Hello. I have been following the Michael Vick story and am wondering where BADRAP stands. I didn't see anything on the badrap.org web site. I read in the news that the HSUS has met with him. Since BADRAP took in so many of his beautiful dogs, I thought you guys would be worth listening to on the topic. Is there any indication that he is sincere and recognizes how bad his actions were? Has he actually done anything to show remorse for his cruelty to the dogs you took in? My gut-reaction is to be very dubious. There's just too much money at stake for him if no NFL team will take him on because of this. I think that any public-service ad he does for the HSUS is too little ... too easy. But, I'm just an observer in the whole mess. You guys saw it up-close and I would trust your judgment on the current situation.
Good question. Because we're a group of many individuals who've been deeply involved as well as personally affected by the case, we've resisted forming an official BR statement on Vick's reported attempts to redeem his image. But I thought I would post a few of our individual opinions here for those who may be curious.
From Tim Racer - It is no mystery that Michael Vick wants another chance at the game, the money, and the fame that he once possessed. I am all about forgiveness and second chances – when one is truly remorseful . There is of course a world of difference between feeling badly about a wrong doing, and feeling badly about being caught. Who knows where Roger Goodell stands on this? I am disappointed that there has to be so much time spent to make such a seemingly simple decision about whether this man should ever play the game again. He ran a major felony dog-fighting operation since he first became a professional ball player – for his entire six year career. He fought and he killed countless innocent animals, some by repeatedly slamming their skulls and spines into the ground until they broke. What exactly *does it take to be released from the NFL?
Twenty three months in prison does not make a sick (in the truly medical sense of the term) individual like Vick, better. Mike has teamed up with the HSUS to to good things now. His agents made it so. Good move. Maybe that will help him play again.
For those who believe Vick has paid his dues, I would have to differ. He has not and will not spend a single day behind bars for animal cruelty as his federal charges were for racketeering. And as for remorse, Vick pled NOT GUILTY to animal cruelty charges at his state trial – and it was dropped in a plea deal. How can this man be remorseful for his crimes if he does not even believe he was cruel to animals?
From Nicole Rattay, who cared for the dogs in VA, and now provides a home for the very damaged Iggy -
Michael Vick has a history of negative behavior. His release from incarceration is only the most recent chance he has been given. How many does he deserve? I don't know. What I do know is that real, lasting change takes hard work. Work that so far Mr. Vick has failed to demonstrate a willingness or ability to do. It would be nice if he were able to maintain some positive changes in his life, I guess time will tell.
From Letti, Uba's adopter - Vick has a huge opportunity to turn his life around and make some very positive changes for himself and the dogs he tortured. Pit bulls and their owners have to constantly prove to the world that pre-concieved notions about pit bulls are misguided. Vick is facing the same up hill battle to show dog lovers that he truly understands his offenses and that he can change. When we take our dogs out in public, we hope that people are open minded enough to accept our dogs and learn about the true nature of pit bulls, so we should also endeavor to be open minded enough to allow Vick to attempt his own redemption. As Kathleen said, I hope that Vick has the tools to change.
From me (Donna) - I admit I'm stuck on this one because I just can't get myself away from the swimming pool in Vick's yard. I first learned about it while riding in the back seat of a federal agent's car that sweltering Tuesday back in Sept 07. The agent was assigned with escorting us to the various Virginia shelters so we could evaluate "the evidence" otherwise known as 49 pit bulls - now known as cherished family pets: Hector, Uba, Jhumpa, Georgia, Sweet Jasmine and the rest. I'm not sure if sharing insider information with us was kosher, but you know how driving down long country roads can get you talking. I imagine she just needed to get some things off her chest. She said she was having trouble sleeping since the day they exhumed the bodies on the Moonlight Road property. She said that when she watched the investigators uncover the shallow graves, she was compelled to want to climb in and pick up the decomposing dogs and comfort and cradle them. She knew that was crazy talk, and she was grappling with trying to understand such a surprising impulse.
Her candor set the tone for this entire saga. Everyone we worked with was deeply affected by the case. The details that got to me then and stay with me today involve the swimming pool that was used to kill some of the dogs. Jumper cables were clipped onto the ears of underperforming dogs, then, just like with a car, the cables were connected to the terminals of car batteries before lifting and tossing the shamed dogs into the water. Most of Vick's dogs were small - 40lbs or so - so tossing them in would've been fast and easy work for thick athlete arms. We don't know how many suffered this premeditated murder, but the damage to the pool walls tells a story. It seems that while they were scrambling to escape, they scratched and clawed at the pool liner and bit at the dented aluminum sides like a hungry dog on a tin can.
I wear some pretty thick skin during our work with dogs, but I can't shake my minds-eye image of a little black dog splashing frantically in bloody water ... screaming in pain and terror ... brown eyes saucer wide and tiny black white-toed feet clawing at anything, desperate to get ahold. This death did not come quickly. The rescuer in me keeps trying to think of a way to go back in time and somehow stop this torture and pull the little dog to safety. I think I'll be looking for ways to pull that dog out for the rest of my life.
So that's where I'm at. A second chance for Vick?
An HSUS sponsored spokesman for ending torture? In my mind's eye Vick is still in the shadows at the side of that pool. As many times as this scene plays out my head, he hasn't yet moved towards that dog to pull him out. Not there yet.
That's it for now. We may hear from more of the foster homes and adopters as the news unfolds.