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« Dog bite fatality story -- and a case for media bias | Main | Good Media Coverage following Vick's prison release »

May 21, 2009

Comments

MichelleD

Chance that Vick will team up in a serious partnership with Tio's project (And make NO mistake, this is 100% Hardiman's project that H$U$ gave some $$ to put their name on it) - I give it a generous 5% chance.

95% chance H$U$ will merely use it to raise money to push more legislation to turn me into a criminal for having a pit bull and a treadmill.

I agree, Vick could make a HUGE impression on at-risk youth. But H$U$ brought dog fighting to the inner city and they make too much money off of it to seriously put real efforts into ending it.

EmilyS

Michelle, you are generous to suggest 5%. chance of success

Pacelle is a master manipulator and hypocrite. Vick is a spoiled egoist who thinks he is owed a living because of his talent.

Pacelle, as we know, hates pit bulls and wants them all dead. Vick has never sincerely apologized, and there is ZERO evidence that he has a clue about what he did wrong. And the sports media ( like the recent ESPN piece of crap) is allowing the "oh don't those dogmen love their dogs" line to permeate the atmosphere:
http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=4179327

There is ZERO chance that any dogs will actually be saved as a result of the Pacelle-Vick circus.

Julie

The only good thing that could possibly come out of a Vick/H$U$ partnership is the chance that they would reflect so poorly on one another that more people would learn the truth about H$U$.

Sorry to dissent so strongly, here, but I don't understand how people think that Vick could have "changed". If you don't know that hanging, drowning, electrocuting and fighting dogs over an extended period of time is wrong, no amount of jail time is going to teach you. We're talking about a person who is very possibly a sociopath. There is just no compassion or empathy involved when you are directly responsible for incredible acts of violence like that.

Christ, it isn't that we're bleeding heart dog lovers, it's that we recognize a maniac when we see one.

Brent

Michelle,

I happen to agree that the chances are minimal that the egos/agendas of the two parties involved here won't screw this up...but if they could make it work it could be really a perfect match. These two either really need each other, or really deserve each other...we'll find out soon.

Julie, I guess I'm more sypathetic here. I think it's easy to underestimate the role upbringing plays in this. If you are brought up in a world where everyone you know thinks dog fighting is "ok", it would be unlikely that you would ever, as a young person, even question that....especially when the world's largest "humane" organization has also repeatedly determined that these animal's lives are not worth the effort to save them.

I've done a lot of work with kids in the urban core of Kansas City -- and it is amazing the sense of right and wrong that they have developed because of the people they are surrounded with. Heck, one kid even referred to marriage as "something only white people do." I wish I was kidding.

So I may be more sympathetic here than most. Maybe to a fault. But really, if these two parties were able to figure out how to make it work, they could do some pretty amazing things. But I agree that there is a really good chance that HSUS will pay Vick a lot of $$, Vick will make a couple of "send $$ to help us end dog fighting videos", and Wayne will declare it a success.

That'd be a shame....but at this point, this is a pretty desparate reach by HSUS...and if they let this blow up in their face, it will further solidify their decreasing importance in the animal welfare movement.

Julie

I hope that you're right to be more sympathetic. I understand where you're coming from in that if you're brought up in a world where dogfighting is "okay", you're not likely to question it. For me, it is the pure violence and coldness it would take to not only fight them, but to hang them, drown them, electrocute them and not think there is anything wrong with it. Like I said, I hope that you are right, and something good could come out of this. But I remember crying when I was at most 5 years old after seeing a dead baby bird, and that had nothing to do with upbringing, you know?

Carianne

i believe always looking for the negative around this area may be perpetuating public perception.

brent, you say it best when you say the majority of people want to do right but don't know what right is. maybe, we should look at mike vick and HSUS in the same light. maybe, they did not know what right is. maybe, vick thought right was dog fighting b/c that is what he grew up around. maybe, hsus has outdated temperament testing and adoption criteria, as many rescue/adoption organizations still do. does this make it excusable for either? no. but, maybe we should see this as an opportunity to make right through education and give it a chance.

Susan Fox

http://badrap-blog.blogspot.com/2009/05/op-eds-on-vick-news.html

Read the account by Donna of what she found out, if you can stand it. What would you think if the perpetrator wasn't a famous football player? He's got a LOT to prove.

Brent

The fact that he's a famous football player is the only reason any of us is talking about this.

The reality is that a large percentage of the people who serve in inner-city outreach are former gang members and reformed prisoners. Project cease fire, the urban group in Chicago that is run by Tio Hardiman (who HSUS partnered with for dog fighting) admits that many of their outreach staff is of this demographic:

http://www.ceasefirechicago.org/conflict_mediation.shtml

The fact is, former gang members can relate to these inner city youth in a way that neither I nor Donna could ever hope to. So the fact that Vick is famous has little to do with my opinion. If he is remorseful, and wants to make a difference, he would be a fantastic spokesperson for the cause.

But yes, Mike Vick has a lot to prove. I haven't seen anything from him that gives me a reason to believe that he is a reformed man. For that matter, HSUS has a lot to prove in this regard....as their track record when it comes to dogs from fighting operations isn't any better.

I think there is an opportunity for a reformed Vick. And I think (hope?) HSUS that learned a lot about how rehabilitatable these dogs can be from Vick's dogs (in spite of their own insistence they all be killed) -- and then the public outcry when they pushed for the kiling of 150 of Ed Faron's dogs in Wilkes County.

I am the first to say that it's a long shot. Two parties with shady track records making it work will take a miracle. And I will be very openly critical of HSUS if it becomes nothing more than a money-making ploy and fails. But if they can make it work, it really is a perfect opportunity for a person and an organization, who are shakey ground in the court of public opinion, to make it right. They may not. In fact, they likely will not. But if they do, the dogs will certainly benefit...which is what we should all be striving for.

EmilyS

I suppose in some perverse way, dogfighting might still be "ok" in some cultures even in our supposedly more enlightened time. It certainly was OK in most of the USA until fairly recently. By most accounts, the surviving Colby (Louis) is a "gentleman".. and it seems to be clear that he did fight dogs himself in the past and some have speculated that he does not question where his dogs go now.

But Vick's crimes go beyond dogfighting.. and as Tim points out at the BR blog, he pled INNOCENT to cruelty charges. The treatment of the non-fighting dogs, and those he killed for "nonperformance" or just for "fun" is the behavior of a vicious sociopath.

Remember, Vick has NEVER expressed remorse for what he did to those dogs. For him to be held up as some model of reform to kids is so wrong that only HSUS could consider it.

Donna

>The reality is that a large percentage of the people who serve in >inner-city outreach are former gang members and reformed >prisoners

The key word in your statement is 'reformed.' If Vick has no heart for the dogs - and I don't believe he does - then even the most well crafted script will fall flat. And unless federal prisons now offer proven programs to help torturers break through their pathology, Vick is undoubtedly operating with the same impulses that caused him to torture and the same morals that allowed him to stand back and LAUGH while his dogs were screaming.

But let's say he finally breaks down and realizes how much suffering he's caused his dogs - Then, there could be room for remorse and reform. Even then, remorse takes meeting your victims' suffering face on and wearing it and grieving it and being humbled by it. And reform takes TIME and a lot of falling down and asking for professional help. I highly doubt that a few months in prison brought him to the kind of revelation needed to get beyond the intense amount of suffering he inflicted ... Certainly not enough to model humane practices to young people.

Street kids have 20/20 vision when it comes to insincerity and they'll sniff out this whole PR opp the minute he walks in the door. But hey, everyone will get autographs and their photo in the paper so it'll be a good day for them.

Brent

Donna, I agree that if he isn't reformed -- by which it would be a total change of heart -- the folks on the street will see right through him and it will fail. At this point, none of us has enough information to know whether that reform has taken place in Vick -- he certainly has not done anything publically that would lead one to think that.

While I agree that this is a long shot -- particularly given that neither party on this has been the best at dealing with pit bull type dogs, and neither has been terribly remorseful in how they've mishandled things, there is a chance on this that the two could provide a good opportunity for each other to make a positive difference for the dogs. It's a long shot, but I will root for it to succeed nonetheless.

MichelleD

If this "partnership" doesn't work (and we all agree it probably won't), I hope that all the people in the AW world do more than complain on chat boards and will actually hold H$U$ feet to the fire. They have been responsible for more dead dogs than Vick could have killed in a lifetime. For me, this is both of their LAST CHANCE. One more strike (I actually think their both past due) and I think we all need to conduct an ALL OUT campaign to shut H$U$ down.

skennedy

HSUS is USING Vick. Enough said. You would do better to mention the anti HSUS video out of Atlanta, which exposed H$U$ on 5/14/09, then HSUS caused it to be removed online. Then got the company to even threaten PetPac to take down the transcript.Numerous bloggers had their video links taken down. PetPac is not taking it down, and now the video is in foreign countries as well as the USA, and the AG may re open the Katrina investigation.If WP had the proof that Katrina funds were spent on Katrina, he would have had that spreadsheet front and center. HSUS is a deceptive con job pretending it's not animal rights.Currently in CA trying to outlaw just about everything.

I think you mean well Brent. But Vick isn't the important factor, it's HSUS using the guy. We are not shrinks.

Brent

In all fairness, I have been more than critical of HSUS in the past - -including mentioning the Atlanta video last week. And they've deserved every ounce of the criticism. and yeah, I think it's quite likely that HSUS is going to prop him up like a puppet, have him read a few blurbs, make a TV commercial/online video, pay him a chunk of change, and walk away.

However, HSUS has taken it in the chin over their policies on pit bulls over the past 12 months...particularly in light of the rehabilitation of Vick's dogs, when the world could finally see that these dogs really DO deserve a chance and don't instantly need to be put down -- as has been HSUS policy over the past couple of decades. But HSUS didn't learn their lesson, and got beat up in the court of public opinion in the Wilkes, CO case. If they have any concept of what public opinion is out there regarding themselves, and Vick, they'll try to make this work. And if they make it work (which would require dramatic change from both parties in order to pull off), it will be very good for the dogs.

I think it's really easy to poke at HSUS and this situation and say "see, they're at it again." And that may be true. Or we can accept that what's done is done, and it is up to us to guide what our expectation is out of HSUS on this.

And they may fail -- and so be it. It will go down on a list of continued failure on the part of animals by HSUS. But I still hope for this to work because in the end, it would be better for the dogs if it did.

Donna

> But I still hope for this to work because in the end, it would be better for the dogs if it did.

In theory, you are spot on.
.... but karma may provide some interesting twists in the plot.

Hopefully no animals will be harmed during the making of this most interesting movie....

Windy

Vick may have served his time for racketeering, but he plead "Not guilty." for the charges of animal cruelty. His 'remorse' for his actions was well-rehearsed. This whole collaborative effort with the HSUS is not his idea- it's a clever PR move staged by his handlers to help buy him public sympathy and help make him appear more deserving of re-instatement to the NFL- his real motive behind all this.

Is he a "powerful and persuasive" entity who can sway at-risk youth and thousands of rabid football fans to buy into his latest rhetoric? Sure. Most sociopaths are disarmingly convincing when they want something; it's part of the clinical definition. Aligning with Vick is like making a deal with the devil. He'll be a messenger alright, but the message will be, "Orchestrating and personally conducting the maiming and killing of countless dogs for pleasure and profit while lying, bold-faced, about it for six years is OK, as long as you convince enough saps you're a victim of your past and were too weak to make moral decisions on your own. Oh, and it helps if you have a good PR machine and lots of photo ops with the doggie crusaders."

MichelleD

Just thought of something...has Tio Hardiman or any of those involved in the Chicago program met with Vick? Either way it will be very telling...

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