9.01.2009

michael vick served no time for animal cruelty. not one single day.

I would normally re-write this in my own words, but I can't. When I think about the torture, terrorizing and sadistic extermination of dogs, I can't write, I can't think, I can't function.

Michael Vick, a murderer, is playing professional football again. Upon his return to the field, he received a standing ovation from Philadelphia Eagles fans. Football fans all over the US are claiming "he did his time," and now deserves a second chance.

He did not, and does not.

I read this on Facebook, and I'm running it as-is. CAUTION! Contains horrific animal-cruelty details.
For everyone that has participated in the Victimization of Vick with all of the comments of "He did his time, he paid for his crimes" - think again.

Perhaps, you should be aware of the facts of this case and more informed of the actual "crime" this man paid of his debt to society. Perhaps, you would then think twice before complacently handing out your second chance arguments and support.

If your mind still forms the argument of "We all make mistakes" - perhaps you will feel differently knowing that children are sporting dog masks to football games mocking the dead victims of his crimes. Laughing - joking - making fun - in support of their great idol with their parents right behind them screaming "To hell with Dogs - we love Vick".

If this would not lower your head in shame, then I fear for the monsters this has unleashed in division across this United States in support of this great American hero.

Michael Vick "did his time" for Federal Racketeering, he served his prison sentence for Federal Racketeering - ONLY.

The crimes, the heinous acts and crimes of Animal Cruelty - Michael Vick plead "Not Guilty".

In a brokered Plea Agreement, the charges of Animal Cruelty were dismissed. Thus, unpunished were these crimes, by this man, against humanity.

The known, proven, admitted crimes of murder, rape, and torture of innocent defenseless beings was thrown out - dismissed - in the Plea Agreement.

The crimes in which, Michael Vick, systematically, prepared, planned, participated and executed, repeatedly, against these animals, was left unpunished in the legal justice system.

This is a known public record of fact.

Below are the opinions of Michael Vick's deserved second chance by Bad Rap's Tim Racer and Donna Reynolds.

Tim Racer -
It is no mystery that Michael Vick wants another chance at the game, the money, and the fame that he once possessed. I am all about forgiveness and second chances – when one is truly remorseful . There is of course a world of difference between feeling badly about a wrong doing, and feeling badly about being caught. Who knows where Roger Goodell stands on this? I am disappointed that there has to be so much time spent to make such a seemingly simple decision about whether this man should ever play the game again. He ran a major felony dog-fighting operation since he first became a professional ball player – for his entire six year career. He fought and he killed countless innocent animals, some by repeatedly slamming their skulls and spines into the ground until they broke. What exactly does it take to be released from the NFL?

Twenty three months in prison does not make a sick (in the truly medical sense of the term) individual like Vick, better. Mike has teamed up with the HSUS to to good things now. His agents made it so. Good move. Maybe that will help him play again.

For those who believe Vick has paid his dues, I would have to differ. He has not and will not spend a single day behind bars for animal cruelty as his federal charges were for racketeering. And as for remorse, Vick pled NOT GUILTY to animal cruelty charges at his state trial – and it was dropped in a plea deal. How can this man be remorseful for his crimes if he does not even believe he was cruel to animals?

Donna Reynolds -
I admit I'm stuck on this one because I just can't get myself away from the swimming pool in Vick's yard. I first learned about it while riding in the back seat of a federal agent's car that sweltering Tuesday back in Sept 07. The agent was assigned with escorting us to the various Virginia shelters so we could evaluate "the evidence" otherwise known as 49 pit bulls - now known as cherished family pets: Hector, Uba, Jhumpa, Georgia, Sweet Jasmine and the rest. I'm not sure if sharing insider information with us was kosher, but you know how driving down long country roads can get you talking. I imagine she just needed to get some things off her chest. She said she was having trouble sleeping since the day they exhumed the bodies on the Moonlight Road property. She said that when she watched the investigators uncover the shallow graves, she was compelled to want to climb in and pick up the decomposing dogs and comfort and cradle them. She knew that was crazy talk, and she was grappling with trying to understand such a surprising impulse.

Her candor set the tone for this entire saga. Everyone we worked with was deeply affected by the case. The details that got to me then and stay with me today involve the swimming pool that was used to kill some of the dogs. Jumper cables were clipped onto the ears of underperforming dogs, then, just like with a car, the cables were connected to the terminals of car batteries before lifting and tossing the shamed dogs into the water. Most of Vick's dogs were small - 40lbs or so - so tossing them in would've been fast and easy work for thick athlete arms. We don't know how many suffered this premeditated murder, but the damage to the pool walls tells a story. It seems that while they were scrambling to escape, they scratched and clawed at the pool liner and bit at the dented aluminum sides like a hungry dog on a tin can.

I wear some pretty thick skin during our work with dogs, but I can't shake my minds-eye image of a little black dog splashing frantically in bloody water ... screaming in pain and terror ... brown eyes saucer wide and tiny black white-toed feet clawing at anything, desperate to get ahold. This death did not come quickly. The rescuer in me keeps trying to think of a way to go back in time and somehow stop this torture and pull the little dog to safety. I think I'll be looking for ways to pull that dog out for the rest of my life.

So that's where I'm at. A second chance for Vick? An HSUS sponsored spokesman for ending torture? In my mind's eye Vick is still in the shadows at the side of that pool. As many times as this scene plays out my head, he hasn't yet moved towards that dog to pull him out. Not there yet.

*Bad Rap Statements Courtesy of: Bad Rap Vick Dog Blog/Behind the scenes*

Copyright 2009 Shelley Bright - Tucsondogexaminer@gmail.com

Bad Rap Blog

Bad Rap Vick Dogs Blog

16 comments:

redsock said...

If Vick wanted to simply kill the dogs, that would have been easy. Maybe shoot them or give them an injection. Not nice, since their only crime was refusing to fight, but humane on some level.

But to think up a novel way to torture and kill them, then going and getting all the equipment, and then getting the dogs ... and to stand there watching it and then go and get another dog ... there is something far more evil going on.

Vick clearly liked doing this. It wasn't the down side of running the dog fighting operation. He went well out of his way to torture these helpless animals.

It must have given him intense pleasure.

L-girl said...

Sadism.

johngoldfine said...

But what do you do with him?

A Pete Rose bet on baseball--fine, ban him. Mike Tyson gets toothy in the ring--fine, ban him too.

But Vick's crimes had nothing to do with football. The idea that only fine upstanding men should be allowed to play a sport is silly--Ron LeFlore comes to mind or Ty Cobb.

Hard cases make bad law. The thing that upsets me, apart from what Vick did which is unspeakable, is the willingness of the fans to cheer him. I know what's wrong with him--WTF is wrong with them?

L-girl said...

You'll note that this post was not making a case for Vicks' unemployment.

I would have seen him charged and convicted of far worse than what ultimately stuck. I would have seen him locked up, for a long, long time, and his fortune confiscated, and himself publicly villified and shamed.

Then I would wish that he would spend the best years of his future football life locked up, and so unemployable, and too old to make a comeback when released.

In other words, I would see him ruined.

And yes, it's the fans cheering for him, mocking the horror of what he did, that is the ultimate heartbreaker.

L-girl said...

JohnGoldfine, you might be interested in something I wrote after learning about the Vick dogs. It's kind of heavy, so you might want to save it til you have time and are in a good frame of mind for something like that.

It's linked on the sidebar under one of the best-of widgets, "The Tyranny of the Subconscious".

johngoldfine said...

I think we only take cruelty animals seriously when it's egregious, and then still not so much. His case was egregious, but even though the counts were multiple and if proven the sentences could have been consecutive thus putting him away for a while, racketeering is much more in the prosecutors' wheelhouse--deal made, cruelty charges dismissed!

You know I'm a meat-eater and am not starting this tedious argument again, but if I had to guess what is going on in the minds of Vick's fans: we who eat meat all know that we are complicit in the death of animals (and if we've read Peter Singer or Michael Pollan or Temple Grandin, we have an idea just what it is we are complicit in.) None of us wants to think about this very much. We cheer a sadistic brute so we can absolve ourselves of lesser crimes--if we can cheer him, if he can prance around the gridiron, forgiven, debt-paid (we imagine), how bad can we be?

Animal cruelty exists on a spectrum. Legal slaughterhouses are on the spectrum. Way over on the other side is Vick.

In the middle? Where I live, it's legal and required to take a dog who's dying and who I want to euthanize to the vet. It's not legal and is forbidden under pain of prosecution for animal cruelty for me to take the same dog--in constant pain, frightened and miserable in cars and on long car rides, distrustful of strangers--out to his familiar territory and while he is taking a pee to stand behind him and shoot him once, quickly, and finally.

johngoldfine said...

I'll check out the piece you mention, laura--thanks.

L-girl said...

John, thanks for your thoughts.

Others may want to wade into the meat-eating tangent. For me there's no comparison between eating a cow for food and torturing dogs for sport. And, as we both eat meat, I don't understand raising that issue.

The topic is too upsetting to me to go further, but others are welcome to do so.

johngoldfine said...

That is interesting. I'm particularly interested by the sneer quotes around 'trainer.' I hear a never-ending litany of bad horse trainer stories. (I'm so into clicker training with dogs that I'm never in the loop at all for the jerk-the-choke-chain-show-him-who's-boss dog variants.

Lots of shit trainers in the world, though not many can hang a five-day hospital visit on their wall of shame.

I had a very bad dream once that happened just seven months to the day after a two-months'-pregnant abortion, the day that likely would have been the child's birthday. It took me a long long time to realize that some part of my mind was carefully counting those days and months and storing up my woe for a nighttime rendezvous.

L-girl said...

Lots of shit trainers in the world, though not many can hang a five-day hospital visit on their wall of shame.

And a dog damaged for life, and his people left to cope with that. And she billed us for the session.

It's one of my very, very few regrets in life thus far. My gut instinct was to stop what was going on, refuse to follow her instructions. But we had hired her as an expert, so I forced myself to ignore my instinct and go with her plan.

I had a very bad dream once that happened just seven months to the day after a two-months'-pregnant abortion, the day that likely would have been the child's birthday. It took me a long long time to realize that some part of my mind was carefully counting those days and months and storing up my woe for a nighttime rendezvous.

The mind is so amazing. That's really something.

johngoldfine said...

Have you started school yet? I was so wicked nervous (38 years along as a teacher) that it wasn't until I was throwing my leg over the motorcycle to start my commute that I realized my pants were sort of sagging, and...yep, I'd forgotten my belt.

My classes were quite amused to hear how close they'd come to watching my pants fall to my ankles....

L-girl said...

Going to New Mexico for a nephew's wedding and also some vacationing Sept 3-10, start school Sept 14.

I'll be bringing any interested readers along with me, so if you haven't seen it here, it hasn't happened yet. :)

I'm sure your story was a great icebreaker!

L-girl said...

I now have someone claiming I don't know about Philadelphia fans and how hard it is to play in that city.

I lived in Philadelphia for 5 years.

I have a nephew who is a huge Eagles fan.

I know what kind of a sports town it is and is not.

I don't care if Vick plays in the sweetest town on earth or if he plays on the moon. It means nothing.

bgk said...

I do believe in second chances, but only when you've done your time for your crimes. If after 10 or 15 years, Vick got out of jail and wanted to work with ESPN, I wouldn't be upset.

Now, I'm just very flustered over the whole situation and the complete lack of care given.

L-girl said...

Bgk, that's well put. I agree with you.

Dharma Seeker said...

Sean Avery was suspended from the NHL for the way he conducted off the ice so there is a precedent even though it's a different league and a different sport.

Something that's often overlooked with respect to dogfighting is the money that's involved. Not only because fights are wagered on but because offspring of good fighters are more valuable. So when a dog "under-performs" the owner perceives the dog as having cost him $$$. That, in addition to a sick sadistic nature is why a person who fights dogs wouldn't be satisfied to simply shoot the dog and end its life. He's going to make the dog pay, and by pay I mean suffer. That is the mentality of Michael Vick and he should have been locked up for a very, very long time.