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. Margaret

    The NFL should be deeply ashamed to have brought him back! What he did to those innocent animals is unspeakable! He should have been put in the gas chamber!

    December 16, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suzanne

      Do you know how deranged you come across?

      December 16, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • denco8

      yah I'm gonna have to agree with the deranged statement on this one...

      December 20, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. AnimalLover

    Unbelievable! I hope no judge ever grants him the opportunity to ever again have any animal in his possession, let alone a dog. I agree with malcolmphoenix – letting Michael Vick have a dog or any other animal for that matter is like allowing a pedophile adopt a child.

    December 16, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suzanne

      News flash ... a dogs are not as important as childen! Would you say that shoplifters should never be able to goint a store again?

      December 16, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ilove my Boxer

    Vick getting another dog because it will be good for his rehab... that's a great idea! Oh and how about we give foster kids to child molesters so they can have help with their rehab!

    December 16, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suzanne

      Have you heard?!? Dogs are not considered the same as children. We don't spend thousands of dollars educating and taking care of dogs as we do children.

      December 16, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Stephanie

    I have said this over and over-what he did he knew was wrong-don't blame it on his culture- blame it on his upbringing.His actions back then show you the true man he is,cruel and heartless. His big regret getting caught. I live in the Philadelphia area and because of him am know cheering the Denver Boncos. As for his girls why not know the truth, thier father is a cruel man that kills animals for sport. Great role model- makes his girls proud.

    December 16, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • denco8

      good luck cheering on the denver broncos... they are super good this year. Not to mention that some of the team has had legal trouble themselves

      December 20, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Edward

    Sure let him have a dog......and why you're at it, start the baby-sitting program for convicted child molesters!!!

    December 16, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suzanne

      Why don't we lock up every dog owner who leaves their dog at home alone (gasp) while their OWNERS ( not parents) too. After all, you can't leave your children home alone. Oh that's right .. dogs are NOT considered the same as children

      December 16, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tamara

    Slimeball. The ONLY thing he regrets is getting caught.

    December 16, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suzanne

      Really? How do you know that? Have you sat down and talked to him face to face? Or are you simply expressing your disgust for what he did?

      December 16, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jonesey harp

    From the book "The Lost Dogs" written by Jim Gorant, the senior editor of Sports Illustrated.....

    As that dog lay on the ground, fighting for air, Quanis Phillips grabbed its front legs and Michael Vick grabbed its back legs. They swung the dog over their head like a jump rope then slammed it to the ground. The first impact didn't kill it. So, Phillips and Vick slammed it again. The two men kept at it, alternating back and forth, pounding the creature against the ground until, at last, the little red dog was dead

    no more dogs for micheal vick// That was the "bonus" for a good fight. for those of you who think hes rehabiliatated. Lets give Mike a simple test:

    have him strip down
    place jumper cables on his ear
    sell tickets to a giant pool
    have vick get in and turn up the current the cables
    then all his fans could cheer as he thrashes around in the throes of excution.
    after all thats what he did for dogs who would not figtht

    I think Michael Vick has done enough. We dont want to hear him complain about his community service. In the name of the three fight dog rescues we have helped no no no no no nonoo more dogs for you Michael Vick. Im worried for your children and its not because theres no dog . Why doesnt he show them the pictures from the car axles and show them daddys old dogs? He has never once asked to see any of the dogs that survived his ordeal has he?.

    December 16, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suzanne

      I haven't heard him complain about community service ... I 've heard him talk about what an honor it is to talk to kids. Why don't you focus on getting rid of horse racing, fox hunting or bull fighting, which is just as barbaric as dog fighting?

      December 16, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Debra

    This human being (to state he is human is questionable) should never be given the chance to own a dog as a pet. In fact, he should never be allowed to own any pet. This man has proven his disgusting actions and he could never be trusted with a helpless animal. The only way anyone would know he is treating a dog right is if someone were with Michael Vick 24/7. As we all know, you do not know what goes on behind closed doors. I have had animals all my life. I have been involved in rescue for 30 years. Please do not let Michael Vick own any INNOCENT DOG OR PET OF ANY KIND IN MICHAEL'S LIFETIME.

    December 16, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suzanne

      There is no doubt Vick is human. His mistakes and misguided actions of the past prove that. And his ability to reason, to decide on a new course in life, his will to change, prove that.

      December 16, 2010 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Cathy

    Time and time again we go soft on criminals who are violent towards animals. His viscious crimes against dogs should keep him away from dogs eternally.
    Let me ask, if a pedofile wished to adopt a child after he had rehabilited and volunteered, would we let them? I don't think so. Now tell me where the difference is. Horrible acts of violence against such an innocent victim should be treated the same whether they walk on 2 feet...or 4.

    December 16, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suzanne

      The difference is dogs are not considered the same as people. We don't protect and care for dogs as we do children. We don't have agencies, schools, laws, for dovs as we do for children. Children are our future, dogs are not. THAT is the difference.

      December 16, 2010 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Alan Klopman

    Allowing Michael Vick to own a dog would be like putting Sarah Palin in charge of Endangered Species. It would be like giving David Chapman a gun and the addresses of other beloved Rock Stars. It was a crime to allow this animal killer back into football. I wouldn't let this premeditated animal killer own a hamster.

    December 16, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mimi

      I like the way you think!!

      December 16, 2010 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bentleygirl

      I completely agree! I have the pleasure of being owned by a rescued fighting pit bulll named Raisin and my husband and I have dedicated our lives to educating people about pit bulls and how amazing they are. The horrors MIchael Vick subjected his dogs to disgust me. I cannot understand how he could have the gall to refer to himself as an animal lover. What a crock! My husband is from Philly and an avid eagles fan...but stopped supporting them completely after they signed Vick. Many professions bar those with convictions from re-entering the field; it is a tragedy that the NFL does not have the same stipulations. Allowing that poor excuse for a human being to own an animal again is an insult.

      December 28, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ricky

    the man has payed the price, heres the question what would jesus do? he,s already been forgivein so it does not matter what the world thinks.we don,t have the right to judge only the father can do this ,if don,t forgive others our lord will not forgive us, so think about.

    December 16, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chellie

      So you would let a convicted pedophile who is sorry for what they have done babysit your child?

      December 16, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suzanne

      Dogs are not the same as children

      December 16, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rafael

    Never again!

    December 16, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Carie

    I believe in 2nd chances on some things. I think Michael Vick should be allowed to own a dog,but I also think he should
    donate money to animal shelters,animal rescue and other donations to animal related organizations.

    December 16, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • PATTY

      I believe in 2 nd chances too.but this man did'nt just forget to give his dogs food and water. He tortured these poor dogs.i mean what kind of person hangs, drowns and all the other stuff he done to them. He is sick, has to be. He not only needed jail time he needs mental help cause nobody in there right mind or with a heart could do the things he done.And as for his kids wanting a pet they can thank their dad for robbing them from that joy nobody to blame but him..

      December 17, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jan

    Psychologists agree that cruelty to animals is one of the first signs of a sociopath. Michael Vick is guilty of this to a degree that there is no rehab because a sociopath cannot be rehabilitated

    December 16, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • patty


      December 16, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Polskie


      December 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chellie

    He may have done what has been required by the terms of the court, but never once have I heard him express remorse for what he's done. He blames his "culture," his neighborhood and anything else that's handy, but has not taken personal responsibility for his actions. As long as he keeps blaming everything and anything, I don't think he is a "changed" person at all. Remember people, he not only tortured and killed the poor dogs that he used to fight, he did the very same thing to his family dog. Maybe he should do some volunteer time (highly supervised) at a shelter for abused animals before any determination is made as to his suitability for having a dog. And he can take his kids too to teach them compassion and caring for animals. You don't think his kids saw how dogs were treated? Maybe they aren't ready to have a pet yet either.

    December 16, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
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