Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Michael Vick’s “redemption” has been a failure

In August 2008 I took a viewpoint of the then then-federal prisoner Michael Vick that was shared by very, very few in the rescue community.  I wrote:

“…I'm sure that there are many who feel that Vick he is a horrible person that did horrible things and should be thoroughly punished and should not be allowed to play football ever again. And while that sentiment is understandable I believe it would be unfair to have given those dogs a chance at redemption but not extend that same chance at redemption to Vick as well…

…Here's my crazy wish for Michael Vick. My wish is that he really has seen the error of his ways, that decides to champion the fight against animal cruelty when he is released from prison, regains his superstardom in the NFL, and uses his fame to raise awareness for the cause.

I know it's nuts of me to hope for such a thing, but wouldn't it be great if it happened? I think it's worth giving it a chance."

It’s now 14 months later and 3 months since Vick’s release from federal custody.  To those of you in the rescue community that disagreed with me I have something to say to you.

I was wrong.

Vick has been a total disappointment in his promise to redeem himself.  To this date there is no indication that Vick nor anyone representing him have done anything to check on the welfare of the so-called “Vick dogs”.  In his first statement to the press following his prison release he apologized to his fans, family, teammates, his former NFL team, but failed to mention the actual victims, the dogs themselves.

He failed to make any conciliatory acts or gestures before the NFL chose to reinstate him.  And when he did finally chose a public path toward redemption who did he align himself with?  The Humane Society of the United States, the same organization that called for the summary execution of the Vick dogs before any of them had been evaluated for possible rehabilitation.  There’s something ironic about that.

I’m not a professional writer.  Anthony Brown of Bleacher Report makes this case much better than I do:

Michael Vick May Be Sincere. His Publicity Campaign Is Fake.


Anthony Brown


Scribe Written on September 30, 2009


Michael Vick made an entirely too clandestine visit to D.C. to preach against the dangers of dog fighting. he gave his message to a group of at risk...churchgoers.

The story of Vick's visit appears in today's Washington Post and on

According to The Post, Vick expressed the false glamour of the thug life and its impact on his family.

"Anything can happen when you're fighting dogs at two or three in the morning," he said. "I'm blessed to be before you and still have my life. It's like standing on the corner and dealing drugs. It's a criminal life."

It's a message that needs to be heard. The Humane Society thinks Michael Vick is a channel to a population they do not reach.

It's piddly-poor publicity when news of Vick's visit reaches us after he's left.

Michael Vick's agreement to make two public appearances a month to speak against dog fighting played a role in his reinstatement to the NFL. He's made similar appearances in Chicago, Philadelphia and Atlanta. The story at the Church Solutions web site says the Humane Society reached out to inner-city churches that "often bear much weight in these urban communities and influence people’s behavior."

Laudable--if the target audience hears the message. The Post reported that "there was a small mix of high school-aged kids among the roughly 75 in attendance." Vick has also pitched his story at schools in other cities where there are more young people, at least.

Inadequate publicity of his visits makes the whole thing a charade. I get it with the church. But if you are in church, you already get that message. A church ringed by police officers deters the very at-risk youth The Humane Society wants to reach. The Post's article suggested as much.

Everybody needs to rethink the best, maximum use of Mr. Vick.

A good start would be the Humane Society itself. They sponsor Vick appearances and appear jointly with him. Yet, Michael Vick's speaking schedule appears nowhere on its own web site as I write this.

Michael Vick's official web page has no anti-cruelty message of any kind. What a missed opportunity!

Young people are unlikely to visit the Humane Society's web page, but they will look at Vick's. There's no better place to weave Mr. Vick's message, direct and edited by the man himself.

Where was the viral text message campaign informing teens that Michael Vick was coming to town? Why was there a police presence outside and inside Covenant Baptist Church where he appeared?

Will we see this on YouTube?

Where's the thought process to place Vick where young people are instead of where they ought to be? And why isn't he appearing at animal shelters to raise funds and volunteers?

Maybe there's a concern about animal rights extremists at a Vick sighting. Know what? There are a lot more people who want to see Michael Vick play and hear what he has to say.

Come on people, you are smarter than this. Or, is it all a charade?

For another eloquent opinion on the subject please check out the statement made to the Philadelphia Inquirer by Best Friends Animal Society co-founder Francis Battista.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Father Turns In Son After Finding Dead Dogs

This report comes from Fox 12 in Portland, Oregon. Thanks to Bob Hall for alerting us.

Joshua Stitt Faces 7 Counts Of Animal Abuse

POSTED: 6:22 pm PDT September 22, 2009

UPDATED: 6:57 pm PDT September 22, 2009

OREGON CITY, Ore. -- A father turned his son over to authorities after finding six dead puppies Thursday.

Joshua Stitt was charged Monday and faces seven counts of first-degree animal abuse.

John Stitt, the suspect's father, said he called the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office after he found his son had killed a litter of puppies and destroyed a kennel.

"I guess he killed them with a long steel bar," Stitt said.

"(It's) very upsetting, not easy for a father who loves his child very much to turn him in for such a horrific thing. But I felt he might move on from animals to people," Stitt said.

Stitt said his son's problems started before the puppies were killed.

On Sept. 4, Stitt said he came home and found his son covered in blood.

Stitt said his son had stabbed a dog to death and was bragging about slitting its throat with a three-inch pocket knife because the dog had nipped at his leg.

"He killed it for that and it was in a dog run. He didn't even need to be over there where the dog was," Stitt said

Stitt said the Marines discharged Joshua in May for mental health issues.

"I want him to get medical help. I want him to get a good doctor. I want him to have medication that will keep him calm and I want him to realize his problems," Stitt said.

Joshua Stitt's bail is set at $150,000. He will be back in court Sept. 28.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tibetan Mastiff becomes world's priciest dog: Chinese woman pays $600,000

I’m happy that the Chinese value dogs so much, but this is silly.  This is from AOL’s Daily Finance.

MastiffWould you pay more than a half a million dollars for a dog? A woman from Northern China has just taken delivery of what has reportedly become the most expensive dog in the world for which she paid 4 million yuan, or about $600,000.
The 18-month-old Tibetan mastiff, called Yangtze River Number Two, arrived at its new home in Xi'an yesterday.

Upon its arrival in Xi'an airport, Yangtze River Number Two was greeted by dog lovers waving welcome banners. According to reports, the dog's owner, identified only as Mrs. Wang, arranged for a motorcade of 30 black Mercedes-Benz cars led by two sports utility vehicles to transport the canine to its new home in style.
To guarantee that her massive expenditure was not overlooked among her social circle, reports say that Mrs. Wang contacted her wealthy friends after making the purchase, and spread the word about the exact price of her new pet as well as her arrival time in Xi'an. The dog's welcome crowd was so large and lavish, that passersby gathered round thinking a human celebrity was in their midst.
The millionairess has reportedly been searching for the perfect dog for years. This dog, which she spotted in Yushu made the grade. "Gold has a price," she said, "But this Tibetan mastiff doesn't."
In China, this ancient breed goes by nicknames such as "Miraculous Beast", "Number One Dog" and "Antique Dog." Buddha and Genghis Khan kept them as companions. Marco Polo wrote of seeing them in the Orient. They are fabled to play a huge part in maintaining ecological balance (both spiritually and physically) in their native habitat, the Tibetan Plateau, where sadly, they are now quite rare. They are reputed to be one of the oldest breeds still in existence and archaeological evidence suggests they served as guard dogs in China as early as 1000 B.C..
With fewer than 160 pure bred descendants of the original Tibetan mastiffs currently in existence, these dogs are certainly rare. Mrs. Wang's new companion has a good shot at padding away with a trophy at a major kennel show if he's properly trained. In 2008, the breed was entered in the renowned Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for the first time, although the ultimate prize was taken home by a much smaller dog -- a Beagle named Uno.
Chinese dog-watchers are certainly a new phenomenon in a land where keeping dogs as pets was banned under the reign of Mao Zedong who described dog owners as time-wasters. Large dogs are still outlawed in Beijing where it is illegal to register a dog larger than 35 cms (13 inches). Dog ownership in general is reserved for the wealthier population in cities like Beijing, where the annual license fee can run as high as 1,000 yuan or ($150) – an astronomical sum for the city's blue collar workers (textile workers' salaries averaged averaged less than 20,000 yuan or $5,689 in 2008).
Perhaps China's dog-loving elite, who now enjoy a level of wealth previously reserved for non-Chinese, will help shift the reputation of the lowly dog from a restaurant entree, to the position the animals enjoy in the rest of the world -- that of man's (or woman's) best friend.


What was that about lining up 30 Mercedes-Benz to greet him?  "Chinese millionaires”?  The last time I checked China was a communist country.  What is going on here? Seriously though, if such a rare breed is such a big deal what are mutts or shelter dogs worth?