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. phil

    Vick's treatment of animals isn't a mere crime, it's a charachter flaw that doesn't go away just because you did time behind bars. His animal abuse is a side-effect of being Michael Vick. He needs to change, not just simply stop fighting his dogs.

    December 16, 2010 at 2:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. phil

    Charactar rather?

    December 16, 2010 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. phil

    Hey tomcat.

    December 16, 2010 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
  4. tomcat

    btw@ cnns elliot mcpinhead. a nice guinea pig, do some research on them. they need as much time if not more than a dog. if anyone does not need a pet you would be high on the list.

    December 16, 2010 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
  5. phil

    Who is elliot mcpinhead?

    December 16, 2010 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. tomcat

    phil whats up. sorry about my rant, too many years working in a petshop a while back lol

    December 16, 2010 at 2:20 am | Report abuse |
  7. tomcat

    another talented reporter from cnn that got his crayons back and was the author of this fine blog

    December 16, 2010 at 2:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Eliott C. McLaughlin

      Hi phil and tomcat. I'm a little confused here because you both seem to agree with me, yet you're calling me names. I was not saying that a guinea pig would require less care, only that it might be a suitable substitute for his daughters because, in my opinion, Vick shouldn't be around dogs. You both seem to concur.

      December 16, 2010 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  8. phil

    Oh. Pet shops give me the heebie-jeebies. I'd last about half a day working in one. So did the petshop you worked at catch on fire, hence your true calling?

    December 16, 2010 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. tomcat

    no, but i had a dalmation that could stop, drop and roll. Sparky also rode on the rigs.

    December 16, 2010 at 3:09 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mmmmm

    There go those animal lovers aka human haters aka anti-human, again! When will you kookie people realize that human beings are the highest order of life on this planet?!?!?!

    December 16, 2010 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Marissa

      You are just sick...go see a Therapist....I am not kidding.

      December 16, 2010 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
    • The Wolf

      We are all just animals, no animal is better, that's just a stupid human value judgement.

      December 16, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. really?

    Monday-vick adopts dog.
    Tuesday-Dog forced to 'play' with other dogs while others watch and bets who dogs will 'play' well
    Wednesday-Dog died from 'over playing'

    December 16, 2010 at 6:22 am | Report abuse |
  12. Marissa

    Are you kidding me? Coming from a woman who has a Masters in Science Psychology, I have to say this is the joke of 2010. Can you say Sociopath ??? This man killed these poor animals with his bare hands. He hung them from trees with nooses...Because of his recent success as an athlete, everyone seems to forget that he is a very ill individual, who should not be permitted to own a goldfish!!!!

    December 16, 2010 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Courtney

      I couldn't agree more Marissa!

      December 16, 2010 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
  13. Courtney

    This makes me so mad. VICK HAS NOT "DONE HIS TIME" he hurt and killed animals and should NEVER be allowed to own another animal EVER! I watched CNN this morning and they mentioned that he has been rehabilitated on the football field, are you serious? He is a stoopid man who should be locked away for good. It is like giving a crack addict drugs because he is in recovery. I wouldn't trust Vick with my car keys, what is wrong with Americans?????

    December 16, 2010 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  14. Karen

    That's like letting a "rehabilitated" pedophile adopt a child. If he wants his kids to be around animals, they can volunteer at their local animal shelter.

    December 16, 2010 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  15. phil

    @Elliot...first I heard of me calling you names. Anyway, Vick doesn't need a doggy buddy lesson. He needs intensive therapy and a change of heart. If he were to continue on his abusive course, his heart would harden and before you know it, he needs a bypass. We see this a lot with used car dealers and politicians. (sorry about lumping you used car dealers in with crooked politicians, but some of you are sorta unscrupulous?)

    December 16, 2010 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Eliott C. McLaughlin

      My apologies, Phil. You were ASKING tomcat who "mcpinhead" was. My reply should have been addressed to tomcat alone. That said, I agree wholeheartedly with you. Vick needs to get to the heart of why he thought it was OK to treat animals this way, and I'm not sure owning a dog to ostensibly demonstrate his "passion" is really a deep, meaningful solution. Thanks for your comments!

      December 16, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
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