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Another View of Vick’s Second Chance
With his former Vick dog at his side, one man has mixed feelings.
Hector catching rays on Yori's deck.

I witness daily the physical evidence left by Vick and his cohorts. Today, Hector (a former Vick dog, now certified Therapy Dog) suns his chest full of scars on my deck. It was more than a year ago, on Friday the 13th, that we brought Hector home to join our family. He inspected everything like he was making up for lost time.

Hearing of Vick’s reinstatement and signing with the Eagles, I am filled with mixed emotions. This may surprise people, but I am not totally against Vick playing in the NFL. Emotions aside, the best situation that could come out of all this now would be for Vick to truly regret what he did, redeem his image and career, and then advocate for the extremely misunderstood dogs he once abused.  

I appreciate that Vick could get the chance to do this, and I am all for second chances to those who prove themselves. However, I still have a strong sense of doubt that Vick is really sorry for his actions. I still see him as sorry for getting caught. We all know he has people feeding him lines on what to say, so it’s hard to really trust the words coming out of his mouth as genuine. In addition, you have Vick (largely responsible for the dogs’ suffering) getting led by Wayne Pacelle (the man who advocated through HSUS for the dogs to be put down). Sorry, but the irony from the dogs’ perspective is a bit much for me, and with “friends” like that ... well, you know the saying.

I appreciate that Vick is talking out against dog fighting and that organizations are giving him the opportunity to do so. It needs to be done. I just hope that when all the dust settles, he steps up and proves it with his actions. If he’s truly sorry, he’ll do things like donate part of his salary towards the smaller organizations caring for the dogs that need it. The more money he’s willing to part with, the more he’ll show his regret for the cause, not just the regret for being caught. Regardless, I doubt Vick will be harming any more dogs anytime soon, which is a victory in and of itself.

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Roo Yori is a National and World Champion canine flying disc handler with his dog Wallace the Pit Bull. Roo and his wife Clara live in Minnesota with their pack of rescue dogs consisting of Wallace, Hector, Ajax, Angus, Mindy Lou and Scooby Snack. Check out news and video of Hector, Wallace and more at www.WallaceThePitBull.com. pitbullunited.com

Photo by Joshua Grenell.

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Submitted by Mickey | August 20 2009 |

I too believe in 2nd chances...for a late library book or a missed dental appointment or a forgotten anniversary. Not for torture, killing, & beating a living breathing animal. Tell Chico & Maniac & Hector that everything they lived through & heard other dogs dying through is worth a man being able to be forgiven. Hector, for one, loves everyone. They all might have had that chance had they had an opportunity at a normal life. But Vick & Purnell Peace & Tony Taylor & Quanis Phillips took that opportunity away from them. Every opportunity at a normal life should be taken from them as well. I don't think any amount of money he donates to an animal cause will change the way he feels about what he has done.

Submitted by Jenny Pavlovic | August 20 2009 |

I originally wrote this to a local Minnesota radio announcer on August 17th. It appeared in my blog on August 18th. I’ve received some questions about my encounters with Wayne Pacelle of the HSUS and my comments on Michael Vick, so I’m sharing the information here. I try to keep this column (my blog)positive. There are times when I need to bear witness and follow my convictions, even when the information is distressing. Here goes:

I listened to part of your discussion about Michael Vick this morning. Unfortunately, once I got to work, I wasn’t able to listen to the rest of the discussion. Makes me late for work sometimes!

I think that Best Friends Animal Society, the group that cared for and rehabilitated some of the rescued “Vicktory” dogs, made a very appropriate statement. You can read it at this link: http://network.bestfriends.org/campaigns/pitbulls/news.aspx?pID=12080 and learn more about one of the “Vicktory” dogs at this link: http://news.bestfriends.org/index.cfm?page=news&fps=1&mode=entry&entry=E.... In essence, they stated that Vick would have been more believable if he had donated some time and effort to helping animals before returning to the NFL. As the situation stands, he looks like he is being repentant just to return to playing football.

Vick isn’t just accused of running a dog fighting operation. He is also accused of the following:

Killing dogs:

By hanging: “by placing a nylon cord over a 2 x 4 that was nailed to two trees located next to the big shed.”

By drowning: “by putting the dogs’ heads in a 5 gallon bucket of water.”

By beating: “by slamming [dogs] to the ground several times … breaking the dog’s back or neck.”

By shooting: “by shooting the animal with a .22 caliber handgun.”

By electrocution (think jumper cables). According to one of the people Vick paid “to live on the property, take care of the dogs, and arrange dog fights,” “He admitted killing numerous dogs after ‘testing’ and after fights by shooting and electrocuting the dogs and then burying them on the… property.”

“One dog that did not die from hanging was taken down and drowned in a 5 gallon bucket of water.”

In another case, “Vick took down one of the dogs that would not die from hanging and tossed the dog to the side. He later hung the same dog until it died. He wore overalls, which were hung in the garage, when he killed the dogs, so he would not soil his clothes.”

(Source of the above info: http://www.nathanwinograd.com/?p=1789)

Let me tell you more about Wayne Pacelle, the CEO of the HSUS, and the person who is partnering with Vick to do humane education. Pacelle and the HSUS would have put down all of the rescued Vick dogs if it weren’t for Best Friends, Bad Rap (http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs045/1101911701917/archive/110207149...), and other organizations that stood up for and saved the dogs. Here’s some history on Pacelle with regard to pit bulls: http://www.nathanwinograd.com/?p=1559.

I met Pacelle in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina when I was helping care for rescued animals. Under Pacelle’s “leadership” many volunteers left the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, LA, where rescued animals were housed. Many pit bulls went missing while under Pacelle’s authority. He was accused by a veterinarian of telling volunteer vets to go into New Orleans and euthanize every animal they could find before Hurricane Rita arrived ( I haven’t confirmed this statement, but have reason to believe it). My own experience with Pacelle is that he treated volunteers poorly, did not spend any time with the animals (except when news media arrived for photo ops), and was unable to make critical decisions in a timely way to help save animals. I went nose-to-nose with Pacelle more than once in order to save 8 State Hurricane Kate and was finally able to get her out of the heat and to a safe place.

Pacelle collected millions of dollars on behalf of Katrina’s animal victims. Then in October 2005, with thousands of animals in the Gulf Coast area still needing help, the HSUS pulled out and went back to DC, taking most of that money with them. Last August I attended the Katrina Animal Memorial Service in New Orleans on the 3rd anniversary of Katrina. The service was organized by the Humane Society of Louisiana, which was left without the support of the HSUS after Katrina. Many organizations and individuals, comprising the “All-Stars” of Katrina animal rescue, attended this event. Wayne Pacelle and the HSUS were not invited (Details here: http://www.8statekate.net/wordpress/?p=109).

Pacelle, who is partnering with Michael Vick to do humane education, does not have much credibility with many who work in animal rescue, and is known to pull deceptive publicity stunts. He has not accounted for most of the money collected on behalf of Katrina’s animal victims and he is not trusted by many of us. Here’s more background on Wayne Pacelle: http://www.nathanwinograd.com/?p=780.

Having said all of that, I hope that Vick is truly remorseful and will have a positive influence on young people’s attitudes towards animals. I really hope that those of us who are skeptical turn out to be wrong. It’s just hard to believe that someone who could murder dogs in the ways described above, and who didn’t appear to show any remorse until he could earn big $ by doing so, has really changed. He may have served time for running a dog fighting ring, but he did not serve time for the many crimes (murders) that he allegedly committed and was not convicted for. Still, we can all turn our energy to doing positive things for the animals, as Best Friends encourages.

[It’s way past my bedtime, but I think this information is important. I hope you’ve stuck with me throughout this message and will share some of this information with your other listeners.]

If you’re disappointed with the NFL, cut out any NFL logos that you have and send them back. Stop spending money to support the NFL and its sponsors. Then turn your attention and positive energy back to caring for the animals. We need them now more than ever.

Submitted by Sarahhsus | August 21 2009 |

It's hard to give a man who did these things a second chance, but when you list those reasons why NOT to support this, and the details of how he killed those dogs, to me that's why one should be open to this - to stop it from happening again.

Submitted by BernardUnti | August 21 2009 |

Jenni, your remarks concerning The HSUS, Wayne Pacelle, and Hurricane Katrina funding are incorrect, and I note that you provided no links to substantiate them. In fact, for years now, people have been able to see a list of the projects funded and a narrative discussing the use of the money raised during Hurricane Katrina by The HSUS. I know this because I wrote many of the stories. You should take a look. Then you'd read about the rescue of the dogs from hoarder Hanson at EDNAH (many of them pit bulls), the new animal sheltering facility at the Dixon Correctional Institute, the payment of everyone's bills at Lamar Dixon Equestrian Center by HSUS, the reimbursement of expenses for hundreds of organizations and individuals by HSUS, and the millions of dollars in grants to Louisiana and Mississippi societies from HSUS. On top of that, HSUS spent less than half a million dollars to get the PETS legislation passed so that we wouldn't have a situation of mass abandonment like we saw during Katrina. You are free to hold an opinion on the Vick matter, but please try to do justice to the facts about The HSUS and Katrina.

Submitted by Jenny Pavlovic | August 24 2009 |

Bernard,

I don't know if you were present at any of these events. If you don't have firsthand knowledge, I fear you are believing propaganda. The people who have firsthand knowledge and have been present at these events know the inside story. So be careful what you believe.

Jenny

Submitted by Anonymous | August 22 2009 |

+1 to Mickey's statement. It's disgraceful that he gets a second chance at being a role model and receiving a salary in the NFL when he's tortured innocent animals.

Submitted by Nancy Schutt | August 20 2009 |

I appreciate this thoughtful and intelligent comment on the Vick episode. Nice example of an athlete with a brain.
best,
n

Submitted by Patty | August 20 2009 |

I've posted on a few blogs on this issue and feel much the same as Roo ... which is somewhat conflicted. I lived with a wonderful, physically scarred pit bull for many years who had been confiscated from a fighting ring, so this hits close to home for me too.

I am someone who is willing to forgive when someone is truly remorseful and when someone has proven they have changed. I watched Vick on 60 Minutes, and I thought his words with regard to being disgusted with himself about what he had done to the dogs seemed staged, hollow and insincere. He talked a lot more about the regrets for what he had done to himself, to his career, to his family and friends. I didn't actually hear him express sorrow for subjecting innocent animals to horrific abuses.

I also think that it's pretty unlikely that sitting in jail for a few months changes the heart of a man and creates empathy in a man who is capable of pitting dogs, electrocuting dogs, drowning dogs, strangling dogs, etc.

Having said that, I think that Michael Vick speaking out against dog fighting to those who are at risk of taking the same path as he took is a good thing. Regardless of the motivating factors by those involved, if Vick's actions from here on out deter others from subjecting dogs to atrocious abuses in the pit, in my opinion, that can only be seen as a good thing.

Lastly, I have seen the proud faces of several of the changed young men who have been through HSUS's End Dogfighting programs when speaking about their dogs. Unlike Vick, their feelings appear to me to be very authentic. These young men have learned from firsthand experience to care for and about their dogs and have learned to build a positive relationship and strong bond with their dogs through this program. That's something I think Vick has yet to experience, because the aforementioned cannot be learned from sitting in a jail cell, going to a counseling session or reading animal literature.

Submitted by thorn44 | August 20 2009 |

i agree with roo and others that vick's words of remorse seem scripted and insincere. since he is no longer working a $10/hr. construction job real remorse could be shown by providing the many small, dedicated and underfunded pitbull rescues with a share of that NFL salary. finding a group with more credibility than wayne pacelle's HSUS would also be a step in the right direction.

Submitted by Suzanne Vainner | August 20 2009 |

Roo,
I applaud your level headed and thoughtful response to a twisted situation. I have huge doubts also...it was just so sick.
Give Hector and the pack a big hug from us.

Submitted by Larry | August 21 2009 |

Ive spent time with Roo and Hector, they have been to my house and played with my dogs and I to theirs. Its amazing to see Hector run and play with other dogs. Apparently oblivious to his violent past, so forgiving of other dogs and loving of people, living in the now, happy to be alive and see the world outside of his kennel.

They say that forgiveness is a gift one gives to them self and I couldnt agree more. Holding one in contempt and being angry toward another can take a lot of time and energy and is often more damaging to ones self than to the target of your anger. In the case of Vick its clear he doesnt care about others and frankly I dont personally care enough about him or his existence to remain angry at him for long, simply put he is not worth the energy.

As long as Vick is able he should be working and paying into the system like the rest of us. The fact that he is allowed back into the league cant be blamed on him, thats a societal issue, one where the NFL, and major league sports in general, not only allow thugs and criminals to work, but prosper.

People in major league sports are looked up to by countless kids around the globe and as long as we continue to support them and put up with their antics, they will continue to thrive. Stop supporting the teams or the leagues that perpetuate stars that behave like thugs and maybe someday they will change. If you cant do that, do your small part, then you have no right being upset at the league or at Vick for his reinstatement.

Submitted by Sarahhsus | August 21 2009 |

All those reasons you state not to give him a chance,listing the way in which he tortured those dogs - I think is why we should be open to this - to stop it from happening again, to other dogs. Vick has brought much needed attention to the horrendous world of dog fighting, the simple fact that over 100 communities have called the HSUS asking to start these programs in their area, tells me its already showing signs of success.

Submitted by Fayclis | August 21 2009 |

I didn't believe a word the "man" said during the interview on 60 minutes. Not a word. Vick was deeply involved in dog fighting for many many years. I wonder how many names of his former co-horts he gave to police? How much information he gave to Pacelle so other rings could be broken up? My bet. Not one.

Submitted by Anonymous | August 21 2009 |

I truly believe that he is sorry he got caught. If you hurt animals especially those who are our best friends, I don't think that you can feel empathy for anyone.

Submitted by A Pit Bull Friend | August 21 2009 |

If Vick truly felt remorseful he would have pled guilty to the charges of animal abuse/cruelty,instead he made a deal.

And teaming up with the organization that lobbied for the death of the survivors.....well come on.

I`m sure there are some foot soldiers at HSUS who mean well and truly believe that these dogs deserve the same treatment as other dogs but Management at HSUS has to change for them to have ANY credibility.
Wayne Pacelle has to go.

People should be donating to the smaller Rescue groups rather than HSUS to help these dogs.

BadRap is currently fundraising to build a barn for the hundreds(thousands?) of dogs that never used to be given a chance by HSUS.

Why isn`t HSUS building that barn?

How much have you donated to the building of that barn HSUS?
I think they need about $60-$65,000.
How about it?
http://www.badrap.org/rescue/barnraising.cfm

When Michael Vick starts volunteering to clean kennels on weekends then perhaps I`ll start believing this is anything but a ploy to improve his image.

When HSUS makes a significant donation towards building that barn......I`ll start to believe that they`ve changed.
I`ll be watching the BadRap blog for that announcement.

Submitted by mickey mackenzie | August 21 2009 |

I watch my beautiful pit, Jasmine, lying on my bed in front of the fan. She was a rescue dog and has scars on her lovely, innocent face. I do not believe he is sorry at all, but I also agree if he can reach even one person not to do what he did, then let him speak out. I think he is a disgrace and shame on any team that signed him.

Submitted by Anonymous | August 21 2009 |

His millions of dollars should be dedicated to rescue dogs and centers nation wide. Too many dogs die for him to go and pretend this didn't happen. Shelters and rescues saved alot of his dogs from death. You can not pay for or buy love. The only species that gives it
away is the dog.I feel the man should pay for the damage he did with countless inocent lives.Half the money he makes should go for rescue purposes. Not breed specific but for all the unloved unfed lost fur babies out there. There should be speial funds set aside for the rescues and persons who took his dogs AND REHAILITED THEM .THIS MAN IS A MONSTER AS FAR AS I AM CONCWRNED . Too bad we cant have laws so we could neuter and spay stupid mean people, with a dull knife hehe He will get a lot of money and fame but nothing should relieve his shame at what he did. I guess he just thought they were just dogs what is the uproar all about. Well he is just a foot ball player and when he is used up he will perhaps know what just WHAT JUST A FOOT BALL PLAYERS WAS WORTH. NOT A THING

Submitted by Amanda Hawke | August 22 2009 |

Well said Roo . Couldn't agree with you more.

Submitted by Dian | August 23 2009 |

Good idea about donating some of his salery. If he were sorry that would have been a way to start truly "paying" for what he did. I do not believe he is sorry. I believe he is saying what needs to be said so he can get back to making millions of dollars in order to once again indulge himself (hopefully not at the expense of innocent animals this time around). I am going to miss football, as it was one of my pasions, but I will not support an endever that rewards people who are capable of doing such horrendous acts. I belive in giving second chances to those who make mistakes; not such vile choices. What a roll model he will be! The punishment he received does not make up for the scars Hector and all the dogs that were lucky enough to survive and not have their heads slammed against walls, shovels, etc. carry. Thank you for loving Hector and all the other rescued animals you adopt. We need more "heros" like you, not like Michael Vick.

Submitted by Tiffani | August 23 2009 |

I just bought "piss on Vick" shirts today for my whole family from Dog Deserve Better. They have a pit bull peeing on a Vick helmet. That's exactly my opinion on this matter.

Submitted by Ursula | August 26 2009 |

I don't beleive that Vick is at all sorry for his involvement with dog fighting. Like many others I think his sorrow is for being caught and the money lost. I would really like to know where you found the t-shirts.

Submitted by Lisa Wogan | August 24 2009 |

Did you watch the 60 Minutes interview last night? I missed it but found Patty Khuly's reaction in USA Today worth reading. In addition to criticism of HSUS and ASPCA, she goes after the sentence, which isn't something we've been talking about much. Here's a link: http://www.usatoday.com/life/lifestyle/pets/2009-08-20-doolittler-vick_N...

Submitted by Susan | August 25 2009 |

I agree 100% with you. Michael Vick has 'his people' who are coaching him on what to say and how to act. Is he truly sorry? Is he truly regretful? We will never know. He is currently involved with the Humane Society of the United States in their anti-dog fighting campaign, and the president of Humane Society of the United States has asked that we give Michael Vick a chance. And, that is up to each individual. For me, given the extent of pain and suffering that Michael Vick inflicted on his dogs, I cannot offer a second chance to him.

Submitted by Anonymous | August 26 2009 |

I agree with Roo!

And if Vick really was repentant, he'd be spending his time and energy NOT trying to convince you or me or the majority of Americans that dog fighting is inhumane, BUT would be in the trenches. He'd be spending his time, energy and even his money convincing hard-core dog-fight owners/trainers, those who crave watching the blood sport, those who try to make money training and fighting dogs, those who try to make money betting on dog fights, and those who take their kids to dog fights trying to get them to think like them ... that dog fighting is inhumane.

Submitted by prison city girl | September 2 2009 |

I do not believe a word out of vicks mouth.If he was truly sorry he would of faced the media when he was released from prison but he slimed out at 4 in the moring.Also has anybody stop to think while vick was in prison we were the one's who paid to feed and cloth him.

Submitted by Gilbert | September 5 2009 |

Vic lamented how miserable he was, but that was the fact that he had jail time to face and playing football time to lose. He was sorry about THAT, not that he had tortured dogs. What kind of a sick mind would do such a thing - uneducated, yes, but that decency, kindness and right and wrong should have been installed in him from birth.
I believe he should have done his jail time in DOG YEARS!!!!!
Gilbert

Submitted by Catrina | September 7 2009 |

I didn't follow the Michael Vick story very closely but I know the horrible suffering he (and others) inflicted on those dogs.
I don't really care if he plays football again, but I care very much that he NEVER owns a dog again because I don't think he knows how to treat one with love and respect!

Submitted by Anonymous | January 7 2013 |

If you can't treat animals with respect, chances are you treat humans badly too. Many studies show this.

Submitted by Kurt C. Wiesner... | September 8 2009 |

I really appreciate this article, your honesty about mixed feelings, and hope that Vick has had a change of heart. I wrote a similar sounding blog post, if anyone is interested. Thanks again.

http://osc-religionandpopculture.blogspot.com/2009/08/michael-vick-goes-...

Submitted by Anonymous | September 11 2009 |

I agree with the above article. He isn't sorry at all and is being spoon fed everything that comes out of his mouth.

Submitted by althea | September 17 2009 |

Philadelphia: protest against the Eagles and the NFL Sunday 9/20/2009 11 am - 1:30 pm Lincoln Financial Field
Please join us for a peaceful, non-sponsored protest against the Eagles and the NFL. We will be meeting at 11th & Pattison Streets in South Philadelphia this Sunday at the home opener from 11 am - 1:30 pm.
We are trying to help animals in our region get rescued, fostered and adopted and we want our voices to be heard that we are angered by the actions of the NFL and the Eagles. If you can not join us, please boycott and write letters of protest to the Eagles and their sponsors. Thanks, hope to see you there.

Submitted by Linda C | September 19 2009 |

If Michael Vick knew the dog fighting and killing was happening on his land, but he wasn't there at the time, he would still be responsible, right?

Michael Vick killed approx 20 dogs. That many are being killed in the USA every HOUR. We know it is happening, it is on our land. WE, as a society, ARE RESPONSIBLE!

Spay and Neuter all your pets, NO exceptions. If you know breeders (accidental and intentional), explain to them that they are adding to the overpopulation and the pet suffering and death that results. The homes that their kittens and puppies go to are desperately needed by dogs and cats already born. Remove all support from breeders.

The problem is much worse that the large organizations are telling the public. If the large organizations were truly caring and were honest they would tell the public "We can't find homes for the pets as fast as pets can breed. We are killing nice pets and turning away pets to unknown fates. But there is a solution. First, spay/neuter all your pets. No acceptions! Acquire your next pet from a non-breeding source. Then donate to local all volunteer spay/neuter groups, so your donation will do much good.

Someday, we will look back on these times, when breeders kept breeding and millions of pets suffered and died, "the Michael Vick Era" and wonder "how did we allow that to become acceptable?"

Submitted by Anonymous | October 16 2012 |

While I appreciate your point--there are a lot of dogs being killed--I want to point out two things:
1) There is a HUGE difference between humane, painless euthanasia and being a) hung up by a rope to slowly strangle to death b) being burned to death c) being swung in the air between two mean and repeatedly slammed on the ground until a huge number of bones are broken and your internal organs rupture.

Also, in the early 1980's, when there were many fewer people in the US, 18 million dogs and cats were being killed in animal shelters, often by inhumane methods (heart stick, shooting, having your lungs burned out by truck exhaust, etc). Although a few shelters still use carbon monoxide, no one uses vehicle exhaust anymore, and the few shelters that still use CO are being gradually, through the hard work of many citizens, phased out.

However, it is true that if half of the people that purchase their pets from pet stores or from breeders, would, instead adopt their pet from a shelter or rescue, there would be no need to kill any healthy dogs in animal shelters.

Submitted by COOK32Elnora | July 23 2011 |

Make your own life time more easy take the personal loans and all you want.

Submitted by Barbara | April 5 2012 |

I agree with every single word that Roo said. I am all for 2nd chances, I got one, so why not Vick. But he isn't sorry for doing what he did, he is sorry he got caught. Living in South Jersey I stopped watching football (my team would normally be the Eagles) when he got signed. He hasn't had an "aha" moment, he has had an "oh sh*t" moment, he needs to do more, step up & speak up for those who can't speak for themselves, and PAY it forward with his pocket, not just spoon fed words.

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