FanDuel - WFBC

December 15, 2010

Michael Vick Wants to Get a Dog: "I would love to get another dog in the future. I think it would be a big step for me in the rehabilitation process," Michael Vick said in a new interview. He's can't buy, sell or own a dog as part of his probation. "I miss having a dog right now. I wish I could. My daughters miss having one, and that's the hardest thing: Telling them that we can't have one because of my actions."

posted by rcade to football at 07:45 PM - 59 comments

Oh, Michael, I'm willing to cheer for you at QB, applaud that you've apparently repented for your crimes, but I'm just not ready to handle the thought of you owning a dog again. Indeed, I'd say this is one of the last things you should probably be talking about for next ten years or so.

I mean, sorry your kids can't have a dog and everything, but, I mean, c'mon.

posted by Joey Michaels at 08:04 PM on December 15

No. Not yet.

I wanted to give Vick the benefit of the doubt, argue that having a dog in his house would be good for his rehabilitation.

And in any event, I figured his daughters would get on him, if need be. And then I read that line again. if need be.

His crime was too heinous and cruel to justify the experiment of putting a dog with Vick. Perhaps one day after time works its magic. But first, the specter of what he did has to diminish. It hasn't yet.

posted by roberts at 09:12 PM on December 15

Sorry, but I think what both of you wrote is total bullshit. What, a dude who's culturalized into thinking dogfighting is okay has some deep-seated hatred of dogs? Give me a break. You're just showing how ignorant you are of the cultural differences that exist in this country. Once you let a dog into your heart, you could never hurt one.

posted by outonleave at 09:54 PM on December 15

Michael Vick wants To Get a Dog

Clearly not Australian.

posted by owlhouse at 10:18 PM on December 15

From a PR standpoint, this was a dumb thing for Vick to say. If you want to critique it from that vantage point, then the criticisms would be well-founded.

But to talk about the state of Vick's morality/soul & his ability to properly treat a pet, to be completely frank no one has any idea on whether it is a good idea or not. None of us (I'm guessing) knows the guy, who he is behind closed doors today & the like. That's just the truth. Unless one believes that a person can't change, people have no vantage point from which to accurately judge the current state of his character in this area.

So whether he should or shouldn't i can't say. My question: why does much of the public feel the need to cast judgment on this? Especially given the fact that he is already under court order not to get one-the decision has already been made. I think that at times people feel good by presuming to know what's best for people they've have never met.

Full Disclosure: I "nothing" Vick from a fan perspective. Never was a Falcons or an Eagles fan/hater.

posted by brainofdtrain at 10:20 PM on December 15

My point was a PR point.

Once you let a dog into your heart, you could never hurt one.

So presumably he hadn't yet let a dog into his heart before the whole dog fighting thing?

posted by Joey Michaels at 10:28 PM on December 15

Joey,

Fiar enough. My point was also meant as a broader US opinion-level thing. Not directed just at you but also at the inevitable stampede of general moralizing devoid of context that will be coming with this statement.

posted by brainofdtrain at 10:32 PM on December 15

Does anybody have any statistics on the number of people in this country who are convicted and incarcerated annually for dogfighting offences?

My instinct is that they are few and far between.

I believe Mike Vick was a celebrity prisoner, incarcerated as much for his high profile as for whatever offences he committed. Deserved or otherwise, he has now paid his debt to society.

This thread (like many others ) is full of barely concealed hypocrisy. Anybody with the faintest understanding of dogfighting, which is illegal but far from non-existent, knows that pet ownership is a totally unrelated issue.

I have met people who are perfectly responsible pet owners who also own fighting cocks, and fight them legally in Puerto Rico. I understand that PR is not a part of the USA, but it's strategic geographic location warrants much friendly support from our government.

Where is the outcry?

Dogs fight, cocks fight, men gamble.

Mike Vick has had enough punishment. Let his children have a dog.

posted by Irish627 at 11:07 PM on December 15

What, a dude who's culturalized into thinking dogfighting is okay has some deep-seated hatred of dogs?

This was a guy that abused, tortured and murdered dogs. One can reasonably infer that he hated dogs from those actions.

Even if he doesn't, I don't think he should own a dog any more than a child abuser should be able to adopt a child (I assume that he has the legal right to own one, although a condition of his release could have been no more dog ownership).

posted by cjets at 11:47 PM on December 15

There is a special place in Hell reserved for child molesters and animal torturers, and Vick is definitely going there. I don't care how many balls he throws and how many fans go "Wooo...." The guy is an animal torturing asshole who shouldn't be allowed near animals unless he's being fed to them.

posted by Drood at 01:14 AM on December 16

This thread (like many others ) is full of barely concealed hypocrisy.

Where?

I have met people who are perfectly responsible pet owners who also own fighting cocks, and fight them legally in Puerto Rico.

That's an incredibly cruel sport. I would not describe anyone as "perfectly responsible" who engages in it.

posted by rcade at 08:04 AM on December 16

Drood

Well said

posted by Debo270 at 09:13 AM on December 16

"I would love to get another dog in the future. I think it would be a big step for me in the rehabilitation process"

I have to assume he means the rehabilitation of his "image".

posted by kcfan4life at 09:22 AM on December 16

It seems like some of the people here are singling out individual people and not considering a culture. Cock fighting is brutal but don't those same people care for and raise chickens so they can eat eggs? Certain cultures around the world and in the USA have been raised to do things that are repulsive to most but natural to them. Whether you agree with that culture is your opinion, and I do not condone animal cruelty, but it does exist and always will as it is a integral part of some people's culture and way of life. To think that a person raises an animal to fight and cannot have another of the same kind to love is too idealistic in the context of the world. We live in a big messed up world where many of our idealistic values just do not mean anything. Just look at some videos of the way the cattle you eat are killed. Is that humane? No.
I happen to think Michael Vick has paid his dues and when the courts allow him to have a dog, which I hope is soon, he will get one and it will be loved by his whole family.

posted by gfinsf at 09:27 AM on December 16

The guy is an animal torturing asshole who shouldn't be allowed near animals unless he's being fed to them.

The guy was an animal torturing asshole, past tense. Anyone who makes an actual effort in turning their life around for the better should be given a second chance.

That's an incredibly cruel sport. I would not describe anyone as "perfectly responsible" who engages in it.

My grandfather was born, raised and died in Puerto Rico and raised chickens and roosters as most people that live in Puerto Rico have done for decades and as it was a common thing to do, there was plenty of cock fighting going on as is the culture there. My grandfather was a former Army Sergeant and police officer who raised 14 kids with my grandmother, his wife of 45 years. Besides his family, he loved 2 things: my grandmother and baseball.

This man was the most responsible individual who I ever knew and sacrificed everything just so his family can lead a long and healthy life. Just because someone may not understand or agree with the culture doesn't make it wrong.

I don't understand or agree with the "sport" of hunting but it's the culture for some parts of the United States and no one seems to really have a problem with it.

posted by BornIcon at 09:50 AM on December 16

Compare the outcry over abusing and "murdering" of fighting dogs with the accepted practices of puppy mills, profit-first factory farming, and even fenced hunting. The forgotten Eagles QB, Kevin Kolb, enjoys killing boar with a bowie knife. That was treated as nothing more than a fun bit of trivia when he was drafted, mainly framed in such a way to make Kolb seem brave and courageous. Maybe it's not as brutal as what Vick did, but the invective devoted to dog fighting and Vick in particular, in the scheme of things, strikes me as hypocritical.

I think he should be allowed to keep a dog or two inside his home, with their well-being monitored as part of his parole and with a harsh consequence for any sign mistreatment.

posted by cl at 09:52 AM on December 16

QB, Kevin Kolb, enjoys killing boar with a bowie knife

Then if he wanted to buy a boar as a pet, I would be against that too.

Would it be ok with a child molester running the daycare your kid was at if he "did his time and paid his debt"??? I hate to be the reality check but it is not very often that people change. People learn from mistakes and plan to not make the same mistake twice. I dont think he would train the new family dog to fight, but I also dont think he would hesitate to be abusive to a dog if it isnt acting right or wont stop peeing on the floor.

He has done good things since he got out of jail, he has been a model citizen, but NEVER give that man a dog again. He kids want one, grow up and get your own. I wanted stuff as a kid that I didnt get. Thats life.

You break laws, you pay the price. Sometimes it follows you the rest of your life. Thats the way it is.

posted by Debo270 at 09:59 AM on December 16

Anybody with the faintest understanding of dogfighting, which is illegal but far from non-existent, knows that pet ownership is a totally unrelated issue.

Agreed. I'd be comfortable with Vick having a dog whenever his probation is over. What about a fish, can he have a fish? He'd probably tap the glass incessantly.

That's an incredibly cruel sport. I would not describe anyone as "perfectly responsible" who engages in it.

He had "pet owner" after "perfectly responsible." If Dexter Morgan feeds his fish, and doesn't tap the glass, he is a "perfectly responsible pet owner."

posted by tron7 at 10:23 AM on December 16

Would it be ok with a child molester running the daycare your kid was at if he "did his time and paid his debt"???

I think this is ridiculous comparison. If you think child molestation is a valid comparison to what Vick did... well, I strongly disagree.

But I'll play along anyway. If I was leaving town and needed a dog sitter, I'd let Vick watch my dog. Then I'd get my dog a t-shirt that said, "I survived Vick's doggy day care!"

posted by tron7 at 10:34 AM on December 16

I killed a dog; well, I helped take him down to the garbage tip and my buddy and I drew straws to see who would shoot him, and I won, so I didn't pull the trigger, but it was my intention to do so if I had lost. I knew it was the right thing to do; Dave was no longer a good dog, the local pack had ostracized him and attacked him, hurt him enough that he staggered around red-eyed and snarling, and had been menacing kids in the tot lot by the day care. Kill him or we will, came the order, so we did the right thing and gave him a walk, let him run around in the trash for as long as he wanted, poke his nose into all sorts of mess, I told him to sit and rubbed his ears goodbye and my friend did the same and then backed off and put a bullet in his neck.

Since then I've been the go-to guy for mercy killings, those beleaguered chickens you find limp but alive at the bottom of the scrum when you open the long sheds in the morning, little birds with lung blood frothing out of cat wounds in their chests, snakes run over by cars, my friends know I've killed before so they think it's easier for me; I guess it probably is. It helps that I don't have a soul, especially when my friends think they do. Believing in reward or punishment makes it hard to do your own dirty work.

I know killing Dave the dog isn't the same as what Michael Vick did, not by a long shot. Dave was a pet, not an animal kept for fighting. In my case, for each killing, no matter how comfortable people thought I was, there was a panicked moment just after the neck snapped or the head was severed or the gun went off when I thought against all reason and evidence, "Was this animal going to survive, or turn around for the better? Have I just done the wrong thing?" and I quickly put those thoughts out of my head because the answer was always no, that lump of a broken bird was on its way out, that snake was flattened and stuck to the road, Dave had gone mad and it's more important to protect children from a mad dog than to protect a mad dog from their parents.

At the same time I have a lot of understanding for Vick, not because I think in any sense that what he was doing with the fighting dogs was right, but because I know that being the guy who kills animals, even for good reason, is something other people won't ever let you shake. I believe in people's capacity to change, especially when handed a lesson, especially when they're young. From all I can see and hear of Vick, he's grown up quite a bit. I don't know if he's ready to own a dog, that's a complicated question. I do know he was punished, put in jail, and then received counseling, which I see not as punishment but as a hand extended to help a man to his feet, a chance at state-sanctioned redemption.

The test of whether he's grown from this, whether he's learned from his crimes and his punishment and his rehabilitation, is for him to take, as long as he's done everything the court ordered him to do. I think he's foolish to announce it, but then if he had just gone ahead and bought a dog for his kid, the public simplification of his complicated situation would surely blow up all over him, and probably make things tougher for his family and his co-workers. He'll be over this barrel for the rest of his life, whether he gets a dog for his kids, today, tomorrow, or never.

There is nothing as sweet as a dog who loves you that you love back. Puppies can turn stones into hearts. Personally, I really want Vick to get a dog, because I think it would be good for him. I think the world is better when people concentrate on healing themselves and not punishing each other. Maybe he should punish himself more; maybe I should punish myself less. I think the healing and punishing can go on at the same time. Too soon? Maybe for some observers.

I think it's up to Vick.

posted by Hugh Janus at 10:54 AM on December 16

Would it be ok with a child molester running the daycare your kid was at if he "did his time and paid his debt"???

I don't know if this is a valid analogy. Recidivism rates vary for different crimes, and the recidivism rate in predatory sexual crimes is very high, from what I understand -- that's the justification for why criminals in this category should be restricted from contact with people of the sort that they have victimized in the past, or from situations where they have taken advantage of the opportunity to abuse.

Apart from the issue of recidivism and whether it is similar with sexual abuse and animal abuse, there's also the uncomfortable fact that we have widely diverging opinions about what animal abuse is. To one person, a particular act is barbaric and cruel; to another person, it's just what we do with animals. The act could be anything from crating a dog to declawing a cat to transporting an animal via airplane to how you slaughter a steer. A societal concept of justice has to rest on a consensus of what's right and wrong, and where animal rights is concerned, we just don't have such a consensus.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:01 AM on December 16

I don't know the full extent of what he did to the dogs because I'm a dog-lover and I couldn't handle details about it. I know vaguely what he did to them, and that's more than enough. I also don't know enough about dogfighting to know all the breeds that are desired, aside from pitbulls, rotts, and other similarly muscled types (oh, and Boston Terriers, as disgusting as it is to acknowledge how they're utilized).

However.

I wonder, for the girls' sake, if a certain breed would be acceptable, one that dogfighters wouldn't put into the ring unless it was purely for sadistic amusement's sake. Like perhaps a golden retriever or something? Or a small toy poodle? And maybe a volunteer from the Humane Society could be appointed to check up on the dog's welfare on regular occasions for the first year or two? The dog is for the girls, not for Vick, and that's the only reason I'd even consider it in the first place.

posted by evixir at 11:09 AM on December 16

I'm surprised that Vick lacks the sense to avoid the subject of dog ownership until the terms of his probation are up. Surely there are other things he can provide his children to compensate for their inability to own a dog for a few years.

posted by rcade at 11:13 AM on December 16

Also, Hugh, thanks for adding your perspective to this. I think it's a very valuable one. I can't say I could do what you do or have done, but I can understand the situation you find yourself in.

posted by evixir at 11:16 AM on December 16

Just because someone may not understand or agree with the culture doesn't make it wrong.

Just because something is an accepted part of a culture doesn't make it right. Slavery was an accepted part of Southern culture for more than a century. Does that mean my slaveholding great-great-granddad gets a pass on moral culpability for owning a half-dozen blacks?

posted by rcade at 11:17 AM on December 16

I own a pit bull dog which I rescued. It is the second one for me. I have owned a pit bull continuously for the last 17 years. Both of my dogs were rescued from a future of dog fighting. One thing I have noticed is that even though the average person has an opinion regarding dog fighting very few actually know anything about it. I will never defend what Michael Vick did, not because I am making a judgment about dog fighting vs the natural cruelty all around us, in nature or that occurs in all of the raising animals for food, or breeding or sport, but because I think the unnecessary torture of speaks to the heart and soul of an individual.

Most ranchers love cattle, they raise, care for and treat them for their ailments prior to slaughtering them. Many farm kids raise and care for animals in the 4-H Club only to later have those animals slaughtered for food later. Most DOGMEN involved in the raising of pit bulls love them with a passion just as Horsemen love and appreciate Race Horses. Without getting into the whole history of dog fighting, bull baiting etc. I will say that in the breeding of animals, the practice of culling, or removing inferior specimens is common place. The reason your German Shepherd, or Poodle or Dachshund is what it is, is because breeders have been culling any dog not worthy in of show, sale or breeding. No breeder for profit feeds or cares for an animal that cannot produce end results.

All that aside the real question here is can a man change. For all my dislike in the past for Michael Vick there are millions of homeless dogs destined to die of neglect, over population etc in shelters all over the country. Maybe owning a pet could be the best therapy in the world for both a needy dog and for Micheal Vick. Maybe he can help redeem himself by providing a home for a dog otherwise destined for death anyway. A win win so to speak.

It is easy for the average middle class, white bred American to criticize a kid who grew up poor in an area like the rural South where dog fighting may have been acceptable. Most anybody who has had any experience with fighting dogs, while despising the cruelty involved in the practice, can appreciate the gladiator/athletic qualities of the animals. Pitbulls are the most loyal, loving, trusting, do anything for their owner including fighting to their own death dogs you will ever find. Humans encouraged and cultivated their animal aggression and it is dog fighting that actually has made them the remarkable animals they are. Sport is funny, we claim to be against violence, and it is a crime for one individual to assault another, yet we cheer and admire the uber athlete, watch men like fighters and football players engage in violent combat, pay them like kings while we devour chicken wings and cheer. Plenty of hypocrisy to go around.

I say let Mr. Vick try to love and care for a dog. The dog will be better off and so will Vick. The risk to reward factor seems relatively low to me.

posted by Atheist at 11:39 AM on December 16

"Would it be ok with a child molester running the daycare your kid was at if he "did his time and paid his debt"??? '

I would say comparing a sexual predator in this case to Vick is a little unfair. Sexual tendencies have been proven to be incurable. Those base animal urges and sexual attractions are not the same as other behavioral issues. A better comparison is a Thief. Could a person who once stole money, then paid their debt to society, ever again be trusted with money or say work at a bank. I would say certainly. The sexual predator is never fixed or changed, he can only try to supress the urge that is always present. There is a huge difference.

posted by Atheist at 11:45 AM on December 16

Wow Hugh, that's powerful stuff. Thanks.

posted by yerfatma at 11:54 AM on December 16

The guy was an animal torturing asshole, past tense.

Kinda. There's a lot of people out there, myself included, who feel that Vick will always be an animal torturing asshole, no matter how many years removed he is from his last torture. If someone kills a person, are they not always a murderer? Semantics, I suppose, and we've been through this before.

So that being said, if Vick can do some good and adopt a pet for his children, perhaps teaching them the value of having a loving family dog around, I don't guess I'd object to it. Maybe after seeing the joy on his daughters' faces and understanding what an animal can do for a family he will understand precisely why so many people hate him and will never forgive his crimes. And that would be a huge step in the right direction.

Also-hell of a post Hugh.

posted by tahoemoj at 01:13 PM on December 16

Maybe owning a pet could be the best therapy in the world for both a needy dog and for Micheal Vick. Maybe he can help redeem himself by providing a home for a dog otherwise destined for death anyway.

Or maybe we should just accept that a guy with a track record of torturing animals doesn't get to own animals any more. We're not talking about his ability to make a living or keep his health -- we're talking about pets, and specifically giving a pet to someone who is known to kill animals for his own selfish reasons.

We wouldn't let a known sex offender adopt, and we wouldn't give Bernie Madoff our bank card, would we?

Stop making Michael Vick out to be a victim because he shouldn't have a dog.

posted by wfrazerjr at 02:01 PM on December 16

Stop making Michael Vick out to be a victim because he shouldn't have a dog.

That's an uncharitable and inaccurate simplification of what other people are doing here. You're telling people not to write what you've clearly refused to read.

posted by Hugh Janus at 02:39 PM on December 16

Your saying I'm being uncharitable and making inaccurate simplifications is an uncharitable and inaccurate simplification of what I wrote.

Now, do we continue on this merry-go-round?

posted by wfrazerjr at 02:49 PM on December 16

Having had to put down 3 of my 4 cats, grown elderly and unwell, in the past couple of years, I fully echo Hugh's sentiments. You always wonder if you've done the right thing, and despite the assurances from the veterinarian and your friends, you're never sure.

Should Vick have a dog? With all of the scrutiny he's under, I would suggest that he would be very unlikely to mistreat one. If he and his family want one, let him get one.

posted by Howard_T at 02:56 PM on December 16

Now, do we continue on this merry-go-round?

No. Step off.

posted by Hugh Janus at 02:57 PM on December 16

Of course, after you. :)

Okay, then let's take this up.

I think it's up to Vick.

In what other situations would you find it acceptable for a criminal to set the parameters for he or she to go back to being involved in the thing for which they were sentenced?

Can drunk drivers say they're now sober and get their cars back? Can those involved in financial swindles promise to never do it again and get a broker's license? If you stopped by to see a serial rapist and he told you, "Hey, I'm rehabilitated," would you bring him on home?

Or should we look at those people with a jaundiced eye and think, "Well, he says he's fine, but his track record says otherwise. Maybe he can have some freedoms and privileges, but in certain instances, maybe we should restrict this person from access to what got them in trouble in the first place?"

I'm not saying the equation is:

Michael Vick + dog = certain dog massacre

But given Vick's history, why does he deserve a second chance with the very thing he destroyed to get him where he is?

posted by wfrazerjr at 03:10 PM on December 16

why does he deserve a second chance with the very thing he destroyed to get him where he is?

Can you explain your concept of the US justice system to the rest of us? You also seem to be conflating what the law is with your personal view of what is moral. You're obviously welcome to your beliefs, but it doesn't mean the world works the way you think it should. Drunk drivers do get their cars back. People who lose their certification due to crimes or misdeeds (lawyers, doctors, brokers, etc) can get their certification back depending on the situation.

posted by yerfatma at 03:20 PM on December 16

Slavery was an accepted part of Southern culture for more than a century

Are you really comparing slavery to cock fighting? And here I thought that the comparison to child molestation was a stretch.

posted by BornIcon at 03:22 PM on December 16

given Vick's history, why does he deserve a second chance with the very thing he destroyed to get him where he is?

Well, I could give fuckall about him, but his daughters (a) shouldn't have to suffer for transgressions their father is extremely unlikely to repeat, and (b) would likely benefit from having a family dog around.

posted by tahoemoj at 03:25 PM on December 16

Are you really comparing slavery to cock fighting?

No. I'm challenging the bullshit excuse that because something is "cultural" it gets a free pass.

posted by rcade at 03:39 PM on December 16

Slavery was an accepted part of Southern culture for more than a century. Does that mean my slaveholding great-great-granddad gets a pass on moral culpability for owning a half-dozen blacks?

I think your great-great-granddad needs to be judged based on the time in which he lived. What is the point of removing events from their cultural context?

posted by bperk at 03:40 PM on December 16

I think your great-great-granddad needs to be judged based on the time in which he lived.

In the time that he lived, there were abolitionists who knew that slavery was wrong. Just as there are people today who aren't wobbly on the issue of dogfighting and cockfighting. I don't care how country Vick's upbringing was. He still should have known that his treatment of dogs was savage. I'm not one of the people lining up to kick his ass forever, but I also shed no tears over his lost reputation and lost millions.

posted by rcade at 03:42 PM on December 16

Sorry for the sniping, wfrazerjr.

Okay, then let's take this up.

I don't think keeping a dog as a pet for his daughters is what Vick was sentenced for. He went to prison for running a dogfight and for abusing and killing his fighting dogs. In my view those are very different circumstances, even if you disregard the fact that he has since then gone to prison and emerged so far a model of behavior. I hope he continues to surprise his critics, though they are unlikely to ever see him as anything other than a dog-killer. If a judge, or the law, said he could never own a dog again, that would be one thing. But they didn't, and I think that's a smart judge and a well-written law, because they take into account that most criminals aren't heartless recidivists. If anything, I'd imagine he'd feel more remorse for his former cruelty as he learns to love a pet dog along with his kids.

I like to think we're all humans, and that we all get second chances. The law seems to agree with me. Drunk drivers prove themselves sober and remorseful enough to get their licenses back all the time. Brokers' licenses are reinstated as well. I'm pretty sure, like anything, these are looked at on a case-by-case basis. The bring-home-a-serial-rapist angle is an attempt to make it personal and paint me into a corner: the Ben Roethlisberger thread is somewhere else.

Perhaps we differ on second chances, and whether everybody should get them. It's my opinion that regret can often spur great love, and second chances aren't only good for those who receive them, but for those who offer them as well.

On the issue of whether Vick should be the one telling us he's rehabilitated right now, like I said above, I think he's foolish to say so. But I think he deserves a second chance because it would be good for everyone involved.

posted by Hugh Janus at 03:44 PM on December 16

No. I'm challenging the bullshit excuse that because something is "cultural" it gets a free pass.

I'm not saying that 'because something is "cultural" it gets a free pass', I commented on your opinion that "[you] would not describe anyone as "perfectly responsible" who engages in [cock fighting]" since I disagree with that opinion but your entitled to believe what you want.

We americans consider dogs to be pets while other countries look at dogs as dinner, would you consider that a cultural thing or their way of life?

posted by BornIcon at 04:01 PM on December 16

We americans consider dogs to be pets while other countries look at dogs as dinner, would you consider that a cultural thing or their way of life?

That's not really my place to judge, since factory farming produces a lot of the food in my diet. I don't see how Chinese people eating a dog could be any more offensive than me eating bacon. Pigs are smart.

posted by rcade at 04:09 PM on December 16

In the time that he lived, there were abolitionists who knew that slavery was wrong. Just as there are people today who aren't wobbly on the issue of dogfighting and cockfighting. I don't care how country Vick's upbringing was. He still should have known that his treatment of dogs was savage.

The abolitionists in the South were the exceptional people. I don't know how much blame you can place on people for not being exceptional. Plenty of people grew up in the same kind of neighborhood Vick grew up in and didn't grow up to fight dogs. But, if you look at the culture, music, movies, videos, conversation, there is no denying that dog fighting is commonplace. It just seems harsh to judge people for not being better, smarter, and more moral than the people around them.

posted by bperk at 04:25 PM on December 16

Pigs are smart.

But they're filthy animals.

posted by tron7 at 04:44 PM on December 16

I guess I just don't see the huge issue here...Vick is only not allowed to have a dog when he's on probation. The various other criminals mentioned in prior posts don't get their licenses/rights back until they're off probation as well.

Once he fully serves his time, he'll be free to get the dog. End of story for me.

posted by dviking at 05:03 PM on December 16

But they're filthy animals.

Yeah, but bacon tastes gooooood.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:05 PM on December 16

End of story for me

But it's not about you. It's about the dog.

Anyway, I'm getting a strong sense of deja vu. We've had this discussion and not much changes.

I couldn't care less about the charges of hypocrisy (we all do it). I'm not sure how anyone could believe this isn't a huge issue (though I think that more than anything colors most people opinions... just a dog...). I don't see Vick as a 'past animal abuser' (that's a new one for me. You pay your debt and you shouldn't be discriminated against, but that doesn't change who you are, and your past is certainly part of that.).

I also think Vick bringing it up now has more to do with his current revitalization than anything else. He knows he's loved again, he's been forgiven, why shouldn't he be able to get a dog?

But I'm also realistic, and though I don't think he deserves a dog, I doubt anyone would be less likely to abuse an animal than Vick under surveillance by, well, everyone. And there's a lot of dogs that need homes. So I'll just go with that.

posted by justgary at 06:47 PM on December 16

Can you explain your concept of the US justice system to the rest of us?

Who's talking about the law? I don't think I've said anywhere it would be illegal for Vick to get a dog. I am saying, however, that I think it's a little absurd to give a living thing to someone who's already got a track record of killing that same living thing.

And maybe those people get their cars and certifications back -- but not on their own timetable, and again, they aren't proven killers (although in the instance of those getting DUIs, I don't believe they ever should drive again).

Hugh, I understand that you're seeing shades here in between dog fighting and having a family pet, and you think Vick should have a second chance at handling an animal -- I commend you for it.

However, I just don't believe some people should get a second chance, and especially not when the crime involves death or torture. I could care less how remorseful Vick is, or whether he thinks his children are being deprived of having a pet -- perhaps he should have considered those things while he was murdering dogs.

I also think wanting to give a second chance is predicated on empathy for the guilty. I do hope Vick has a long and happy life, and I hope he's a good father. I just don't think he needs a dog around to make that happen, and I don't think it's fair to the dog to say, "Well, let's see how this works out. Maybe he won't kill it this time."

posted by wfrazerjr at 06:58 PM on December 16

I just wonder if he took his family, which includes his little girl, to see the dogs fight to the death. And then witness "good old "Dad" toture and execute a few? And as an aside to rcade, does your family have a pet pig? As far as second chances go and paying debt. Do you know of any bank robbers who are bank guards, sex abusers adopting children, and on and on. I jus say no to M.V.

posted by wildbill1 at 07:56 PM on December 16

But it's not about you. It's about the dog

A bit snippy, don't you think? While that attack at my last point seems a bit odd, I would like to point out that I clearly said that it was the end of the story for ME...you're free to debate it ad nauseau if you'd like. Beyond, which my main point was that since Vick is clearly still on probation, he clearly has not fully paid his debt to society, he is not being discriminated against in any way.

So, at this point it's not about the dog, it's about Vick and his current debt to society (at least how one judge views it)

posted by dviking at 08:30 PM on December 16

and I don't think it's fair to the dog to say, "Well, let's see how this works out. Maybe he won't kill it this time." I honestly don't get it - do you really think this has logic to it, or does it just satisfy your vindictiveness? You think Vick is stupid enough to kill a dog in full sight of the world at this point?

posted by outonleave at 08:44 PM on December 16

You think Vick is stupid enough to kill a dog in full sight of the world at this point?

Are you saying he's a genius because he tortured dogs before and either thought he wouldn't get caught or didn't care if he did? Because if you're stupid or fucked up enough to do it once ...

posted by wfrazerjr at 08:51 PM on December 16

wildbill1, the girls may already have been exposed to dogfighting. I doubt it, and I hope not, but it's possible. And you know damn well if they don't already know what their father did to dogs, they will know in the future. Vick knows this and if he's got half a brain cell in his head, he'll have talked to them about it and explained why he did it. (And then maybe he can explain to us.)

You might consider for a moment how many systems programmers out there are former hackers/crackers/script kiddies. How many security experts used to break into things on more than one occasion. Seen the film "Catch Me If You Can"? Thought about how many child abusers end up getting their kids back? A whole lot, if they're blood relation. Sometimes people can rehabilitate, and if we don't give people a chance to do so, well, I hope you love having your taxes quadrupled every year to pay for all the prisons, cos imprisonment alone is not enough.

posted by evixir at 08:54 PM on December 16

Why anyone can find the time, energy or enthusiasm to get all riled up about Michael Vick at this point is no longer Michael Vick's fault. It's theirs.

Look, I know the scourge of dogfighting is still keeping our children home at night and animals are so rarely murdered, like say at a rate of several thousand a minute, across this great land, but it's been almost four years.

I think it's just one of those easy moralities - clear. Uncomplicated. Simple.

In other words - bullshit.

My thoughts were basically - he shouldn't have said that. What's next?

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:38 PM on December 16

FWIW the president of the Humane Society said after this came out that he felt Vick deserves a chance to own a dog again.

My basic final thought is just that there are so many dogs in shelters waiting to be euthanized that if they could understand the situation they would happily volunteer to be adopted by Vick. The possibility of a premature death is much more attractive than the certainty of a premature. So there are a lot of poor dogs that have nothing to loose.

I also could care less whether or not he is allowed to have one I just think it could be good for the dog and him with little down side.

One thing I have always known about Michael Vick is that he has always demonstrated very poor judgment. The mere fact that he is discussing the ownership of a dog in public, after what he has done, whether or not I care, may demonstrate his judgment has not improved. Even if it is only a public relations issue.

posted by Atheist at 03:25 PM on December 17

Or its a way of showing that he really has learned from his experience and wants a chance to teach his children the correct responsibilities of owning a pet.

This country is all about second chances. I'd hate to have to keep paying over and over again for every mistake I ever made.

posted by irunfromclones at 07:52 PM on December 17

A bit snippy, don't you think?

Not really meant to be. I just don't believe the answer is if we believe Vick has served his punishment, but whether a dog is safe with him.

posted by justgary at 04:00 PM on December 18

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