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. Jena Woods

    You have got to be kidding Micheal!!!!!!!!!!! Please keep the animals away from Micheal Vick. Rehabilitate or not he DOES NOT DESERVE ANY ANIMAL BIG OR SMALL EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS GUY IS PURE EVIL. To say he loves animals, is an understatement....... Go back into that hole you crawled out of!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 16, 2010 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. lolarites

    That kind of sadism requires evil in ones soul that may never be able to overcome. Please do the dogs of this world a favor and stay away from them.

    December 16, 2010 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  3. gypsy

    You think Vick should own a dog. Did you know that he and a "friend" did the following: Smal Red Dog; liked people either would not fight or could not. To dispose of the dog they did the following: vick grabbed the dog by either the two back leg or front legs, the other "person" grabbed the other two legs. They then swing the dog AROUND INTO THE AIR LIKE A JUMP ROPE AND SLAMMED THE DOG INTO THE GROUND. When doing this multipul times did not kill the dog, one of them then jumped on it's chest until it stopped breathing. Yeah, this guy loves animals and has compassion. NOT ONCE have I heard him say, I was wrong. He does says he's sorry, more like sorry his a$$ got caught.

    December 16, 2010 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mindi


    December 16, 2010 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • The Wolf

      No, he has not paid a significant price, he should have never been allowed to play football again, so we will dog him as long as we have to hear about him. AND QUIT SHOUTING!

      December 16, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      When did he ever say he was sorry for what he did to dogs?
      Any apology I ever heard or read was for letting family, friends, teammates, fans, employers down, not once did he apologize for the horrific treatment of the dogs.

      December 16, 2010 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Scottie

    If he had been convicted of child abuse would we be entertaining the idea of him adopting a child as rehab?

    December 16, 2010 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • The Wolf

      Amen, Scotie, my dogs are my children, so in my worldview he is the equivalent of a child murderer.

      December 16, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ali

    wow. is it really up to us as human beings to determine the sincerity of another person's repentance? only each of us as individuals know what's really in our own hearts. as a pet owner, i abhorred what vick did and am financially supportive of our local shelter organizations. however, as a person who too has made mistakes, i would never say in good conscious whether a person or not is truly sorry. that's just not our place to decide that.

    December 16, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • The Wolf

      Consciously torturing and murdering sentient beings DOES NOT HAPPEN BY MISTAKE!!! Drinking too much happens by mistake, running a red light happens by mistake, but torture and murder is not just a mistake!

      December 16, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • ali

      i agree that ithat actions were calculated all in the name of profit. but once again, who are we to say that another human being is really not sorry for their actions. we can't possibly know that.

      December 16, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Wolf

      Ali, I'm sure he is sorry he was caught. If he hadn't been caught, how many more dogs would have died.? Aside from the dogs he brutally tortured and killed, he has also contributed to the demonization and genocide of an entire breed of dog. It is not the Pit Bull's fault that some humans are wicked.

      December 16, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Buzzwad

    Mmmmm "When will you kookie people realize that human beings are the highest order of life on this planet?!?!?!"
    Who's the Kook Mmmmm? Shouldn't you also add that human beings are also the LOWEST order of life on this planet when it comes to torturing anything for amusement?

    December 16, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  8. Michael

    Reading this article, and the replies from the peanut gallery, shows me the hypocrisy in America. People in this country raise such a hue and cry over this specific issue of animal rights and animal abuse (rightly so in this case, it was awful) but most couldn't really be bothered to care about the abuses to human beings around the world, much less to do anything to help. Besides that double-standard, I really retch at the fact that so many of these people can't allow for a person to make an awful mistake, then atone for it by showing they understand what they did was wrong, and let them actually get on with their lives. It seems to me that this country must be – other than Michael Vick – filled with infallible human beings... what a blessing!

    Make no mistake – I was not a fan of Michael Vick the quarterback nor the human being before. Now, while I don't particularly take a stand on him one way or the other, and I certainly don't condone anyone acting as he did towards ANY LIVING THING, I am totally open to see someone make wholesale corrections in their life and their frame of mind. He is a success story for the penal corrections system and society, wherein so many other stories of failure abound. Basically, I'm saying that people should just get over it. Don't forget what he did, but if he's working to correct it, then forgive. Clearly, if he ever did something like this again, then he's done – he's then proven incorrigible and should be punished again and not given another chance. But, with one strike against him, he's changed his stance and looks to be positioned to lead a productive life.

    December 16, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • The Wolf

      Maybe, if he killed one dog, he'd have one strike, but he committed mass murder. He struck out. He should have been put to sleep the way a dog would be for simply biting someone. Anyone capable of killing a dog, is also capable of killing a human, and should be treated as such.

      December 16, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Hey Wolf, I agree with you – if you're able to do that to ANY animal (cat, dog, squirrel, etc.) then there's something pretty screwed up in the way you view and value life. And, it's not a far stretch for that person to step up to doing that to fellow humans. With that said, I knew people growing up that did some pretty horrendous stuff, and were totally messed up and lost. But, they – like it seems Michael Vick is trying to do – somehow got straightened out. I'm open to that happening – and in fact, I would hope that more and more convicted felons find a way to turn themselves around and actually become 'productive' members of society (I know plenty of non-criminals who never achieve that). Otherwise, without the ability to rehabilitate, we're going to have to open prisons on every block to house all of the incorrigible criminals (one-time or repeat), or get government into full-time state-mediated executions.

      December 16, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Wolf

      Michael, if you or I did this, we'd still be in prison, and no one would ever hire us for even a minimum wage job. The only reason he gets a second chance is because he's good at a game. I believe in forgiveness, but I also believe in atonement. He has not properly atoned for the taking of lives.

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

    IIt would be an atrocity for this man to own any pets whatsoever. Everyone who thinks he should own another pet should watch the videos, on their entirety, of what this man did to these animals. He needs to redeem himself with God and not with us, so his concern of him showing society he is rehabilitated by owning another pet is unfounded in my eyes. Anyone who has done something like this to an animal is a very sick person. I say to Mike, sorry man, no dogs for you!!

    December 16, 2010 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dan

    When Michael Vick stepped into professional sports, people treated him like a god. He lost his way and did a horrible thing. I am glad he was thrown in jail and I am glad that even today, he is financially strapped. Having said that, give the guy a break. He wants to prove that he can treat dogs good, then let him. My reasons?
    1) Every human being even remotely interested in Michael Vick or dogs will be watching his every move. He knows it. If his dog even looks remotely like there has been any type of abuse, the world will descend on him so hard that he will never be able to show himself in public again.
    2) It took a lot of guts for him to come out and make this request. He knew that there would be a huge backlash and he still did it. His present actions and the work he has done with teaching others about his mistake shows that he is trying.
    3) Deplorable acts are not just limited to dog fighting. Drug dealers, rapists, murderers and other people are let back into society and no one stops them from talking to kids, marrying someone or anything else. Why do they get 2nd chances?
    4) People tend to think that if we make an example out of Vick, it will stop others from doing the same thing. Wrong. We have executed people in the past for horrible crimes, yet those same crimes still occur.
    5) If you truly believe that people do not change, then why let anyone out of prison ever?

    December 16, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Very well-said, Dan. If he cannot be allowed to turn himself around after committing this crime, then why even release him from jail? And, certainly, while animal abuse is disgusting and disturbing behaviour, there are a great many other crimes which deserve much more time & punishment than he received, which in fact receive far less (if any at all).

      December 16, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. The Wolf

    I'm sure the guy that beats his wife to death also wants another woman too. Vick isn't worthy to be in the company of a dog, they are far better than this sub-human. I look forward to him being paralyzed on the football field.

    December 16, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      That statement says a whole lot more about you than it does about Michael Vick.

      December 16, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • The Wolf

      Yea, I hate violent criminals, and I love dogs. Vick can go to hell!

      December 16, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Agreed. I also hate violent criminals. And I love all animals (not just dogs). But that has nothing to do with the fact that, by wishing catastrophic injury to a man who committed a crime against dogs and was punished and is now seemingly trying to 'make everything right' in his life, you're just showing yourself to be unrealistic, unforgiving and callous. (I imagine you're the type that would cheer for the paralysis of a person, just because they play on an opposing team to your own).

      Or, apparently, you're one who's never done anything wrong in life. Congrats!

      December 16, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Wolf

      Sure, I've made mistakes. Mike, but no one got killed, and once again dogs don't get tortured and killed by way of mistake, it takes a conscious act of EVIL. I wish him harm because I'm sick of hearing man-crushing fanactics praise someone, who frankly does not deserve to be alive, it infuriates my sense of Justice.

      December 16, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jenna

    Sure, he can have a dog. He can have about ten of them. First the dogs have to be starved for a month. Then Vick has to strip naked and be tied down. Then he has to be smeared with blood and have meat wrapped around his body. Then,
    for a brief second when the ten dogs are feasting on him, he can romantically tell us how much he misses dogs.

    December 16, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      I hope your not a vegan

      December 16, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      I also like how you are going to starve the dogs for a month....do the words "animal cruelty" mean anything to you?

      December 16, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jen B

      Dumbest comment I ever read, what are you a child? In order to teach someone about animal cruelty you want to first starve several dogs and then teach them to eat human flesh ,which would thus necessitate their immediate extermination?

      December 16, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sean Nimmons

    What's interesting to me is the fact that nobody knows how he feels inside, so everything is speculation. Plus, nobody on this post was there and actually saw him do anything. As I understand it, Poor choices led him to his demise. But guess what? He paid for it by going to prison for a couple of years and has been working his but off to make his life better. This man has kids who want a dog...give it to them. He's not gonna harm his own childrens' dog. Some people are just ridiculous. Get a life and stay out of his! Chances are you're probably just jealous that a man can fall from grace and recover as quickly as he has. Worry about your own lives instead of his. There are a lot of people who have done a lot worse than him and don't even get a mention in the news, and if they do it's never for this long. He's human people! Nothing more, nothing less!

    December 16, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben in Dallas

      We're not worried about his life....we're worried about the lives of the innocent animals he has taken and the potential for him taking more.

      December 16, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob Vegas

      I was raised a christian and went to catholic school from K-12. We are taught to turn the other cheek, but it is hard for us to do that. Dog backwards spells GOD (I'm not calling God a dog), but a dog is as forgiving as God is. Although the Dogs died in vain, it helped to bring Vick to justice. Our society has come to extremes and this is our demise. Vick did a horrible thing and served his time. He should be allowed a dog as part of his rehabiliation and continued probation. BUT! he should have to wait until 2012. I do not condone what he did, but at the same time a person who repents and changes their ways should be allowed back into society.

      December 16, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • patty

      Who cares how he feels inside..how you think them poor dogs felt..No his kids should never have a pet thanks to him..and nobody but him..The kids can get pets when they are all grown up and moved away from vick and if i were them never never let daddy around their pets......

      December 18, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ben in Dallas

    Seriously? Seriously? No, really, SERIOUSLY? Anyone who supports this has never had a pet that they loved. Let's just let all the convicted pedophiles run daycares too. What do you think? Worth the risk? Part of his punishment is/was that he can never own a dog. That is/was his punishment. End of story.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Theresa

    Michael Vick you make me sick. I hope one day a pit bull will bite off your dick

    December 16, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben in Dallas

      LOL... well put!

      December 16, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patti

      If I could arrange that, I would.

      December 16, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
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