post is less about Vick, and more about the "animal welfare" organization that is spending resources propping him up in spite of not being an advocate for the victims of his dog fighting operation -- even though that is supposedly their stated mission.

EmilyS

It's not just about the dogfighting. It's about the hands-on torture of dogs. And it's about HSUS hypocrisy and grandstanding.

I'd actually cut Vick some slack on dogfighting on the grounds that yes, it might be a cultural thing, and historic evidence that dogfighters were not necessarily sociopaths.. in fact we know that they did keep family dogs, and we know they passed on failed dogs to family members. But what Vick did (though not convicted for) is miles beyond that. Doublestandard? no, I don't think so.

I think Donna's comments, and her outrage, explain a lot.

http://badrap-blog.blogspot.com/2010/12/file-this-one-in-your-have-you-been.html

Being outraged at Vick doesn't prevent any of us from ALSO being outraged at the cruelty imposed on dogs in shelters every day, especially the wanton slaughter of pit bulls. I'm not sure why Randy thinks it does

Brent

The irony here of course is that the organization that would have the most power, today, to stop the wanton slaughter of pit bulls in our shelters is the same one that is promoting Vick for their own self gain and have remained silent on the wanton killing for decades.

Valerie

The things that Vick did went well beyond even the usual abuses inherent in dog fighting. He achieved a whole 'nother level of sadism. I would say that the things he did were pretty up there on the depravity scale, and that once someone does things like that there is really no realistic possibility that they will ever be "reformed", certainly no to the point of being able to have responsibility for/power over an animal.
https://depravityscale.org/depscale/

HSUS really insulted the intelligence of animal-lovers when they endorsed Vick. I don't like having my intelligence insulted.

Nokillhouston

Pacelle said "I have been around him a lot, and feel confident that he would do a good job as a pet owner," Are you KIDDING me? This man did not just "run" a dog fighting ring. This man electrocuted, shot, hung, and repeatedly slammed dogs to the ground to their deaths. This man forced animals to rip each other apart for his ENJOYMENT. This man threw other defenseless animals into the fighting ring to be ripped apart FOR HIS ENJOYMENT. And now he wants a dog and his kids are sad that they can't have one? Boo-freakin-hoo.

In what universe would this ever, ever make sense? When armed robbers want to be
rehabilitated, should we hand them guns and ski masks as part of the process? If
a child pornographer wants to rehabilitate himself, should we let him have free
reign a daycare center? Good grief.

And yes, sometimes criminals are banned from having certain things or doing certain activities FOR LIFE. This should be one of those instances.

If you ever had any doubts about where the HSUS' priorities lie, Pacelle's statement
should tell you VERY CLEARLY i.e. This is all about money and celebrity. It has absolutely nothing to do with animal welfare. This is what is running our national "humane" organization. Pathetic.

Pacelle is the biggest SELL OUT on the planet as far as animals are concerned. And Ingrid Newkirk says that PETA is a media whore. I think Pacelle is giving them a run for their money.

kmk

Am I the only one that would rather see Vick with a dog than Pacelle with a dog?

Vick pleaded guilty to federal charges of "conspiracy to transport an animal across state lines with the intent of fighting", or some such charge that only the feds can manage. Everything is a "conspiracy".

I'm not defending Vick, but I've seen what happens when federal prosecutors are Hell bent for election to make a case against someone. Vick was really the Commonwealth of Virginia's problem. Not ours.

I'm sure the NFL wishes Vick had beat up his girlfriend or shot up a strip joint like the rest of their players. Those actions don't generate as much anger as fighting dogs and the players can generally serve any jail time in the off-season.

EmilyS

Well kmk, the difference is that Pacelle wouldn't be caught dead with a dog and Vick was caught with a dead dog.

kmk

EmilyS - LOL, funny. But I don't believe Vick was technically caught with any dogs. The whole thing with the search warrant bothered me. Law enforcement went in on a drug warrant (on Vick's nephew, I believe, who lived in the house), saw the dogs, then got a warrant for the dogs and to search for dog fighting paraphernalia, I believe.

Why?

Sometimes, a horse is just a horse. I once looked at a list of seven criteria that were supposed to indicate someone might be fighting dogs. I met six of the seven criteria, including having a privacy fence. Okay, we can't tether the dogs, and now we can't have a privacy fence because we're trying to hide something? Whatever. Clearly, if you own more than one altered rescue "pit bull" you might be a dogfighter.

The county prosecutor probably looked at the warrant and evidence in the Vick situation, and perhaps had a conversation with himself that went like this: "Self, I have a family to support and children to put through college, and I'm not jeopardizing my family's financial security for a bunch of dogs". Remember, this was right on the heels of the whole Duke LaCrosse team rape accusation nonsense, and that prosecutor was hit with malicious prosecution lawsuits and lost his job. No doubt that made everyone gun shy.

As a friend of mine says, "A constitution that doesn't protect the worst of us will not protect the best of us".

There was a funny skit on Leno tonight about Mike Vick wanting to own a dog. If they post a video on the NBC web site I'll post the link.

Jenn

The problem is this continues to be about VICK. It's not. This is about DOGS. The dogs, EVERY dog, deserve the right to never live in a home with Michael Vick.

I don't care what Vick wants. I don't care how much he whines. It's time that the focus goes back to the real victims - the dogs. I'm so tired of the NFL and the media continuing to make Vick out to the be the victim here. Congrats to the HSUS for jumping on that bandwagon.

Ted Moore

If Vick is granted permission to own a dog, my guess is it would be the safest, best cared-for companion animal in the country. The first frustration-motivated jerk on the leash, harsh word after some minor trangression, or leaf falling into the outside dog dish would generate global press.

So I'll continue to focus on the "marginally adoptable" dogs at my local Humane Society (which is unaffiliated with Pacelle's organization, of course). If one of them doesn't make it, it would be as a ripple on the ocean.

Brent

KMK -- if you read Jim Gorant's Book, the Lost Dogs, you'll get a pretty in-depth read of the different warrants that were issued and the evidence that was involved in getting the warrants. I think reading the book would likely ease your mind a tad in that regard.

EmilyS

Jodi Preiss has a great idea that everyone should send Vick a ChiaPet.

And yes, Brent, there is ZERO doubt that Vick bankrolled and attended dog fights. It's also clear from the scars on SOME of the dogs that they were fighting dogs (and I'd bet some fighting records were seized to verify this). It's also clear that many/most of the dogs weren't fought but were repeatedly bred and/or treated in ways that made them so fearful of people that they have not yet recovered. It's not really ironic, given the proper temperament of the APBT, that the fighting dogs, like Hector and Leo, are some of the ones that needed no "rehabilitation" but just basic training and are now therapy/education dogs. It's also clear that a few of the dogs like "Jonny Justice" were someone's pets and had nothing to do with fighting or breeding. They have adapted with little problem to the life of a beloved house dog

There is also testimony, which I find wholly plausible, of the sociopathic brutality that Vick personally inflicted on dogs while killing them.

KMK: This is not like the Boudreaux or Faron cases and it's not about the 7 bogus signs of dogfighting. Vick is guilty as hell. And not just of dogfighting... far far worse.

jen

Of all the feedback and posts I read about this "vick wants a dog" thing, yours is the most real - makes the most realistic sense.

It really isn't about Vick, or at least it really shouldn't be. It's about the animals that the HSUS remains hardened and silent towards. Its that they had NO faith in the rehabilitation of Vick's dogs. Because dogs cannot donate millions to HSUS, but Vick can.

I believe that people have amazing potential. If a judge didn't already ban Vick from owning a dog in the future, then no one is going to stop him. But the focus should always be on the dogs - where those dogs are, how their rehabilitation was real and genuine and will help future fight bust dogs become loved members of our twisted society.

Great post, really thought provoking.

Larkinvonalt

For those people that believe Michael Vick has "done his time" and should be able to do what he pleases now, you have to remember that some crimes carry lifelong prohibitions. If you commit a felony, you can no longer own a gun.

While I consider dogs "property," (for legal rather than philosophical reasons) it is my considered opinion that like guns, Michael Vick should no longer be allowed to own dogs.

One has to wonder what he told his daughters when they inquired as to the fate of their previous pet. It was thrown into the ring with fighting dogs, as her death was "entertaining."

kmk

Brent - haven't read "The Lost Dogs" yet. It's on my list of things to do.

My husband and I have spent nearly 30 years watching cities kill hundreds and thousands of people's pets for one stupid reason or another. Perhaps that's one reason we can't get too excited about Vick. I don't care whether or not he gets another dog - in fact, I guess we're the only people on the planet that really didn't get too excited about Mike Vick in the first place. To us it was just one more sports figure possibly committing a crime. The main difference with Vick was people actually got UPSET about this. To quote comedian D.L. Hughley, and I've probably posted this before, "There's always been things we weren't supposed to mess with. Used to be white women. Now it's dogs".

Just about only sports figure that's served any real time for criminal acts, other than Vick, was Rae Carruth. If he'd had the sense to kill his pregnant girlfriend himself rather than hiring someone to do it for him he'd probably be playing football with Vick right now.

The one good thing that came out of this was there was some good publicity for the dogs. The bad thing is every two-bit stupid animal control officer out there is looking for the next Mike Vick. I've taken many phone calls and listened to many chilling stories.

One woman and her husband were driving through Missouri with their APBTs and stopped at a rest area. A highway patrolman wheeled in and yelled, "Are those Mike Vick dogs?". The woman thought for a second and said, "NO". Luckily, it was dark. He drove off. It doesn't take anything for the feds to drum up some "conspiracy" charge, and if you're in one state and live in another, look out.

I've had several phone calls from the same county in Delaware, where the new ACO definitely thinks he is going to find the next Mike Vick. If you're black and you have pit bulls, look out. One man called me to tell me the police and AC had shown up at his home when he wasn't there. they bullied his wife into letting them into the house, scaring her to death in the process . they kept insisting they had evidence that the man was fighting his dogs in the garage. When they went into the garage they found - a music studio. He'd converted the garage to a music studio.

Jean Keating

For everyone who believes that he should be allowed to have a dog because he sat in a prison cell for a few months, I say do you want a convicted child molester working in your child's classroom? Come on now, by your own logic, they paid their debt to society. You wouldn't hire them to babysit your kids, teach at your child's school, or coach your son's little league team. Yet you think Vick should own a dog after he repeated picked one up and slammed it over and over into the ground so hard, it finally died. Oh that's right, he can throw a football and suddenly that makes him better than everybody else. Excuse me while I go throw up after picturing what he did. If it doesn't bother you, then you have no soul.

kmk

It's all relative. I never said Vick should own another dog. I wrote that I don't care. There is only so much time for so much outrage and I'm more concerned about law abiding pet owners having their pets taken away due to stupid laws. Clearly the feds are being paid a lot more money than I am to concern themselves with Mike Vick.

Comparing child molestation to the Mike Vick situation is apples and oranges and an invalid argument. There are laws that prohibit convicted child molestors from living within X number of feet of schools and they're typically prohibited from working with children, but women allow The Boyfriend of the Week to move into their homes all the time and kill and molest their children, so there's room for improvement in that department as well. Municipalities and courts have far more control over who owns a pet than who can have a child.

If all the residents of Denver that were "outraged" about Mike Vick had focused that energy on city elections they might have removed the inmates at City Hall that are running the asylum.

I would like to know how many city councilmen that have voted for BSL, MSN, and pet limit laws were "outraged" about Mike Vick. that would be interesting and useful information.

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