Opinion: Owning a dog would not aid Vick's rehabilitation
December 15th, 2010
03:37 PM ET

Opinion: Owning a dog would not aid Vick's rehabilitation

Let me begin with a disclaimer: I am a Dallas Cowboys fan and an opponent of drowning and electrocuting dogs, so I have two reasons to be skeptical of Michael Vick, especially after he shredded the ’Boys’ secondary Sunday.

So when I read this morning that the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback (seen above leaving a Virginia courthouse after his 2008 guilty plea) would one day like to own a dog again – well, I was more than a little gobsmacked.

Surely, I thought, he was making a passing quip. Of all the hell that rained down on him after his conviction – the prison sentence, the NFL suspension, the checkbook full of fines and retribution – the lifetime ban on owning a canine was the only provision that seemed a strong enough rebuke for his crimes.

Alas, it was no quip. Not only was Vick serious when he made the remark to thegrio.com, but he went into detail on how owning a dog could help him in his rehabilitation.

“I think it would be a big step for me in the rehabilitation process. I think just to have a pet in my household and to show people that I genuinely care, and my love, and my passion for animals,” he said.

Um, what? Love? Passion? Really?

I am all for redemption stories. I am doubly for second chances. I am as impressed as anyone with how the reportedly lackadaisical run-first Atlanta Falcons quarterback transformed into a potent and well-rounded gunslinger for the City of Brotherly Love.

I also admire that he is voluntarily speaking to children on behalf of the Humane Society to warn kids that dogfighting isn’t cool.

But I’m not buying love and passion.

When asked by a child in the audience at a Newark, New Jersey, school why he took part in such an abominable pastime, he said he didn’t know, according to NBC New York.

But when thegrio.com asked him how a purported animal lover could commit the crimes of which he was convicted, he blamed his upbringing and said no one ever told him it was wrong.

“I hate to use our culture as an excuse,” he began before doing exactly that, “but it is what it is, and that’s what happened, and that’s the way I thought about it growing up. ... I love animals. I love dogs. I love birds. I love all types of animals, but this was just the way we was brought up.”

Are we to believe that as he blossomed into one of the most dazzling quarterbacks to ever chuck a pigskin, no friends, no family members, no neighbors, no teachers, no one at Homer L. Ferguson or Warwick high schools, no one at Virginia Tech or in the Atlanta Falcons clubhouse ever told him that training dogs to fight to the death – and slaying them if they faltered – was a no-no?

I know the Humane Society and many Pro Bowl voters might disagree with me, but I’m not moved by the culture victim argument. Nor am I swayed by his claim that his young daughters miss having dogs.

“That’s the hardest thing: telling them that we can’t have one because of my actions,” he said.

With all due respect to the puppy-cuddling aspirations of young London and Jada, how about a nice guinea pig?

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Filed under: Animals • Dogs • Michael Vick • Pennsylvania • Pro football
soundoff (268 Responses)
  1. mikedog

    Mike done his time leave him alone,owning a dog wouldn't hurt as long asa its not a pit,,,,,,maybe a toy size dog...

    December 15, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • bruceben9

      if he leaves dogs alone, we will leave him alone. no dogs for vick,ever.

      December 15, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rhonda

      Come on now what difference does it make on the breed. If you are able to kill dogs it doesn't matter what kind. This is the only punishment out of all others that is a constant reminder of what he did. The man doesn't deserve a canine best friend. As for the girls lots of other pets will make them happy.

      December 15, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mimi

      he did the time for his CRIME. A felon cannot own a handgun, so how can Vick own a dog. I'll bet he gets both

      December 15, 2010 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mochajo79

      Many times a serial killer's first kill is an innocent animal(s) that has been tortured to death. They brutally inflict pain on an animal enough times that eventually, that leads them to kill other people in horrific ways. I see no difference in that and Michael Vick. He listened to innocent dogs yelp and cry in pain and continued actions until the dogs died, if he could do that I believe he could hurt and potentially kill a human. Their is something so barbaric in those actions that I would wonder if he can even be "rehabilitated." He does not love animals. If you love someone, you could not physically torture them until they died and get some sense of joy and pleasure from it. It's not love, but rather sadistic torment or a psychopath. I pray no one ever lets this man have another dog. Not just for the sake of the dog, but for the sake of the safety of society. He is sick. I don't care if he's a great football player; he's mentally sick.

      December 16, 2010 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      I agree, If you kill your wife and serve 15 years, that doesn't mean your not allowed to get a girlfriend....

      December 16, 2010 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • GOTTHUMBS

      IF you truly support this mans plea to own a dog...after what HE DONE (did)..... You really are a person of low moral and ethical values.....I pity you and those around you.

      December 16, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • chuch d

      Mikedud, why don't you give him your dog if you feel he should have another?

      December 16, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • fritzz

      are you mental ?

      December 16, 2010 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Will 18E

      Just like a convicted wife beater needs a new wife to get better?

      December 16, 2010 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Vick is alowlife

      This man is a pathetic low life that got his break because he is a football player for the NFL. He should still be serving time to understand that when you fight dogs its bad and when your dog looses and you pick it up and body slam to the ground repeatedly till its insides burst and bleed out that is not good either. So please spare us how he served his time as this person is a evil person without and soul and will never be accepted back in Society by many...... So yes Mickeal take your millions and your fans and parents who have you on the wall and think you are the best role model for their kids. WAKE UP VICK IS STILL VICK LYIING AND LAUGHING AS HE CASHES HIS MILLIONS SAYING YOU SUCKERS ARE IDIOTS BUT I WILL PLAY THE GAME.........

      December 16, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      It's not about the time he has already done. It's about the choices he made. Once someone commits a felony they are never allowed to own a gun. No matter how many hours of community service they do. Why should he be allowed to own something again that he once did so much damage with?

      December 16, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mary

    I can't imagine a life time of never being able to own a dog, that's pretty hard. They're giving dogs to prisoners, so why not Mike. I don't think he'll ever hurt another dog, not that I can imagine anyone being that cruel to a poor defensless animal. He has to feel guilty when he thinks back to how he treated those poor dogs. The only thing that bothers me is his saying it's the way he was brought up. I don't buy that. Who has to be taught not to kill an animal. No one ever told me it was wrong to kill a dog. This is something I knew from having a heart and compassion. Even with all that I still think he should have a dog or a few. I think he'd give them a loving home now, especially having little girls.

    December 15, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joan Cornett

      I don't think his little girls know exactly how horrific he was to the dogs he owned. If they knew exactly what he did they might disown him.

      December 15, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      Mary – the dogs in prison are to be trained... they are also checked out all the time... the people training them are under the watchful eye 24/7... I do think that this is a good programme, but to compare it to Vick on the outstide – no way

      December 15, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mimi

      The men that work with dogs in the Penal System are not convicted felons of animal cruelty.

      December 16, 2010 at 6:54 am | Report abuse |
    • GOTTHUMBS

      Pretty hard???!!!!.....Tell that to the dogs that were drowned and electrocuted on his property. Get a fricking clue. Banned from not owning a dog.....I'd rather He was banned from sports altogether. Banned from owning a dog is not even close to being hard of this guy. Your pathetic!!!!!

      December 16, 2010 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • fritzz

      Mary are you mental?

      December 16, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • SEM

      Sorry, Mary, but I disagree. The "One strike against him" is a BIG STRIKE! He is a cruel person, period. I have a pit bull – member of my family – a sweet, happy dog like most dogs giving unconditional love. Who can ever own a dog and be a monster like him? He's a liar and making excuses for his illegal and horrific acts. He knows that dog fighting is illegal – he had plenty of success & money, so he didn't do it for the money – so WHY did he do that? He ENJOYED being cruel. He is sick and should never own any kind of pet~

      December 16, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  3. Godsmack Rules

    I love animals! Than f@c%king pig should die a slow miserable death! There is no need to treat animals like that!

    December 15, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jim the Honest fixed income trader

    Dogs are nice and friendly.

    December 15, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mary

    DerpDigger, you're an idiot. I'm really surprised that your words are not misspelled.

    December 15, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • bruceben9

      derp obviously has other issues. a sick person, for sure. very sick.

      December 15, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jim the Honest fixed income trader

    I would even be willing to disburse 8 bucks an hour for an head of household to take care of my dog. If it came to that.
    Only part time tho.
    Its a comfortable wage and you get free health care in 2014.

    December 15, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Fred Bartkowski

    Ebony and Ivory live together in perfect harmony. Side by side on my piano keyboard oh lord why can't we.
    Heard that on the radio once a long time ago. Think it was Jim Mcgrithy or something like that.

    December 15, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. terri

    well George Clooney owned a pig and he ate pork, so there ya go. He loved one and ate another.

    December 15, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joan Cornett

      He didn't torture the pig that he ate.

      December 15, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      LOL, oink-oink...and if you are reading this George...wink-wink!

      December 16, 2010 at 3:36 am | Report abuse |
    • guest

      how do you know he ate pork????
      have you had dinner with him?

      December 16, 2010 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Margaret

      George Clooney did not eat pork!!!! he would not allow any pork on any of his movie sets either!

      December 16, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. EDD

    DERPDIGGER, You may not be, but your mama is!!!!!!! Get a life!!!!

    December 15, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy

    He's done his time, so let him get a dog? Really? So I suppose embezzlers should be re-employed as accountants after they do their time, and pedophiles should be allowed to run a day care after being released from prison? Ridiculous. And to blame his upbringing for his crime is just as ridiculous. He's a thug. Period.

    December 15, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwardd Foothands

      But he said 'it is what it is' so that makes everything OK.

      December 16, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. For Real

    So- someone needs to tell him it's wrong to kill other beings for not performing.. Someone needs to tell him it's wrong to steal dogs from people's yards and "adopt" them from the animal shelter to use them as Bait. Someone needs to tell him it's wrong to lie about your crimes. Someone needs to tell him it's wrong to dogfight.
    He doesn't want to use his upbringing as an excuse, but he has no problem saying it in every single interview.
    If nobody told him it was illegal to rob a bank, I wonder if that would be ok.
    Interesting.
    There are plenty of people that have come from less than advantaged backgrounds, that don't fight dogs. The fact that he leans on that excuse every single time makes me hesitant that he is truly remorseful for what he has done.

    It's nice that he is speaking out against dogfighting. But if you don't think that his PR people made him do it, I have a rock that wards off tiger attacks. While holding the rock, I have never been attacked by a tiger. Would you be interested in purchasing said rock?

    The NFL let him back in, proving that cash is king. Convicted criminals should not be playing in the NFL.. I'm all about second chances, but kids look up to these "men".

    No, vick should not be allowed to have a dog. NO NO NO NO NO. I wouldn't let him own a mound of fire ants.

    December 15, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Suzanne

    Michael has done his time, paid his debt, and is making amends. Once he owns a dog, and one day he will, he will realize even more than he does now, how terrible his crime was. What's sad to me is that he has never experienced the unconditional love and loyalty of a dog. Give him the opportunity to to do so. Vick is a role model for all citizens of this country who has made a mistake at one time, for turning their lives around. Hopefully more progressive and open minded individuals will be more open to giving second chances, to those that have paid their debt to society.

    December 15, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joan Cornett

      He did experience the unconditional loyalty and love of dogs. That is what dogs do. They love unconditionally and want to please humans. Then he tortured and killed some and got high on watching them suffer. He also let the other dogs fight to the death. He never loved dogs. Would you do that to a dog you loved?

      December 15, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mimi

      The Judge that sent him to prison also told him he shall never own another CANINE, or he will go back to prison. In Virginia if you commit 3 felonies you are in prison for life. He better watch himself...

      December 16, 2010 at 6:52 am | Report abuse |
    • GOTTHUMBS

      Your a weak-minded person!!!!! His punishment is no way near equal to the horror and pain He inflicted on those animals. If he wasn't caught....He'd still be doing it. Guaranteed!!!!! This mound of poop should be banned from sports for life!!!! Not having a dog is nothing near the punishment He deserves. As others have said....does his children even know what He did and others did on property? Has He told his children not to abuse animals? This guy is a punk that can play football...nothing else....It disgusts me how easy athletes get away with hanis crimes...just so fanatics can watch a game....thats it....a game.

      December 16, 2010 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • The Wolf

      Consciously torturing and murdering a sentient being does not happen by mistake, it is evil in it's purest form. There is enough evil in the world already, Vick doesn't deserve to be alive let alone payed milllions to play a game.

      December 16, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. miss b

    Ben Rothlesberger is a rapist so he shouldn't be allowed around women, right?

    December 15, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joan Cornett

      Probably not.

      December 15, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwardd Foothands

      YOU say he was a rapist, but for all we know you shove koalas up your butt.

      December 16, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. phil

    @miss b...no, Ben should be forced to live with this years winner of the Oprah Winfrey look-alike contest. Maybe Wal-Mart would donate a lifetime supply of batteries for her fav butt-toy. Then Ben would know how it feels. He and Ogra could shack up with Vick and Bernardo.

    December 15, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mimi

      Ogra I am ON THE FLOOR laughing- no tumor on the humor there...

      December 15, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ME!

    The way we WAS raised? Nice English! Tech grad – for shame. Apparently Vick was grown not raised, poor baby.

    December 15, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
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