Today is dog fighting awareness day. There are many things I could say on this topic. First & foremost, dog fighting is not okay in any way. It is scary that there are still people in our enlightened world that think nothing of fighting dogs for sport. Dogs are smart, loyal and loving animals. They have feelings and fear just like us.
There are those in the public eye that have showcased their blatant disregard for animal life using their wealth and resources not for good but instead to finance organized crime. Michael Vick would of course be a starring example of this. Although it has been several years since Vick was arrested, charged & deemed guilty….we must not forgot the atrocities he committed. These actions still occur across the country by non-famous people every day. I get that he did his time and paid restitution but I would not go so far as to say he is a changed man. He got caught. There’s a difference.
There is also much we can learn from his case. Michael Vick is an extreme example but a good one nonetheless. I feel the need to continue speaking out about him because of the level of abuse he committed with his dog fighting ring. This was not a mom and pop shop where a few people brought dogs and sat around drinking beer while dogs tousled. Michal Vick, a “star” football player, a wealthy man who had multiple cars and houses chose to make more money by employing his family and friends into a crime ring. Michael Vick bought the property, built the houses, bought the dogs….all to make a buck and give jobs to people. Evidently as a member of a national football organization he didn’t have resources to give legit jobs (yes I am being sarcastic).
I have to say, when the Vick case first came to light, I was appalled but didnt know many details. I have since gone on to know many of the “Vicktory” dogs through their Facebook pages. I have read “The Lost Dogs” by Jim Gorant, a Sports Illustrated” reporter who caught considerable flack for putting out the truth. I cant encourage enough people to read this book. It is chronological and detailed. It is riveting and horrifying. It also clearly shows Vick knew his actions were wrong and carried out these acts anyways. He was an active participant who not only actively fought dogs …but killed ones that lost. If you look up nothing else, look up the story of the dog only listed as “the little red dog.” She was used for bait and in her fright, ran from the pitbulls that were used to attack her. Was she admired for her bravery? Did anyone show her sympathy and decide she had had enough? NO. NO. NO. Instead Vick and friends picked her up and slammed her onto the ground several times, breaking multiple bones. Next they spun her around each holding one end of the dog like a jump rope, before breaking all of her legs and torturing her further before burying her no the property, hidden away from the compound where all the other dogs were kept. The account and body of the little red dog is what sealed Vick’s fate and contradicted his story that he was unaware of the criminal activity. Vick’s own groundskeeper who witnessed the death of the little red dog assisted authorities in telling them what happened and locating her body. Folks, there’s no coming back from being that much of a sociopath. I’m sorry but there just isn’t. It is appalling that Vick and others like him aren’t given more severe punishment for animal abuse and killings. Its horrifying that because Vick is a famous athlete almost no one in his hometown–who should have been horrified at the level of crime Vick brought to the community–instead wanted to show support for a”a star athlete” and “role model.” There are role models everywhere …doctors, lawyers, ministers…surely the town of Newport News isn’t so hard up for role models that the only ones they can think of are hardened criminals?
Its sad because like so many others Vick chose to stereotype pit bulls by choosing them to fight. Pit bulls by nature are pack animals. They are loyal and loving. They don’t want to fight each other. What they want, is to be loyal to their owner and please them. Its heartbreaking to think of trash like VIck capitalizing on this nature. Its even more heartbreaking to realize just how many people tried to push this under the radar so that a “hero” wouldn’t be caught. Vick himself, upon being convicted and ordered to pay restitution chose to disregard the court order. He bought more houses, cars and vacations. He tried to go about life and ignore the consequences that were handed down to him….until his assets were frozen and he was forced to pay up. No, this is not a hero. This is not a changed man. He may be free but society needs to hold him and others like him accountable every day to ensure that trash like him aren’t tempted to repeat their heinous acts….and ensure others holding him up as a “role model” aren’t tempted to do the same.
Props, kudos & Commendations to Jim Gorant (author of “The Lost Dogs” ), Jim Knorr, a federal agent instrumental in seeking justice for Vick’s dogs and seeing him brought to justice, BAD RAP a rescue in the Bay Area that took several “Vicktory” dogs, Hector’s parents, Handsome Dans parents and so many others who adopted these dogs and gave them love and helped their lives end better than they started.
Link to a bill being introduced in W.V. to destigmatize dog foghting victims…show support for this so other states will be encouraged
Some of the Facebook pages of Victory dogs, many of whom went on to become therapy and service dogs As Hector the Pitbulls page said on his last day here on Earth “in the end, I won the game.”