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Sensationalizing
PSPCA sees dog fighting cases triple post-Vick

In a previous blog post, Lisa Wogan contemplated the effect of Michael Vick’s reality television show and the perception of his crime.

The show, which debuted in February, follows Vick’s comeback from his dog fighting conviction and subsequent 21 month prison sentence. While the show highlights the repercussions of dog fighting, and Vick comes across as genuinely remorseful, many wonder if the newfound attention may be having a negative effect. 

Despite the fact that Vick served almost 2 years in prison, lost endorsement deals and was forced to declare bankruptcy, he seems to have been rewarded with more attention and fame than ever before. Vick has since signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, landed a reality show and was even awarded the Ed Block Courage Award by his new teammates, given to players who “exemplify commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage.”

The SPCA of Pennsylvania’s director of law enforcement, George Bengal, worries that Vick may have made dog fighting “cool” and made Pit Bulls a status symbol. Since Vick joined the Eagles, his organization’s dog fighting cases have tripled. 

The spike could be a result of Vick’s addition to Philadelphia’s pro football team, but I certainly hope it’s actually a reflection of an increase in awareness and reporting of dog fighting. 

Vick’s reality show certainly doesn’t portray his crime in a positive light, but I can see how the attention could sensationalize dog fighting.

What’s your take?

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by drustar, Flickr.

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