It’s not (just) about dogs.

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.

Read about the rescue of the Vick dogs by Best Friends

Pit Bulls, Fear vs. Fact

The Lost Dogs, a beautiful book about the dogs abused by Vick

Some info on Cherry and his family (one of the dogs seized from Vick’s cruelty ring)

And, finally, a beautiful video about a Bull Terrier

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Tags: dogs, Michael Vick, Pit Bulls, politics

  1. Megan’s avatar

    I just have to say that I didn’t realize the extent of the abuse (though I knew it wasn’t good), but I did wonder why any team would employ Vick after what he did. I agree with you that he can certainly find another job… but not one where he’s looked at as a hero and role model. I think you made some really strong points here, and I hope others will read this and recognize the things you did. And I’m so glad you get to spend time with the MSPCA snuggling and caring for dogs.

    Reply

  2. Lee’s avatar

    Oh man I just have to comment. We just adopted a Pitbull/Boxer mixed from the MSPCA a month ago (his name is Cash and maybe you have met him there!) and we could not be happier with him. He is the most trainable, attentive, playful, loving dog I have ever known and I think your post is so right on that I just had to leave this comment to share my little experience. Thank you for writing this!

    Reply

    1. traveleatlove’s avatar

      It’s so funny that you commented; I was looking at the photo of Cash on the MSPCA Facebook page yesterday. I think I did meet him and am so glad he has a home. I can’t say enough how much I love the MSPCA and the work that they do. They are such patient and kind people, and I have seen huge transformations on animals there. I wish more people would consider adoption over breeders! Happy New Year to you and your new addition! :)

      Reply

    2. Emily’s avatar

      You’ve made some really good points here and it’s great that you devote time to the MSPCA. Michael Vick – and anyone that would mistreat an animal, for that matter – is disgusting…

      Reply

    3. Daisy’s avatar

      What a super amazing post. I read every word, and no, I had no idea the extent of the Vick abusings. I have always taken the stance that he is a sick, twisted, disgisting individual, and now you justify those thoughts. I don’t believe what he did warranted a second chance. you make an excellent point, what if the neighbrohood pet was the little Obama girls dogs. what an awful human being and worse that our president called his boss when there is soooo many more prominent issues to be worrying about.

      Reply

    4. Grace’s avatar

      Michael Vick is definitely only sorry that he was caught. I can’t imagine what the conditions would be like if he hadn’t been caught. . .
      You can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat animals.

      Reply

    5. Jennifer’s avatar

      I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog, but this by far is one of your best posts. I couldn’t agree with your more. As a sports fan and an animal lover, I think Michael Vick is a disgrace on his best days, and god knows what on his worst. Does he deserve a second chance? Sure. Almost everyone does. But to be thrust into the spotlight and applauded as a hero? Not so much. I am deeply disappointed in our president.

      Reply

    6. Kelly’s avatar

      I totally agree with you on this post. I enjoy dogs, but I wouldn’t get one (love to travel too much and both Eric and I are not home during the day), I don’t think people would describe me as a “dog person” since I spent most of my childhood afraid of dogs. HOWEVER, even I’m not the kind of person who treats my dog like a human, I still think that Vick’s actions are inexcusable, and I agree that it’s ridiculous he is back playing football. Furthermore, if he is, I definitely don’t think Obama should be spending valuable time PRAISING anything about him!!!!!

      Reply

    7. MelissaNibbles’s avatar

      Yes! Everything you said. I was confused and dissappointed as to why Obama would even comment on this. I believe in rehabilitation, but going from jail to playing football isn’t exactly noteworthy. The fact that Vick recently stated he wants to own dogs again makes me sick.

      Reply

    8. K.C.’s avatar

      Thank you, thank you, thank you. This post articulates perfectly so many of my frustrations and general outrage about this confounding moment.

      Reply

    9. alicia’s avatar

      Great post – and incredibly well written. I still can’t understand how sports-fans can believe that Michael Vick has paid his debt. His crimes make me incredibly upset and I totally agree with everything you’ve said!

      I read the sports illustrated that told stories about the rehabbed dogs. Their stories were so amazing.

      Reply

    10. Karen’s avatar

      This is a really great post (sorry to just be reading it now). I am a HUGE lover of dogs as well as a huge fan of the Philadelphia Eagles. At least I had been my whole life…until recently. Now it’s hard for me to watch the team that I have been cheering for my whole life. What Michael Vick did sickens me and it’s hard for me to enjoy watching the team I’ve loved my whole life. But football aside, what he did is beyond wrong and the fact that President Obama called him at all is horrifying as well. One would really think that our President, is this great time of strife and stress in our country, would have much more important things to do with his time. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it…I could go on and on, like the others, but I’ll stop.

      Reply

      1. traveleatlove’s avatar

        Thank you for commenting! I was actually a little nervous that I would some flames from Eagles fans on this post.

        Reply

      2. Kim’s avatar

        The whole thing sickens me. And Obama requesting a second chance for this vile creep sickens me even further. As you said, MILLIONS of us are unemployed and desperate for another place of employment and can’t get one. I live in a state with nearly 15% unemployment and cannot get a job to save my butt. The priorities of our president are absolutely appalling.

        I’ll leave it at that before I begin a long, angry tirade about this issue. I simply cannot believe they will offer a second chance to someone as disgusting and cruel as this monster but normal, hard-working folks continue to suffer. This country has definitely gone to hell.

        Reply

      3. Kelley’s avatar

        This is a really great post. Sometimes having an opinion gets a bad rap. Opinionated people often push and strive for necessary change and succeed. If everyone was “indifferent” enough not to speak up, the world might be a sadder place.

        Cheers to you for having a voice!! A very well spoken one at that.

        Reply

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