Op-Ed: Michael Vick, Previously Convicted of Animal Cruelty, Wants New DogPublished July 18, 2012
Michael Vick wants a new dog, according to a CNN article and his interview on the CNN program Piers Morgan Tonight. Vick was convicted and sentenced to 23 months in prison following an investigation into his dog fighting ring, Bad Newz Kennels. While the fighting ring was the symbol of animal cruelty within the country for some time, Vick says he would get the new dog for his children, who shouldn't be forced to miss out on the special opportunity of owning a pet. That dog, though, would not be a pit bull, the dogs who were used in his fighting ring.
"I can't take that dream away from them," Vick, who is interviewing in support of his new autobiography Finally Free, said to Piers Morgan in regard to his children owning a pet. "That would be selfish on my behalf. You know, so, gotta find a way to make it right and, you know, I put everything in God's hands to make it right."
After being released from prison, Vick certainly is trying to make some things right. While he can't atone completely for the sins of the past, Vick is trying to right some of his wrongs through his continued work with the Humane Society of the United States. According to the New York Daily News, Vick says he has now "helped more animals than I've hurt" in his "quest to be an advocate against dog fighting." Though that may be true, the crimes he committed against the dogs in his fighting ring were so unspeakable that they can scarcely be forgotten.
And yet, here we stand, on the verge of allowing Michael Vick to possibly own another pet for the sake of his children once his probation stemming from his dog fighting charges has concluded. Have we gone mad?
I understand and respect the legal system and the way that it is supposed to work. And yes, I understand that once Mike Vick is finished with his probation that he is technically allowed to own a dog again. But there's something that just doesn't sit right with me when I think about it. This man killed dogs in a brutal fashion, in the name of sport, human pleasure and financial gain. And while he's toured and supported various animal rights causes in an attempt to atone for the sins of his past, he treats his advocacy work as if it is nothing more than a numbers game. Helping more animals than you've hurt isn't balancing anything out. It's great that Mr. Vick is helping animals and saving lives now, but it will never undo what was done to the dogs of Bad Newz Kennels.
The bond that builds between human and animal was broken by Vick through his involvement in a grand dog fighting scheme. While I think he's paid his debt in the eyes of the legal system, I don't think he should be able to own an animal again. It's not a matter of me thinking that he'll go out and abuse animals again, because I really don't think that will happen. For myself, it's more a matter that he lost the privilege of owning an animal. Having a dog as a pet can enrich your life in so many ways. Rather than letting it enrich him, though, Vick took advantage of it and abused their trust. For that, Vick should not be able to experience the joys that a dog can provide.
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