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. banasy

    Are you kidding me? A role model for turning his life around after a mistake? He achieved unbelievable success and had already risen above his roots when he committed these crimes! And he had ample opportunity to experience the unconditional love of those poor dogs when he was training them to kill other dogs!!! And you think it's fine to give him another dog so he can experience that "love?" You don't see the problem here? If he killed his daughters, would you condone him having more children if and when he ever got out of jail? One of the terms of his sentence is being banned from owning a canine for life!!! He already has unconditional love from his family...leave the poor dogs alone! I'd say he's wealthy enough to get his kids a pony, but that would be dangling another carrot in front of his thug face....

    December 15, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. duke

    Leave the Man alone!
    You hard core bible thumpers who've never done wrong in your lives,are absolutely as Unhappy as the Taliban,you are both cut from the same cloth!!
    You Unforgiving,do as I say,or I'll hurt you christians,should be Cheering the "fact"that in America you can repent,be forgiven and still prosper,after all anything else looks just like your Middle Eastern brethren!

    December 15, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joan Cornett

      What you posted didn't make any sense.

      December 15, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • For Real

      I would recommend putting the bottle down before taking to the keyboard in an attempt to write something intelligent.

      December 15, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |

      Dope....er duke...YOUR a puttz. This has nothing to do with religion...although I heard Vick found it again......AFTER being caught....ALL criminals find religion....AFTER their caught. This guy is just conning you fools again....Your so easy to forgive sports athletes......this guy is a heaping steaming pile of dog poop. I hope one day....his children really know and understand. what their 'Daddy' did with his bare hands.

      December 16, 2010 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Right on!!! I could not have said it any better.

      December 16, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Edwardd Foothands

      Black people are so damn STUPID.

      December 16, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. kai

    So, what are you having for dinner?

    December 15, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joan Cornett

      All animals should be treated humanely including the ones we eat. Animals that are eaten should be killed quickly and humanely. It is the right thing to do. It is compassionate. We all should be thankful for animals. We could not survive without animals for all sorts of things including food, love, companionship, etc. What Vick did and many others do and have done is finding pleasure in the suffering, torturing and killing of an animal. It is called sadism and is sociopathic behavior. He and others chose to be that cruel. No one forced him to be that cruel.

      December 15, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |

      Its not dog, and I didn't torture it before killing it. IF you truly support this mans plea to own a dog...after what HE did..... You really are a person of low morel/ethical values.....I pity you and those around you.

      December 16, 2010 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mogwi

    Yeah. I'd really like a bag of coke to help me with my rehabilitation as a former drug addict.

    December 15, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joan Cornett

    Excellent article.

    December 15, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. kai

    Does it have a mother? A face with eyes, a nose and a mouth? When it is slaughtered does it feel. pain, is it afraid, does it run for its life? Does it bleed red, have a heart...

    December 15, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. duke

    What is a double standard?
    Mike Vick,
    Ben roethlisberger!
    That's a double standard.

    December 15, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edwardd Foothands

      What is an idiot? YOU.

      December 16, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Fred Bartkowski

    We must ban fishing.

    December 15, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. For Real

    Banasy- excellent post.

    Ok then Suzanne, would you be comfortable for allowing a convicted child abuser to adopt a child after going to prison and "doing their time"?

    Doing your "time" in Jail doesn't give you a free pass once you get out. For many, it's along road to redemption. For the wealthy, it's a fairly short road when they can run and pass a football.

    December 15, 2010 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |

    i miss my pit-bull he was awesome. he loved killing squirells and rats and stray cats that wondered in the yard. he was always nice and good till someoone or something would try and go in the backyard which was his area. i had a german shepard also that was alright.. i remember one time the neigboors cat came in the back yard when they were sleeping in the bushes and when they caught it they were playing tug-o-war with it.
    i can tell you for a fact that cats don't have nine lives..

    another time my granma told me to get up and check on the dogs cause they were makeing a bunch of noise.. when i went in back there was one of those bird-dogs in the corner with dog slobber all over him..i opened the fense and let him go..anyways i think that was the last time that dog jumped into our yard.

    December 15, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • LB

      You let your dogs kill other animals, and seem pleased about it? That's pretty sick. They could have easily gone on to attack humans.

      December 15, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |

      it's not my fault those animals went into my back yard. maybe if the owners had kept them inside or leashed or in their backyards they would still be around. what am i suppose to do keep my dog caged? in his own backyard? are cats exempt from the leash law or does something give them to right to go where ever they want?

      December 15, 2010 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |

      DISGUSTING PIG..........

      December 16, 2010 at 4:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Carole Clarke

      In a way you are right that your dogs were in their yard and they went after "intruders". Those other animals should not have strayed into the yard, reality can be very grim. But what bothers me is your calm, smiling acceptance of their attacks. It's the same thing I see in Vick, a lack of humanity, compassion. I hope that unlike him, you didn't enjoy watching your dogs tear apart some poor neighbor cat that inadvertantly came over your fence. In Vick you see the predator looking out of his eyes, the words mean nothing.

      December 16, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chellie

      And if a neighbors kid got into your backyard, that would be an intruder too and it would be okay if you dog killed him/her also. Hey, an intruder's an intruder....right. You're a sad & pathetic person. I pity you.

      December 16, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Fred Bartkowski

    How do you know this Joan.
    Guarantee you one thing. As well as he is playing, sociopath or not, if he want a dog he will have a dog.
    Marketing machine has made these "pros" our gods and there is no denying a god.

    December 15, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Fred Bartkowski

    Sounds similar to the show Deadwood.
    The bodies were always disposed of in the pigpen.
    What I mean is it is wonderful the pointer type dog survived.

    December 15, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. cmr

    if u think this guy who blames everything/one but himself should be able to own a dog again. think about this. Mikes lost so much, Dog fighting is/can be very profitable other wise dog fighters wouldn't do so. If for a second he thought he could get away with it, how long before he'd make headline news for this same crap?

    December 15, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Wanda

    If Michael V is wanting a dog to prove something, which is what his comment suggests...("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."), I wouldn't think he should be allowed.

    My other concern with him owning a dog or pet of any kind, for that matter, is that I would assume that he is an extremely busy individual and "pets," of any type, require care and attention (ie., vet visits, walks, baths, and daily interaction, almost like a child, but certainly another family member in your household).

    I don't know his history, whether he has ever owned a dog and cared for it, or not. If he ever did, then I would have to assume that he considered(like many other uninformed folks)the american pitbull breed to be a "mean breed" and felt no remorse in profiting from the suffering of these beautiful creatures.

    I think that the best thing for Michael to do, would be to have regular contact with a pitbull terrier that is need of care through a shelter, etc. If he is sincere, I think that he should be able to foster a pitbull terrier puppy, or suitable adult with supervision (someone from his jurisdiction and shelter would have to be willing to give him the chance, and take the time to check in on him at regular intervals for wellbeing, progress, etc).

    If he is genuine in wanting a dog for companionship, he should be given a chance to know what that feels like...but not to win back fans and/or peoples trust. It should be a personal thing. Maybe, he wants and needs, to know what all the fuss is about...why people love these creatures so much.

    I had always felt, in watching his college and professional career, that Michael was a decent God-fearing individual and was blessed because of this. I can only believe in my heart that he had no comprehension that those "fighting dogs," have individual personalities and hearts, just like people. I don't think that he, or anyone involved in this type of barbaric activity, could have ever known the loving, nurturing, loyal and extremely protective nature of these dogs and other breeds. It's not the breed, it is how they are raised, treated and used. You can make almost any dog mean, but they come into this world looking for basically the same things people do, food, shelter, love and companionship. It is their loyalty to their owner/provider and willingness to please them, that allows the dogs to be misused, tormented and tortured. This is not natural, it is so unbelievably wrong and yes, unforgivable, but only if one is given the chance to understand and change and they do not. Anyone that abuses these wonderful gifts, to create this altered mean/fighting existence, should be very ashamed of themselves. If they are not, they should not be forgiven!

    A word to you Michael, I would like to believe that you have never known the loyalty and love of a good dog, that somehow you have been mislead to believe that certain dogs are mean or bad, therefore, you didn't have a problem with profiting from their pain. I hope that some day you will know the great joy that comes from welcoming a dog into your life and will look back with sorrow on what you did and the consequences thereof. God bless.

    December 15, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mimi

      You leave your dogs with him- not me thank you!

      December 15, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • gypsy

      News Flash, at the same time he was "fighting" the dogs he had a female pit bull that was his pet. she stayed inside with him most of the time.

      December 16, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  15. phil

    People who "own" pets and keep them for personal pleasure are out of touch with working animals and how their master's deal with them. It's like the difference between how a parent trats his child with how that same child is treated by child-labor law violators. Remember kids working in coal mines? Vick's personal problems have little to do with dogs. His mistreatment of animals is just a side-effect...something that happens when Vick is around. He needs a complete makeover, not a doggy lesson.

    December 15, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
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