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. Chellie

    Nick – he is donating money because that is part of the terms of his probation. It's not out of the goodness of his heart.

    December 16, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suzanne

      How do you know what his motive are? Did you have a conversation with him? Or are you expressing your disgust with what he did? There is a difference!

      December 16, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. patty


    December 16, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Suzanne

    Michael Vick has shown considerable remorse for what he has done. And sorry, there is just no comparing a child molester to a dog fighter! That's ridculous, and shows the bias and mentallity of the posters. I don't see any bull fighters being lock up and not being allowed to own animals. Just what is the difference. Oh that's right . . . it's ok to have bull fighters because "its the culture". And what about horse racing? Oh that's right, everyone does it. (culture again), so that's ok too. I see no difference in these "sports". An animal is an animal, not a human being.

    December 16, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • patty

      I am sorry your feel that way. what this thing people call michael vick is very sick.I mean look what he done to these poor dogs to go to a shelter an adopt a poor dog that already has had a rough life and use it for bait. i mean look he did.nt just kick a dog he drowned, slammed,shot and electorcuted them. this man had and has money he was'nt doing this for the money just for enjoyment..everytime i hear his name it make me sick..i have had dogs & cats all my life just this year alone i saved 2 kittens one that something tore off it's tail i took my own money took these kittens to the vet got shots, spayed and found them good homes .I drove over 200 hundred mile to a kill shelter to save a 12 week old puppy that someone left out in freezing cold and the shelter was giving her 3 days then put her down. i've never in my 50 years had a pet they are my babies i am glad to say i pass this compasion on to my son..i don't think mr.vick should ever ever be allowed to have any pets ever.

      December 16, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suzanne

      I have 2 dogs that I have rescued. I love them an incredible amount. They mean the world to me. Yet at the same time I can understand that Michael Vick did something terrible to an ANIMAL, not a human being. The negative posters here believe that animals are equal to people. That is there real agenda; It has nothing to do with Vick

      December 16, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mimi

      Please keep your thoughts to yourself- you just like antagonizing people- I mean really why do you care about Vick? I doubt you live in GA VA or anywhere Vick made local news. I know someone who adopted out one of the dogs in TX and the poor thing is still traumatized, even when it is medicated- yes there is Prozac for dogs. Vick stole its soul and capacity to trust. You think sitting in a jail with a bunch of guys who thought he was a cool NFL player was tough on him- gimme a break.
      His only regret was being caught- he could have hut down the operation at any time and chose not to. He has owned and killed more dogs than I care to think about- He could have told the truth but kept lying and lying until it was a joke how much evidence was piled up. HE knew he was breaking the law and torturing animals. He knew he was wrong. HE DID IT ANYWAY. And you will believe he has been redeemed? His privilege of owning a pet canine is gone- He needs to start getting chickens.

      December 16, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suzanne

      I live in Virginia. I absolutly do not like atagonizing people, but I can't stand by and read hateful, ugly, inflamatory comments. I believe in looking at the big picture, and I know all of us are complex human beings. I think the negative posters on this site probably mean well enough, but are also more comforable wih dogs they aee people. They relate better and feel safer wih dogs than people , and that is what their comments are really saying

      December 16, 2010 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mimi

      Patty I love you! May St. Francis keep you and your furry friends safe. Suzanne is just being difficult- sad really.

      December 16, 2010 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • jonesey harp


      I dont know who hired you but you really dont have anything of merit to say. How can you defend a man like this? You should become a protector for his kids since he has shown violence towards those who cannot protect themselves. This is NOT speculation but the facts.

      December 25, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sam

    Spark- your "just a dog" comment shows how little you know.
    Sara: Bless you for your compassion. I totally agree with you.

    December 16, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Polskie

    I saved the magazines that highlighted 'Michael Vick's Dogs' . . . just so I would never forget what this man did to a helpless creature that comes into this world just wanting 'to be loved' by his 'human person' . . and in my opinion Michael Vick is a poor example of the human race. Shame on the NFL for allowing this 'thug' back in it's rank and file and shame on the Eagles for allowing him to play on their team . . . but I guess as long as YOU WIN Football games . . . all is forgiven and forgotten. DO NOT ALLOW THIS MAN TO HAVE A DOG . . I AM SICK OF HEARING HIS NAME AND SEEING HIS FACE . . . let's stand up and be the voices of the dogs who cannot speak . . for if the dogs had a voice they would tell stories about Michael Vick that would bring tears to all of our eyes. Enough said!

    December 16, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tara

    This is the last thing that Michael Vick needs for rehabilitation. Let me see, should we start stocking alcohol in the homes of recovering alcoholics? Or let pedophiles who are living in society adopt a child? I believe that Michael Vick will never be fully rehabilitated from the desire of abusing dogs. And his reasons do not fit the profile of someone truly wanting a dog from the heart. He gives only self-fulfilling reasons like, "this will show people that I do care for animals" and "having a dog will HELP MY rehabilitation" and "this would be good for ME"....come on courts...read between the selfish lines. Do not ever give Vick rights to own a dog in his lifetime.

    December 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suzanne

      We allow people who have driven drunk and have even killed PEOPLE drive again. People who have had affairs are allowed to marry again. Shoplifters are allowed to shop again. Vick has shown that he is remorseful and he is turnimg his life around. Good for him! What hope he brings to others who have stumbled!

      December 16, 2010 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mae Powellall that has transpired.

    Why do you continue to down michael. Let the past go and focus on his brilliant tallent in the NFL. I sure he has ask for forgiveness for his inapporpriate actions and has paid a heavy price for those actions. Why can he not have a pet????The media plays the good guy and the bad. This man is on his way to the top. He has paid his dues for his mistakes. Get over it. He is a changed person and I believe in him.
    Good Luck Michael. I hope yu receive the MVP this year. you deserve it. You have proved it with your talent. No one can take that away from you ever!!!!!
    Mae Powell...Austin Texas!!!

    December 17, 2010 at 3:26 am | Report abuse |
    • PATTY

      MVP ...HA . I was thinking most vauleable dog killer of the NFL.....Who really cares about this guys talent when you look at this guy all your should see is all those poor dogs that suffer and die at his hands...all i can say is karma 🙂

      December 17, 2010 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  8. keirra

    now question,for those who support vick only cause hes a football player..answer this,if this was done to a child,would you support him for trying to get his kids back? i dont think so..the animals that survived are tramatized by these acts..if i remember in school,they said HUMANS are MAMALS..so we do share a connection with smalls creatures..and not to think mike is just tryin to lie to hs kids for what he has done?..this man knew what was wrong and still did it,blaming his past so he could get out of it..low call you un grateful s.o.b..and what will this act teach the younger americans? oh its ok to abuse and kill animals just blame it on someones else and you will get away with it

    December 17, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. Pam

    What a sorry piece of humanity Michael Vick is....but let him get a pit bull. Maybe it will eat him!

    December 17, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. j j

    This what ever is not human in any way

    December 17, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. j j

    He deserves to be locked upi and the key thrown away'

    December 17, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. j j

    I have no mercy on his soul. That is if he even has one.

    December 17, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. j j

    It worries me me he has children.

    December 17, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. j j

    What this thing did is unforgiveable!!!!!! He is not human. How dare that person comparing this act to horse racing and to shop lifting. How crazy is that ???????

    December 17, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. j j

    This Michael Vick should have been put in the cage with the dogs he had done these acts of abuse to and let them show him what pay backs really are like.
    Are better than that let me be put in a cage with this monster and show him how it feels.

    December 17, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
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