Michael Vick’s dog adoption app

By Francis Battista

Pro football star Michael Vick has written a book that will be out in September, and he is promoting it on the talk and sports show circuits.

True to form, Vick and his handlers continue to offend and incense animal lovers and anyone else, for that matter, who is concerned about the sports/entertainment industry turning a blind eye to criminal brutality by players and other celebrities.

Apologists say that Mr. Vick has paid his debt to society by serving time in federal prison and that he should be allowed to get on with his life and his profession.

In truth, Vick served time for the federal charges of “Conspiracy to Travel in Interstate Commerce in Aid of Unlawful Activities and to Sponsor a Dog in an Animal Fighting Venture.” And, while his participation in dog fighting and the death by hanging of some of his dogs was a sentencing consideration, he did not serve time for animal cruelty, which may be the reason he routinely avoids expressing regret for what he did to his dogs.

This apparent lack of remorse and lack of expressed concern for the suffering he caused — whether because of lawyerly advice to avoid self-incrimination or due to a big void in his moral make-up — is what infuriates those of us who believe that Vick has not only not paid his debt to society for torturing and killing animals, but hasn’t even expressed remorse about it.

Rather, he talks about letting people down and making mistakes, and so on. He apologizes to the kids who looked up to him and to his family, but never approaches anything close to being truly sorry for what he did and allowed to occur at Bad Newz Kennels.

By court order, Vick is barred from owning a dog for three years after his release from prison. With the three years about to expire, one of the points covered on a recent national TV talk show was his apparent desire to get another dog. He says his kids really want a dog and, therefore, he should be able to have one. Considering how well he cared for his previous dogs, you can imagine the response that this statement draws from the animal-loving public.

Best Friends is often asked if we think Vick should be allowed to own another dog. While his eligibility for dog ownership is a matter of law, imagine, if you would, what it would be like reading through a potential dog adoption application from Michael Vick:

  • Have you had a dog before? Yes
  • If yes, how many? Lots
  • Do you still have a dog(s)? No
  • If you have had dogs in the past, please let us know their current disposition. Dead or confiscated by federal authorities.
  • If you no longer have other dogs, please let us know what happened to them. Some I sold to dog fighters, some I had my cousin electrocute or shoot, some I personally strangled, drowned or body-slammed to death.
  • Why do you want to get a dog at this time? Because I served my time and kids want a dog.

OK, thank you, Michael. We’ll get back to you on your application.

On a more serious note, the dogs who were rescued from Vick’s dog-fighting operation continue to suffer the consequences of his intentional cruelty. Many of the 22 Vicktory dogs who came to Best Friends for rehabilitation arrived with a hidden killer circulating through their blood – babesia gibsoni, a fatal blood-born protozoan parasite that destroys red blood cells and ultimately causes death. It is virtually impossible to cure and treatment of symptoms involves long-term steroid therapy, which is itself debilitating.

It is a terrible, wasting disease that is spread primarily through blood-to-blood exchanges during dog-fighting matches. Lucas (pictured above), who once was Vick’s grand champion fighter, has B. gibsoni. He is a wonderful dog who, for years has spent his days visiting with different staff as an occasional office dog. Lucas loves people and everyone loves him, his heavily scarred face and head notwithstanding.

Lucas survived the fighting ring and the “tender mercies” of Vick and his cohorts, but he is struggling with babesia. It is painful to watch his decline and just another reminder of the actions of an unrepentant dog killer. Please keep Lucas in your thoughts and prayers.

Cat Dog

Julie Castle


Best Friends Animal Society