Wednesday, December 12, 2007

From the Courthouse to the Cemetery

A Blog from Tim Racer about his impressions of the courtroom and street scene on sentencing day:



Jumping off a redeye - sans sleep - and into a courthouse line to see the biggest pit bull-related case of the millenium is a sure way to catch a dose of the surreal. Although it was Vick who was the bad guy and American Pit Bull Terriers were - for once - understood as the victims in this drama. All the events of this day were oddly juxtaposed to create a very dreamlike quality: It was gorgeous weather and excitement filled the air, but people were gathered to witness a superstar sports hero lose everything he had...PETA volunteers held posters of tortured pit bulls, however none of them that I asked, realized their own organization's stance of advocating for the extermination of the breed....Answering a reporter that "Yes, I want to see Vick receive the maximum sentence," yet I don't believe in our failed penal system... And listening to a federal judge so kindly refer to Vick's pit bulls simply as "dogs." I really must be dreaming.


Above ESPN set up a stage for the day's big sports event. Peta supporters carefully positioned themselves in front of their cameras.

The only thing that made complete sense to me was Vick's attorney's assertion that "Michael is depressed" (which is why he self medicated). That's okay Michael, you just go on right ahead and be depressed, because you have every right to be depressed. You pissed your life away because you couldn't give up your dog-fighting addiction. At least you won't be stuck behind bars for eight solid months in an overburdened shelter without getting out once to see the light of day. At least you will have a toilet in your cell and won't be forced to live in your own filth until someone comes and hoses it out with you in it. At least you will be able to take a walk.

Michael Vick said he was sorry, but words are just words, and people who really work with dogs understand body language. Vick was not remorseful about his actions, he was just upset that he got caught. Like the day months ago that he made his public apology, again, Vick mentioned his apologies, but failed to include the dogs. He again never even mentioned the word "dog." So how can he be remorseful? Judge Hudson gave him near the maximum recommended sentence because he too recognized that Vick was "not taking responsibility for his actions." However he did knock off one month due to the fact that Michael gave money to his church.

Back to surrealism. Nicole and I decided to end the day by taking a trip to Moonlight road. Vick's house is up for auction - just call us curious. When we got there, we saw that directly across the street from the house was a church. A church! The boys were fighting and killing dogs across the street from a chapel for six years. Wow!

Dogs were baying in the woods and metal was being thrashed around and echoed in the trees. We needed to get away from the creepy feelings we were both having, knowing how many dogs were unearthed on that property and wondering how many more tiny skeletons might still be there. We will always be haunted when pondering how many dogs never made it out alive, because we all know that the eight dogs that they killed in April were just the tip of the iceberg. Then our car alarm started randomly triggering (eek!) so we decided the best way to shake it was to go work some dogs.

We've been providing interim care for many of Vick's dogs (but they really aren't his anymore), so we headed over to pay a visit and run a dog. It was the best way to close a strange day, because after all - it is and always will be about the dogs. ~ Tim Racer

9 comments:

jenny said...

Thanks. We are all so indebted to you and BAD RAP.
Here in MN we're fighting a proposed statewide breed ban and as you can imagine the Vick matter both has and hasn't helped.
Your blog here reminds me of an article that hit the lead of the New York Times' webpage: "Menacing Vick Dogs Await their Fate." I raised some hell about it (the only interview was with the guy who hosed out their cages!) and got a response. Later when I followed up, after all but two dogs were exonerated, I got no response at all. I can't get that particularly stellar example of awful media treatment of our favorite breed out of my head because, unfortunately, we all know it's so typical.
BAD RAP's dogged determination is a HUGE inspiration to me, and the rest of us here who hope MN won't join Ontario. Thanks, thanks, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Tim,

Thanks so much for your inspiration to all of us out there who love this breed in a way that many can't imagine.

I woke up this morning, sandwiched between Stan and Lily (my dogs) in bed, feeling like such a lucky girl to have them....as I know that you and Donna feel about Honky and Sally.

You chose to do the right thing...'run a dog' and I'll be heading over to hillsidespca in Pottsville PA this weekend to do the same thing. Walk 'em, take 'em for a ride in the car, go through a drivethru where their manners are better than Stan and Lil's and I can show them off to the public.

Keep moving forward...we may actually have some momentum.

Dina

Anonymous said...

Tim,

Thanks so much for your inspiration to all of us out there who love this breed in a way that many can't imagine.

I woke up this morning, sandwiched between Stan and Lily (my dogs) in bed, feeling like such a lucky girl to have them....as I know that you and Donna feel about Honky and Sally.

You chose to do the right thing...'run a dog' and I'll be heading over to hillsidespca in Pottsville PA this weekend to do the same thing. Walk 'em, take 'em for a ride in the car, go through a drivethru where their manners are better than Stan and Lil's and I can show them off to the public.

Keep moving forward...we may actually have some momentum.

Dina

Donna said...

Hang in there Jenny. MN is on all of our radars right now. And the dogs from the shelter you speak of will certainly have something to say about the language that was used to condemn them.

Speaking of criminalizing the victims, have you read this wonderful opinion piece from Animal Farm Foundation?

http://www.animalfarmfoundation.org/topic.php?topic=95

Anonymous said...

Thank you Bad Rap, thanks for being the inspiration, for the dogged determination (gameness?) you show, and for providing the hope we all need in saving this wonderful breed. I hope that whatever source you use to inspire you is in abundance for you.

Lynn

Mac`s Gang said...

Thank you for all you`re doing for these dogs.
Thanks for bringing the hypocrisy of PETA to light.
I also noticed that there was no mention of the dogs in Vick`s apology.
He is sorry he got caught.
I hope he gets the "rest of his sentence" from some of his new neighbours that may genuinely care about dogs.

Anonymous said...

Can we call them something other
than v**k dogs now ?

How about the fortunate ones ?

EmilyS said...

did someone jump the gun on disclosing whereabouts?
Washington Animal Rescue League holding for Best Friends ... my those kennels (?) are clean! must be those cascading fountains...

that chocolate boy sure looks ready to go to a real home (the same dog, I'm sure, being shown having to be dragged away, poor baby)

http://video.nbc4.com/player/?id=194744

http://www.wjla.com/news/stories/1207/480087.html

Tim said...

Sorrry for the late post, but yes, someone did jump the gun, or rather, ignored their confidentiality agreement. Boosts donations doncha know?

I don't know what else to call the Vick Dogs since it sums up where they came from, Kind of like a "Katrina Dog." But I can sure understand why that label can be seen as a stigma since Vick equals ick. Fortunately, since these guys are finally seen as victims, it doesn't stigmatize *them.

Thanks for all the good vibes y'all.