Dogfighting and Michael Vick: Where Do We Go From Here?
Michael Vick. The name not only turns heads - in our community, it makes pets and their people cry themselves to sleep. The Dogster "Jerk of the Year" award? No question. Paws down, done deal. Congratulations, Mr. Vick.
From the Dog Blog to The Cat's Meow, we've been covering the issue and providing a place where people can let their feelings out and express themselves. A special group on Dogster has even been formed: For the Love of Every Dog is actively taking a stand against Michael Vick, and is open to our canine and or feline friends. Obviously, it's a situation that really affects dog and cat lovers. It's a horrible, disgusting story that we certainly wish we didn't have to cover. Things would be so much easier if none of this ever happened and Vick was just a football player playing football. Running, passing, getting sacked every now and then... same old, same old.
Sadly, that's not the case. Vick's involvement in and support of organized dogfighting and consequent dog deaths led to his being caught, tried, imprisoned and (temporarily, at least) banned from play in the NFL. But as we all know, he's out of jail now, and he's back in the NFL. Vick was recently signed to a $1.6 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, is allowed to play in the last Eagles preseason games, and will attend all practices and meetings. After that, he'll be eligible for full reinstatement to the NFL, and, should NFL commissioner Roger Goodell give the go-ahead, Vick will be allowed to resume play as before.
If there is any good that has come out of the Michael Vick situation, it's that his cruel and irresponsible actions have brought focus to the dogfighting situation in the United States - it is seriously out of control, and it is something we should all be concerned about. Vick's arrest and conviction also made one thing very clear: dogfighting is not just a low-brow but harmless sport - it's a gruesome, murderous, disgusting "hobby." Largely an underground activity, the number of people involved in dogfighting is difficult to guess, but the estimate reaches well into the tens of thousands. Again: it is a prevalent epidemic in this country, and one that needs to be addressed.
So the question is: where do we go from here? What's done is (unfortunately) done and we have to move on and address the issue of dogfighting in the United States and abroad. This grim issue requires the attention of every pet lover out there. The scenario involving Michael Vick has brought to light the fact that dog-fighting (and killing) is actually an acceptable form of sporting entertainment in some social circles. Allowing this to continue is dangerous, cruel and inhumane. It has to stop.
We'd like to know what your suggestions are for eliminating the dogfighting problem. How can we learn from the actions of Michael Vick and proactively reach out to the individuals who are involved in dog-fighting (or may be tempted to start) and stop them in their tracks? How do we send this message and who delivers it? Is it Vick? Is it you? Is it us?
Please take a few moments to consider this horrible problem and then leave your suggestions in the comments section of this post.
Together, we can make a diffurence.
Woofs, tail wags, purrs and meows,
--The Dogs and Cats of Dogster HQ