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. jack

    why does he want another dog? did he find another method by which to kill it that he hadn't already tried?
    this guy should still be in prison.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben in Dallas


      December 16, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Edwardd Foothands

    "It is what it is" – the most idiotic phrase in the history of mankind.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jen B

    I feel sorry for his kids that they can't have access to a dog because of him; but he really should just suck it up and realize that he lost the privilege to own one with his actions.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Vick is alowlife

    I think Vick should get some Rattle Snakes and a couple of Pit Vipers and Cobras for pets. I am sure they would never bite this person as he just vile, mean and pure evil thug.... VIc your luck your allowed to play football professionally.... This is what is wrong with Amercia as it has no values letting low life thugs play sports who are not role models..... Anyone who can kills dogs is as low as a child molester in my eyes.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      "Anyone who can kills dogs is as low as a child molester in my eyes."

      Wow. Just, wow.

      That's pretty messed up to equate those two things with each other. Clearly, you must not have children – seeing as you place their lives (or abuse) on a par with dogs.

      Abusing animals = a totally mean-spirited action and a punishable crime (deserving substantial time in jail).

      Child molestation? I say that's 100x worse than any sort of animal abuse. When I hear stories of child molestation, it makes my blood boil, and that's something which should include 'lock & throw away key' kind of terms, with bonus sterilization after the very first offense.

      Really? I mean, c'mon. Really?

      December 16, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Charles Johnson

    I don't know how a person who has killed dogs by choking them to death with his bare hands could ever pet a dog or show affection, knowing that he's killed them in the past.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. R Clemons

    The only thing that sadistic monster is sorry about is that he was caught.
    Behavior does not change.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. DwenjustDwen

    The pitiful excuse for a human being should never be allowed the honor of having a faithful dog as a pet. I truly hate the man, and hope that he gets crushed in an excruciatingly painful and career-ending fashion every time he has a football in his hand. I do not forgive people who kill/maim/abuse innocent creatures.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MCGH

    Michael Vick should never be allowed to have ANY ANIMAL EVER AGAIN. That is his punishment for being such a horrible person. I don't care how good a football player he is or how many times he says he's sorry for his "mistake." A mistake is a one-time error in judgement. He tortured those dogs over and over again and again for years.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Disgusted

    I don't know what sickens me more, that Vicks wants another dog or HSUS thinks he should own a dog. I think Vick's got off easy, but regardless of how I feel about that, to let him own another dog? After he proved to be such a stellar owner of his past pets. Yes, this is such a fine idea – about as good as letting Manson out of prison.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dog

    This animal, no I take that back. Calling him an animal is too good a word for him. This piece of excrement should have his testicles cut off and put in his mouth and left to die. Just goes to show what the NFL is all about.

    December 16, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spark

      Relax. Its a Dog.
      I'm not saying what he did was okay. It was horrible.
      But don't forget, its a dog.

      December 16, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Not only should he never have a dog, he should never have been allowed to play football again.
      What type of message is the NFL sending out about their morals & integrity.

      December 16, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sara

      Sparks, dogs are still living beings. I work in a pet rehabilitation center for abused, neglected and abandoned pets. I held a pit bull that had been lit on fire in my arms when he had to be put to sleep. He was lit on fire cause lost a fight and the owner didn't want to have to feed a dog that loses. That would be like lighting your son/daughter on fire cause they failed a test, but it's just a child you can get another on right? The though of watching another living thing fight, die and being buried in a shallow grave like they don't matter doesn't sit right. I think that he should have been convicted of murder for every dog in a grave. Give him the chair.

      December 16, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. 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 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suzanne

      Because now he is speaking out against dog fighting... going to schools on his off days, telling his story ... encouraging others not to do what he has done ... working hard to change his life. That's why!

      December 16, 2010 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Alan

    Mr. Vick absolutley should not be allowed to own a dog or be in possession of a dog....and i do not agree that owning a dog will aid his "rehabilitation".He is an habitual dog abuser. Look at it this way: If a person repeatedly mistreats and physically harms a child should he be allowed to have those children returned to him ? what about having children of his own?. This is not good !

    December 16, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. malcolmphoenix

    Let me add my voice to the cacophony...letting this guy have another dog is like letting a pedophile adopt a child.

    December 16, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Stewart in Portland

    He can visit dogs while volunteering at the Humane Society or doing SPCA work. It's supervised. He could also help out by donating major cash to the same organizations, but, conveniently being pardoned to have another dog because he feels like it? – not so much. He should never be alone with a dog again – it's not worth the experiment.

    December 16, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Spark

    However, He should probably forget about dogs altogether. Just not really a logically progessive step towards rebuilding his image or rehabilitation.

    December 16, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
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