Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Michael Vick? may have served his debt, but an award for courage? hell no!

You see this girl? She used to work security for a drug house in Baltimore. When the house got busted, she was taken to the city shelter where she lived for three months, then a lovely woman took her home and fostered her. Now she lives with me. Her name is Bella Jane.

And when she came home she was fucked up. She shook all the time. She didn't know that standing on the dining room table was inappropriate behavior. She shied if I stamped my feet. She got aggressive if I yelled. And she cuddled like she was starved.

That was a bit more than a year ago. Now she has learned a lot and taught me and S more. She only shakes some of the time. She's been through two obedience classes and private training. She plays well with some dogs. Not well with others. I never yell at her. And she loves us madly.

She's a pit bull (as are the other two dogs that live with me). A pit bull that had been abused, neglected, encouraged to be aggressive, but never fought. And she was a mess.

I have a soft spot for pit bulls.

Which means I have a deep well of rage for people that torture and fight them.

Michael Vick, a QB for the Philadelphia Eagles, served 18 months in prison for running a dog fighting ring. A ring in which he personally, with his bare hands, strangled at least one dog. Others were tortured, many were killed in other non-medical ways.

He's a reasonably talented football player, so as soon as he finished serving his sentence, he was signed by the Eagles. He has since apologized for his choices and is working with the Humane Society to educate young people about the horrors of dog fighting.

Personally, I don't believe his remorse for a second. He's sorry he got caught. he;s sorry he went to jail. But really sorry for what he did? Judge for yourself:

The Eagles players chose Michael Vick to receive the annual Ed Block Courage Awared. Because apparently they believe that he:
symbolizes professionalism, great strength and dedication. He is also a community role model. With this honor, he enters into an association which contrasts his fierce profession by becoming a major component of the Courage House National Support Network for Kids. He becomes an Ambassador of Courage for victims of abuse, violence and neglect.


The man electrocuted and beat dogs to death. He perpetrated abuse, violence and neglect of animals. Not once or twice. But repeatedly. For years.

And he is now a role model for children?

18 months in prison didn't erase what he did. Or what kind of person he had to be to beat an animal to death.

Perhaps he has learned from his past. Perhaps his heart is in the right place now. It's possible. But rewarding him as a role model less than a year after prison? It's absurd and deeply offensive. People who break the law and get caught go to prison. They don't deserve an award for serving their time. People who have public personas who've done something horrible sometimes do things in public to try and rehabilitate themselves. If Mr. Vick is still on the straight and narrow in a few years, and still volunteering his time with the humane society, if his rehabilitation stands the test of time, if it's truely heartfelt, if he's really a man that has come out the other side a great person, reward him then. But now? No.

It's a slap in the face to all people who really have gone through difficult times. To the people who have made poor choices and manged to learn from their errors and create good.

And it sets a terrible example.

So what can you do about it? Well, I have some suggestions.

First, read what the foundation has to say (I'll withhold my hyperbole).

What the Ed Block Foundation has to say about Michael Vick

Then, if you want to contact the foundation and let them know what you think, send an email to:

Sam Lamantia Jr., CEO/Chairman of the Board sam@edblock.org

Want more? Contact the foundation's funders:

Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation
Rachel Garbow Monroe, Chief Operating Officer
Phone: 410-654-8500, ext. 220
Email: rmonroe@hjweinberg.org

Want still more? Support the folks who are taking care of the dogs Michael Vick hurt.

The most traumatized are living at an amazing place called Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, in a place called Pittie City. They are calling them the Vicktory Dogs.

Thanks to Colten for the pic of Bella.

Thanks to Lauren from B-More Charming School For Dogs for all of her work with us over the past year.

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