Anyone who knows me well knows that I can be outspoken, opinionated, and passionate about things I believe are right. While this blog is, for me, the chance to share my lighthearted side and to be not at all political, there has been something nagging me this week. No, more than nagging, raising my blood pressure to the point where I feel as thought I might explode. On Monday, President Obama called the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, and during this conversation praised him for giving Michael Vick, dog abuser extraordinaire, a second chance.
I’ll preface the rest of the post by being political for just a second. I did vote for, campaign for, and donate a substantial amount of money to Obama’s campaign. After his really serious lack of judgment this week, I don’t know what to think about him. To me, this is about more than just dogs.
Let’s put aside for just a second the disgusting crimes that Vick committed and look for a second at Obama’s actions. There are thousands of law-abiding, decent Americans who are currently unemployed, some worrying about being unable to give their kids holiday gifts, others worrying about being able to give them food, heat, and shelter this winter.
Perhaps rather than chatting about the job status of a criminal millionaire, he should be worrying about the unemployment of the rest of us.
There are young American men and women dying in two wars every week and thousands more who could not spend the holidays with their families all so that we, including the President, can sleep a little safer at night.
If President Obama wants to praise or make role models of anyone, perhaps he should focus on those who are making real sacrifices.
The man (?) lied to his employer publicly, repeatedly, and caused a national scandal. And the greedy fools that they are rehired him. While Vick disgusts me, I do think he should be able to get another job, just not one that pays him millions and turns him into a hero. There are better role models for our children. Don’t get me started on his wanting to own a dog. That would be like allowing a convicted pedophile to teach Kindergarten.
Do you think your employer would rehire you if you did the same?
President Obama is a pet owner. Michael Vick stole people’s pet kittens, cats, and dogs to toss into the fighting ring to be torn apart. Would the President want to be in the position to explain to his girls what happened to their pet dog?
Ultimately, the President probably has better things to be doing and should have thought a bit about his decision to go there.
Now let’s talk about Sick Vick. You might not like dogs. You might hate animals. And you likely have a media-fueled judgment about American Pit Bull Terriers. But if you enjoy torturing animals for the sake of entertainment and profit, there is something wrong with you. Dog fighting isn’t what a couple of doggies in the dog park do. It is a vile, forced activity that is spurred on by horrible abuse and neglect, and it is proven that these dogs are abused into violence.
Dogs found at his compound had their teeth ripped out entirely, others were hanged, electrocuted, drowned, starved, beaten, and stabbed. As mentioned above, he also stole the pets of other people, kittens and dogs, from their homes and yards, to be used as bait in the abuse ring.
I personally don’t think the American public understands the extent of what went on behind the fences of this compound or in other dog fighting rings. I have seen photos of the bloodied faces of dogs abused into fighting, and while I thought about linking to them here, I just couldn’t bear to look them up again. They are that grotesque and disturbing. Completely unforgettable. If you want to see, I am sure a quick Google search will pull them up.
I keep reading posts from people who claim that Vick served his time. To that I say, so do many other animal abusers and sex offenders who serve sentence after sentence after sentence, each time their crimes escalating, because that is what happens when sick people don’t get treated. Michael Vick didn’t steal a car or get in a bar fight. He, like a rapist does, overpowered smaller, powerless victims, repeatedly, and who knows what it will be the next time? This is obviously a larger issue with our justice system that I won’t get into here.
What people not familiar with the case don’t realize is that he served time for racketeering, not animal cruelty or neglect. Two years in a prison are not enough for someone who claims to not understand the difference between right and wrong. He is more than likely to offend again, and when he does, he will certainly have the resources and backing to do it. He is just not okay. It’s not like he stole a car; he has a scary, disturbing bloodthirst.
Another argument I keep hearing: Pit Bulls are vicious killers. At the end of this post I have included a few links to facts. You have more than likely seen news stories about people being mauled by dogs. What the glitzy media doesn’t often share is the circumstances. A dog living outside on a chain under abusive, starved conditions might become violent, whether it is a lab or a Pit Bull. And, there have been attacks by other dog breeds that have been immediately pinned on Pit Bulls before the breed of the dog was even known.
What I can tell you is that I have volunteered at the MSPCA in Jamaica Plain since September 2007. In those three years, I have walked and snuggled dozens of Pit Bulls and have been afraid zero times. They are smart, loyal, and athletic, the same traits that have made them a favorite of abusers.
If you are still reading (thank you!), I will end this post on a lighter note and with some happy stories . Many of the dogs seized from Vick’s animal cruelty ring are now thriving. You can even become friends with some of them on Facebook (Handsome Dan, Vicktory for Cherry, Victory for Squeaker).
There’s my piece. And now I just want to move on to focus on the recovery of these and other dogs and working to right the wrongs that people like Vick get away with. And it would be nice if the President would recognize the people doing the volunteering and service work in the country.