Friday, August 14, 2009

Woe is Philly

Something has been going seriously wrong for animals and their advocates in Philadelphia, PA. Since Vick's jail sentence was announced in December 2007, over two dozen crimes committed against companion animals were reported in this city. (Source: Pet-abuse.com) Some say the trend of animal abuse is on the rise. George Bengal, the Philly SPCA director of law enforcement, was quoted to say, “I've been doing this job for 18 years and I’ve never seen the amount of starved to death dogs or fighting dogs that have been killed in various locations around the city.”

The abuses go above and beyond staged dog fights. Young people in Philadelphia have been staging very purposeful acts of violent torture.

Last September, "a horrified neighbor called the Pennsylvania SPCA after witnessing four teenagers walk a young pit bull to the commuter rail tracks near Front Street and Tabor Road. The teens wrapped a towel around the dog, doused it with lighter fluid, and then set it ablaze." The dog was charred and smoldering when officers arrived at the scene. Back in January, "the battered body of a dead pit bull, stoned with chunks of concrete and bricks, was found hanging from a railing at an abandoned school." Source I could go on with the long list of gruesome reports, but you get the picture.

The City of Brotherly Love is certainly facing some very real challenges with seeing that love distributed to its four-legged brothers, pit bulls especially. And now they have one of the world's most infamous torturers prepped to sign autographs for young people who will, undoubtedly, look up to him as their gladiator hero.

What a shame that they don't have one of the good guys from the NFL who have proven their commitment to compassion. Like former Raider Jarrod Cooper (below), a volunteer at Oakland Animal Services whose concern for animals needs no scripting from media savvy PR coaches. After all, as author Kitty Kelly has said, "A hero is someone we can admire without apology."



My heart sank for Philly when I heard the news of Vick signing with the Eagles. My first thought was for of all the people on the ground who work day in and day out there to sort through this terrible trend - and for the pit bulls especially, who suffer a disproportionate amount of the abuse. I can only imagine some animal workers may be so utterly discouraged that they throw their hands in the air and leave the city that has decided to embrace a man who laughed - laughed - while dogs were crying out in pain.

(Question: Does laughing during torture count as a "mistake?")

I don't know what we can possible say to console you, Philly animal defenders, but please know that we're thinking of you today and the terribly difficult situation you're facing in your town.

83 comments:

Newman's Mom said...

I for one am getting on the computer right now & I am writing a letter to the Eagles & it won't be pretty. I am disgusted.
Newman's Mom

Becky said...

I have already checked the games, and the Eagles play in Oakland on Oct. 18th. Wonder how many survivors of his carnage could make that a visit he won't forget?

Newman's Mom said...

This is what I sent to The Eagles via their online site.

I am stunned that the Eagles have signed Michael Vick. What kind of a message are you sending to young people who will look up to this monster? He is being rewarded for his murderous, abusive & unconscionable behavior. I am a native of Pennsylvania & right now I am ashamed of my home state. The Eagles had an opportunity here to really send home the message that Vick's behavior is not worthy of the long proud history of the NFL & you blew it, big time. I hope he is booed out of every stadium. This man shows no remorse for what he did & by hiring him you have said you think what he did is ok. Shame, shame on you & I can only hope Vick's karma will catch up with him, soon. I hope someday someone does to Vick what he did to those sweet dogs. What a glorious day that will be.

Newman's Mom

msnform said...

i'm in tears

Cynthia Patane said...

Does anyone know of a petition or resolution that we can sign or support to express our outrage over the Eagles' decision to sign Vick? Thanks, Cynthia Patane

The Other Sally's Mom said...

Beautiful piece, Donna. SO sad about what's happening with the kids and animals in Philly ...

Susan said...

I am a real football fan, and the Eagles and the NFL Commissioner's decisions have affected me much more deeply than I expected. Having a terrible time with this today...

Ken Foster said...

I'm working on putting together an event in Philly, with one of the groups there. I'll be sure to let everyone know when we have an idea of what we'll be doing.

Of course I'm livid. Here in New Orleans, people are talking about Tulane Sociology professor Shayne Lee and his rabid defense of Vick. Among other things, Lee claims that dogfighting is no different than boxing or cooking a lobster. In an interesting "coincidence" his editorial on the subject was published earlier this summer in the Philadelphia paper.

Jill said...

Here is the letter I sent to the Eagles organization today (along with my gear):

Mr. Joseph Banner
President of Operations
Philadelphia Eagles
NovaCare Complex
One NovaCare Way
Philadelphia, PA 19145

August 14, 2009

Dear Mr. Banner:

It is with the most profound level of disappointment that I am enclosing all of the Eagles fan gear I was able to find in my home last night. I have been a die-hard Eagles fan since childhood; I have watched every single game. I have worked hard during my life to scratch together enough money to purchase merchandise and go to the games. The signing of Michael Vick to the team marks the end of my support.

I do not accept the arguments in favor of this addition. Mr. Vick’s crimes were heinous, and his recent public statements do not indicate in any way that he has truly accepted responsibility. He has referred to his actions as a “mistake.” Waking up every morning for six years and making a concerted decision to torture and kill dogs is not a mistake, it’s a choice. He is a serial offender. He has suggested he should not have gotten caught up in these activities, glossing over the fact that he was not just present, but an active participant.

I believe he is sorry for torturing and killing dogs, not because it was wrong, rather because he got caught. There is no possibility that someone who repeatedly commits such atrociously cruel crimes suddenly values life, animal or human. If Mr. Vick is somehow, and I doubt this, seriously interested in redemption, perhaps he should have taken time to prove it off the field in endeavors that don’t carry a multi-million-dollar paycheck.

The decision to add him to the team means the Eagles have chosen to embrace a professional football culture that encourages the worst sort of criminal conduct. It seems the NFL has a rule, no felony or combination of felonies is too severe to deny the player an opportunity to be the face of a product that is marketed to families. I didn’t expect the Eagles to embrace that philosophy, but so you have. You have spit in the face of your fans and given this city yet another black eye.

So I am done, a decision that will not be affected by any success the Eagles manage to obtain. Indeed, I am actively rooting for the opposite: a winless season. Please remove me from the season-ticket holder waitlist and any other fan lists you maintain.

Sincerely,

ill Sterbakov

Tiffany D. said...

Please boycot all sponsors of the Philadelphia Eagles until they withdraw their support of this organization. We need to send a clear message that this is not acceptable. Vick should not be in a position where he is a role model for the youth of this country. Thank you to those who helped rehab his dogs.

Sincerely,
Former Eagels fan for 10 YEARS. Philly resident. Shelter Volunteer.

who wouda thunk it?? said...

I will hope and pray that this moron has "lost his game" and is disgraced on the field. But even moreso, I hope and pray that someone takes this sadist out at the kneecap. Please God, let there be real justice. Sorry, yes, if it happens I will LAUGH

Portia said...

We protested today at the press conference announcing this travesty, and plan more. If anyone is visiting Philly, check for local activities on FaceBook, Twitter and other online media. The majority of Philadelphians DO NOT support this decision, and we love our pitties. I promise.

citydog said...

Jill, that is beautifully written. I'm sorry that you've lost your team. :(

Muireann said...

I just wanted to share the comment I left on the Eagles website (and also sent to them via the "contact us" web form)

Damn. I've been a RABID (ha! get it?) eagles fan for 11 years, but this is more than I can swallow. I can't hear that name or see that face without seeing brutalized dogs and hearing them yelp and scream. Second chance? Really? Did any of his fighting dogs get second chances? Or were they all destroyed?

And no, I'm not some liberal animal rights activist. I'm just a person with 4 big dogs as pets and the thought of putting these sweet animals through that makes me want cry. Or, toss Vick in the ring with someone and let them tear each other apart for my amusment.

I'm going home tonight and boxing up all my Eagles stuff. Might take a few boxes. But as much as I love the Eagles, I hate Vick more. I will not support them while he is on the roster.

I don't know if the Eagles PTB read these comments. But if they do....know that this is one fan who is putting her facepaint away until that monster is gone.

-----------------

I did find that most of the dogs were saved and are being worked with, and added that correction to my original post. BUT it doesn't change how I feel.

Anonymous said...

Answer (to "Does laughing during torture count as a 'mistake?'"): It seals ones fate, is what it does.

*******

Jill, I feel for you. I held my breath that the Raiders didn't sign him, because I too would have dumped all of my Raiders' gear and 36+ years of support. Well-written letter!

s&b/mtry

roxie n jonesey said...

We are heartbroken, We have written letters to the boys and girls club, and EVERY media outlet that was mentioning his return.


So please keep us posted on what else we can do.

Kyle said...

This article says it's a shame there aren't any "good guy" NFL players in Philly...below is an excerpt from the bio of Chris Gocong, a Linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles who is very involved in animal charity projects and working with rescue groups.

Chris did work with the Animal Orphanage in Voorhees, NJ, in the 2008 offseason. Chris and his wife, Mandy, helped to publicize the shelter in its effort to win a "million dollar makeover" contest sponsored by Zootoo.com, a new opinion-sharing website for pet owners. Members from Zootoo visited more than 20 shelters locally to determine which shelter was most in need of a makeover. "My wife and I are big animal lovers, so it was something that I enjoyed doing," said Gocong. "There are so many pets that come into these shelters, that they almost become overloaded. A lot of them need more money so they can better provide for the animals, so it was great being on the forefront to try and accomplish that."

What bothers me is that everyone is solely focused on how horrible his actions were. I agree, he did terrible, terrible things. But nothing can change that. All we can hope for is that he is true to his commitment of helping to abolish animal cruelty and steering youth away from the path he went down. Whether he does it because he genuinely wants to help or because he feels he has to in order to save his career doesn't even matter. Having a high profile professional athlete speaking against animal cruelty can only help Philadelphia. There are plenty of professional athletes that are great humanitarians, unfortunately we never hear about them because it doesn't make for a good story on the news.

Anonymous said...

This is unreal I am an owner of a very beautiful female staffie pit bull not only will she kiss you to DEATH she will love you to DEATH!! I have owned many dogs but she is the smartest most devoted sweetest ones I have ever had! Michael Vick should not even be able to pick up a football!! he should be made into dog food o never mind they would just chew him up and spit him out because I'm sure he taste lik sh__t well so much for that a__hole I really wanted to tell Jill I think her story was beautiful said! I know she had a LOT of money in all of the stuff she had collect & I wanted to THANK HER FOR LOVING PIT BULLS THAT MUCH WAY TO GO JILL I'M ON YOUR TEAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Christina said...

Thank you...I have no words beyond that right now.

ingrid said...

Hello from Philadelphia.

I've been crying since last night when I found out.
I'm feeling so helpless and hopeless right now, I'm so disgusted by my own city.

The worst part is, it's not just the stupid Eagles, it's not just Vick, it's everyone. The reason they can so easily hand over his millions of dollars is because there is so easily millions of dollars in that industry thanks to all the manic crazed professional sports fans out there.

How many decent people are without a job right now? How much in debt is our nation? How many children can't get a good education let alone good health care? But we can afford, somehow, to dump billions of dollars into the sports industry.

I try so hard to remain positive, but this is too overwhelming. I have so much hatred and depression right now that I'm physically exhausted.

I came on this blog to try and remind myself that there are a few decent souls left on this earth.

so tired.

Jen said...

I too noticed that there is a game in Oakland. If anyone plans on going, please let me know as I would love to show my support for the dogs and disgust for the Eagles and Vick.

Lost my team said...

I am heartsick over this decision. Never in a million years did I think my team - a team that has never put up the thuggery that is present on so many other NFL teams - would sign Michael Vick.

Jeff Lurie and the Eagles won't get another single penny from me as long as he is the owner and Vick is on the team.

I have spent my entire life cheering for the Eagles. Our Sunday schedule revolved around the Eagles - if the game was at 1:00, we'd go to 11:00 mass. If the game was at 4:00, we'd eat dinner at halftime.

I feel sorry for all of the other players that have to play alongside such a monster.

Donna said...

Question Kyle .. Assuming you have, or will have, a child... Would you rather he or she be schooled in empathy lessons by Chris Gocong or M Vick?

Which man do you think would do the more convincing job - I mean, REALLY convincing - with inspiring empathy and right-action?

Whichever man you choose should be the one that *the community* of PA puts in front of their children. PSAs are all well and good, but the slightest amount of insincerity or hype will set off alarm bells in kids' bullshit detectors in a hot second and can actually ruin the very real message that true role models have to offer.

I remember when adults told us 'Don't Do Drugs.' Yeah, right. Right before they headed out to the bar. Kids are smarter than adults when it comes to what's real.

Donna said...

Ingrid - My heart goes out to you.

This is horrific news for the most sensitive of people, and you have to protect yourself from it. Turn off the news. Don't read the paper. Don't watch 60 minutes.

You'll find a way to process this but for now, breathe. Meditate. Rent a good movie. Protect your heart as fiercely as you would protect your dog!

Katie Jones said...

I was born in Philly and therefore I was born an Eagles fan. I was also born an animal lover and yesterday , the two met in a head on collision. I now live in Virginia , and work for a dog rescue that places many Pit Bulls in loving homes. I myself own 4 rescued Pit Bulls. I cannot fathom how anyone could give this low life a job after what he did. I look at my dogs and think "What if it were them?" "What if they had to endure that suffering and torture?" All of my dogs suffered some kind of neglect or abuse , thank the heavens none of them were fought.I couldn't remain an Eagles fan or a fan of the NFL and then look my dogs or my children in the eye. I am raising the next generation of animal rescuers, to not remove football from my life would have seemed fake , and like I didn't truly hold fast to my ideals, ideals I am teaching my children. So football is now gone , and I can concentrate on protesting Vick hiring with all the fervor I can. I can love my dogs and know that I am fighting for their lost breed siblings, dogs lost in horror and tragedy , through a heinous blood sport.

Anonymous said...

Hey Donna....Didya notice what Jen said about the game in Oakland in October???? Do you think Coop might be interested in working 100+ pit bulls and their owners into the BLACK HOLE? Wouldn't that make MV feel welcome in BR country? Facing all of those sweet dogs and all of us oh so not-happy-to-see-him owners????

s&b/mtry

Roaming Tigress said...

List of corporate sponsors to boycott:

http://community.livejournal.com/petbulls/4682144.html?thread=43242400#t43242400

The Foster Lady said...

Yes, it's pretty embarrassing to admit you are from Philadelphia these days, particularly today. I am embarrassed. I am ashamed. I am nauseated. The fact of the matter is, no matter how much some will say HE has paid his debt and blah, blah, blah, I have NEVER, NEVER heard him say, 'I admit that I tortured dogs to death and I feel disgusted with myself for doing so.' Saying 'I'm sorry' only tell me, you are sorry that you were caught, else you would be doing the same cowardly, dastardly, inhumane things you were doing in Virginia in 2006!

Donna and Tim, you know my devotion to this breed since I visited out there in 2004. I admire you both for what you have done and feel helpless that I can't do more than I have done.

The insanity that has gone on here in Philadelphia with Animal Control vs egos over the past year is enough to make anyone gag...and for one who has spent hours working in our 80% pitbull facility, I am truly, truly disheartened by it all. The best I can to for now is take care of my own four rescued pitbulls and the two that are in foster care with me. It's a very sad day for us pibble lovers in Philadelphia.

Dina

7staarten said...

i've been perusing reader comments on vick newspaper site articles since the signing was announced, and, am so discouraged. such hate directed at those who disagree with vick's return to the NFL ... most infuriating is a recurring accusation that racism compels anti-vick sentiments.

be (even more) vigilant.

Lizzy said...

I moved from Oakland to the Philly area just a few days before his signing was announced. My first instinct was to turn tail and run home, back to the pittie-loving community I knew in the bay. His face is all over the TV, and seeing it turns my stomach. I always think of Frodo, and the swimming pool. But now I'm inspired to get out and volunteer at shelters here. Philly is no Oakland, but hopefully we'll get there.

Kyle said...

Please read the article that follows the link below. Of course this is America and you don't have to agree with it. But think about it. All of the time and energy put into being angry about something that already happened and you cannot control could be put into something you CAN control, like influencing the population that can be influenced. Young people. I'm mad as hell too, but I'm also a realist. If protesting can convince someone to give up their season tickets, there are 10,000 people behind that person waiting to snatch them up. Even a few thousand people boycotting sponsors will go unnoticed by the Eagles and the NFL. Young people at risk for abusing animals will listen and you have a chance to save animals who have yet to be abused rather than voice your anger at someone who has already done what cannot be changed. Like I said, you don't have to agree. But think about it.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/My-advice-to-those-who-might-protest-Vick-or-the?urn=nfl,182941

Please don't respond to this accusing me of not caring, or calling me a Vick supporter. I assure you, I wish this monster would never set foot on a football field again. I am just hopeful that something good can come out of this rather than just anger, violence, and confrontation.

Anonymous said...

I am outraged, disheartened and depressed by these developments.
--However, despite my instinct (which says to protest, scream & kick in outrage!!!!) I think that the most EFFECTIVE course of action might be to EDUCATE ignorant football fans out there, rather than to protest against their ignorance. (protesting, I think, might only accomplish getting us labeled as 'zealots', or worse, and therefore discredit us the minute we show up...).
-- I suppose the question for me is: How does one TEACH EMPATHY for our furry friends & family in such a way as to enable people of another (or no) persuasion to LISTEN ??? (--Which would take care of the problem, ...and not only due to the fact that the vast majority of 'fans' would boycott games of such infame...).

Anonymous said...

In response to Kyle: You don't use a sociopath to teach children and sociopaths are not able to wake up and decide that they will not torture animals (or people) any longer. This is NOT a matter of redemption or forgiveness or assuming that good will be done by "reaching kids". What happens when the sociopath again either repeats his sickness (deriving pleasure from the torture, maiming and extended death process of animals) or escalates to torturing children or women? What then happens to those kids who listened to Vick? Do they now follow their hero to bigger and better atrocities?

Lynn in N. Cal

Hottie said...

Why not boycott the NFL as a whole? After all Vick was reinstated by the commissioner which allowed any team interested to sign him......

Horatio - the story of a 4th of july bully said...

My heart goes out to you in or from Philadelphia, remember you are not alone, we dog lovers, bully rescuers are behind you!
All of you ex Eagles fans, we are PROUD of you!
The fight is ON, DAMM the whole NFL, their sponsors, the Eagles & the monster V@#$.
I plan to drive with my rescued bullies from Sacramento to the Bay Area for every game with Eagles with NFL - SHAME ON YOU! and
DUMP THE V MONSTER! signs.
Hope to see you all there
Bless you Donna,Tim & BAD RAP for keeping all of us together as a family.
Ena

leigha said...

i remember when this all started that drew carey (comedian/ game show host) said that if vick ever came back to the nfl he will not watch any game at all as long as vick is there. those words ring in my head. while i am a redskins fan and knew that if the skins ever took him i would send my jersey, hats etc back to the team with a very opinionated letter. and while i feel relief that vick was not taken by the redskins i also feel disgust with the nfl as a whole. and i love football but needless to say, i dont love football like i love my dogs and knowing there are so many others who feel as i do, really helps. we all have to realize no matter how this breaks our hearts, that we have the power of our voices. be heard, speak out, boycott, find comfort that you are not alone in your disgust.

Anonymous said...

I saw this on the news today and was outraged. On twitter the responses were both pro and con. It's extremely upsetting hear this what a way to take two steps forward and then five steps back.

Do you guys have a twitter account by any chance? I believe it would be a really great way to bring notice.

Anonymous said...

Those who fight dogs are not man enough to stand up for themselves. They are the epitome of a coward. I think the reason why the increase of the violent torturing of the fight dogs in Philly is because those who fight dogs are trying to state how they will not get caught for their actions. It's pathetic and I truly wish that how they kill and torture the poor dogs is how they will end up dying.

Anonymous said...

I live in the Philadelphia region and I am ashamed and furious at what the Eagles have done. I am especially angry because athletes are held up as role models. In this case, what example and message are we giving to our children?? Vick has a history of character flaws, and the fact that the team hired him to get to the Super Bowl grates at the moral fabric of my soul. At least make him give his $1.6 million salary to help save and take care of animals! I feel sorrow for all of us. I have not spoken with one person in the area who agrees with this decision. So please know we are speaking out! Thanks for all the support.

Kembree said...

I hope I don't upset anyone. I work with several NFL players, great ones in fact. I am appauled at what Vick did, I hate, it as much as all of you. My heart sank when he signed with the Eagles, bc I hoped it wouldnt really happen, but I knew it would. I know how the NFL works, and I do know if Tony Dungy is involved, then he means well. Why don't you all in the Phili area get Vick involved in what you see day to day and try to turn this into a 'tiny' positive and try to get him to do some good. These youth have more in common with him than any of us, and may listen to his mistakes. For some reason they were all raised that this is ok. The Youth need someone who can relate to this. Just a thought, I"m not trying to disrespect anyone at all. I have two pitties at home with me and love them more than you know..I just know there is nothing that is going to change with the Eagles or the NFL decision. Its done, so let's try to make something happen. If it doesnt work, the Phili area tried...Again no offense to any of the work all of you have done..

Anonymous said...

Kembree, no offense taken - and your point of view is my typical MO. But as a mother besides pitty advocate, I would never tolerate a serial rapist or other sociopath to interact with my children or my foster children. Again, in working with inner city youth - why would we, as a society, support putting a known animal torturer (sociopath) in front of those kids as role model. The potential for more harm is much greater than any perceived good.

Lynn in N. Cal

Anonymous said...

It does not seem to be the case on this blog, but does anyone bother looking at the other viewpoint here? The man paid his debt. He continues to try to make amends (whether or not it was just because he was caught - why do most offenders make changes in their life?). I would assert that no one here (including myself) is a completely fair arbiter of whether or not he should be back in the NFL.

More importantly, there are so many other issues that people could take issues against. Starvation, violenece against women, substance abuse, homelessness, disease, war - the list is long and distinguished yet there is this small vocal minority who seem to value pets over people. Why does this group obsess over one famous person who truly just wants to get on with his life? Heck there are NFL players who have killed people and no one is protesting there lives. I guess the life of a person is worth less than a pet nowadays to certain individuals.

You do realize that his reprehensible act is continued every day? There are dog fights in too many cities, towns and rural areas. This cruel act to dogs needs to stop immediately but your protesting Vick getting a new job does actually nothing to stop it. If any one of you were truly brave you would go to these areas and protest there - or is it the fact that you can't complain from the safety of your suburban cocoon which keeps you from trying to actually make a difference. Vick is the only person who was federally prosecuted for this particular crime (it is almost always a state law prosecution). He went to jail, served his time and it should be done.

It also seems that there is a racial tinge to the protest. It always appears that there are a number of caucasian protesters who are driven mad because this man is getting back to his life. What should he do now? Work in your garden or McDonalds for the rest of his life? This is ridiculous. I am also sure that if Brett Favre (another southerner) had been convicted of the crime, many of you would be staying home and not uttering a peep.

I am not sure if I hold any better logic than any of you. I also find Vicks crime to be cruel, but I also find other acts that have been perpetrated by other NFL players to be equally bad or worse. However, no one is protesting them. It just seems that your vehement screams of unconsolable rage and discontent are hypocritical, immature and based on more than one societal bias. Some of your passion is admirable, but the fact that you think Vick is Stalin, Hitler or some other serial killer of humans is misplaced. Many people grow up learning this horrible sport which kills innocent animals. There are bigger ringleaders who need to be punished. The participants need to be prosecuted, their behavior corrected and become educated just as Vick is being educated. Maybe some of you crusading heroes should reach out to current violators or are you only a protester where fine retail stores abound? I think some of you have a bit too much free time, a misplaced value with regards to humans and the inability to forgive people. Accordingly, maybe you will receive the same karmatic justice that each of you has wished in Vick.

Life goes on. People make mistakes and some try to correct them. Others dwell in the past and remain mired in their misgivings.

I wonder where you are? I am not perfect, but at least I am moving forward.

God's blessings on everyone.



P.S. I don't expect this entry to show up on this blog. I suppose it will be a test of how open this forum is.

Donna said...

anon 8:42

Six years worth of systematic killings of companion animals is not a one-time mistake - it's a chosen lifestyle.

Your concern about this being drawn down racial lines is certainly provocative but distracting.

Currently, our org is working with others to clean up the mess left behind by 28 dog fighters in the midwest. 500+ victims of cruelty compared to Vick's 50+. As far as I know, most if not all of those 28 dog fighters are white as snow.

One of the white midwestern men who tortured those dogs was a school teacher - and you better believe he won't be getting his old job back. What parent would want their children exposed to a cruel old white guy who tortures animals for fun?

Vick has a right to make a living - of course. But to be a held up as a gladiator hero for kids to cheer?

Hero status should be earned, never purchased.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps anonymous who wonders where all us white folk are and what we are doing to change things for these animals should come hang out in the pouring rain in east Oakland vaccinating dogs with us. Or maybe they could have gone to Oklahoma in December in the freezing cold to rescue dogs, even saving dogs like Nellie that might not have gotten another chance elsewhere. The efforts of BADRAP are to be honored and commended on every level. As a parent, I wouldn't want that monster Vick any closer to my children than I would want a child molester, rapist, junkie or anyone else with a shady life they CHOOSE to lead. How many monsters that have committed acts against humans "do their time", only to become repeat offenders? How many people are killed every year by drunk drivers that have been busted numerous times before? No one is saying that we put the lives of dogs above the lives of humans, but they need advocates just as children and senior citizens do. I promise that if you had committed such a heinous crime, you would not have gotten off with a slap on the wrist, and would not have gone back to a multi million dollar job, I don't care if you are black, white or purple!

God bless you BADRAP!

Natalie and Osa

Anonymous said...

To anonymous - this forum is comprised of those who choose to advocate for animals, in particular the type of dogs that fell victim to Vick. If you'd like to see or hear about is happening with crimes against women, children, war, etc. then perhaps joining those advocacy forums would be useful. Judging, criticizing and mocking the people who comment on this forum not only is unproductive but repudiates any actual validity to your comments.

Lynn in N. Cal

Anonymous said...

Excerpts from my letter to the NFL and the Philadelphia Eagles:

"It has been reported that since Vick’s jail sentence was announced in December 2007 there has been an increase in crimes committed against companion animals, especially Pit Bulls, so it’s no surprise that the Philadelphia Eagles and Michael Vick would "flock" together. Vick will fit right in. Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love? Not!"

"I, for one, will no longer support the Philadelphia Eagles or watch their games, and I will encourage others to do the same. I will dedicate every game lost to the memory of every vicktim who wasn’t given a chance or a choice by Vick."

Cornelia & PB's Misty & Buddy

Kembree said...

Well I don't mean as a role model, just to show what he has lost. I agree he should have had more jail time and not been allowed back in the NFL, but he did for whatever reason Goddell saw it right, and our criminal system could have given him more jail time, but didn't. I don't know, I just think there has to be some 'good' he can do. Not trying to play the other side at all..just trying to see bc he will play and the better he plays the more fans he will have again..I don't know I'm just thinking even after all of the letters and protests..he will still be there. I volunteer in Memphis (the most crime per capita) and I just see these kids listening to someone that they relate to other than me...racial or not...I just want something good to happen to those dogs in the Phili area that need it..

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 8:42: Donna's answer is perfect. You make a whole lot of unwarranted assumptions about who the readers here are. You know, the kind of assumptions that are often called racism? It doesn't work to teach people not to judge others unfairly by judging them unfairly, does it?

I'd invite you really to read a few months of this blog. If you had, you'd know that the BAD RAP group and their many friends around the country are anything but the sheltered, convenience-oriented "suburbanites" you make them out to be.

The idea that we would, for some reason, forgive Favre if he did the same thing, shows that you really don't know or understand us. You seem like a caring person, so I hope you will try to remedy that.
-pitbull friend in MN

-J. said...

Complete list of Philly Eagles corporate sponsors w/links to contact forms and Twitter contacts if available:

http://tinyurl.com/ozfe8k

It can make a difference.

Brooke said...

*sigh* I wasn't going to take anonymous 8:42's bait, but I can't help it. I will, however, exhibit restraint in my response.

I will never understand the motivations of people who begrudge others in their efforts to make this world a better place; especially when said efforts are aimed at helping those who are completely incapable of helping themselves.

I'm also utterly baffled at the lack of comprehension and awareness exhibited by someone who would post a long comment under a blog article without having the slightest understanding of the organization hosting (and writing) said blog. You know the old saying about assumptions...

Donna, please know that for so many of us, BAD RAP stands as a shining example of the best of humanity in an inhumane world. Thank you so much for all that you do, not the least of which is deflecting the slings and arrows thrown your way by the uninformed and unenlightened. The dogs--and the world we all live in with them--are so much better for your dedication.

leigha said...

to the anon poster earlier who mentioned a racial tinge to this. the only racial tinge to this is that tony dunge wouldnt be so quick to defend vick if he were say a man who looked more like tom brady. but regardless of that, i am insulted that you would suggest that there is a racial tinge on the peoples part who are defending the rights of the dogs. i am against anyone being reinstated to such a priviledged position whether he is black, white, yellow or any other color.

Anonymous said...

Bravo Brooke! Perhaps more organizations should mirror Bad Rap's dedication, commitment and inability to tolerate absolute injustice and cruelty - whether it be for animals, people or causes.

Lynn in N.Cal

Anonymous said...

After reading this, I feel like I was stabbed in the heart. It angers me and saddens me beyond belief. I look at my beautiful girl, Indi and I cannot comprehend how someone can harm a dog.
I hope that it's a sad season for the Eagles. I have a feeling it will be.

Anonymous said...

Donna & Tim:

As I sit here and read the numerous replies to your recent post, I am of course upset by the whole Vick thing but I am more impressed with the reponse you have received for all the hard work you guys have done... Although this Vick issue is a nasty issue and I dont agree with the NFL at all and will also boycott all sponsors, you guys should be proud of yourselves for all your hard work, determination and wonderful rehabbing you have done to these wonderful animals. Keep up the great work. I am a faithful supporter. I do whatever I can to bring the good word of the hardworking pit. I love my pittie and take her everywhere with me.

Beth said...

Not sure if you want to post this but wanted to at least send to you. I know that you were recently part of a new group created with Animal Farm Foundation, Best Friends, HSUS and others to try and turn this thing around and so maybe you already know of this or are participating in this - you have done SO much for these sweet animals and all that you do brings these dogs one step closer to not being such victims.... Philadelphia appears to be the perfect city for the HSUS campaign that seems to have had some success in Chicago and launching in Atlanta. (http://www.hsus.org/acf/fighting/dogfight/programs/). Maybe there are already local organizations there trying similar outreach? All of it just makes me sad, sad, sad. I just cannot understand how people can do these things. So much suffering for such innocent victims and it leaves me feeling helpless and crazy miserable. Damn. Love you guys for all that you do.

smason39 said...

While I hate m vick and have spent the past several months fretting about his inevitable return (I literally almost threw up when I heard a rumor that my Ravens were interested)I know that without his heinous actions and notoriety I would have never discovered BADRAP. I love my pit mix more than anything in this world and have always felt strongly about animal rights, but it wasn't until I learned of Bad Newz Kennels and the subsequent rescue of the dogs that I became so inspired to donate to and work for pit bull bull rescue. If it weren't for what m vick has taught me about animal abuse, I wouldn't be riding my bike 60 miles across the Vermont countryside next week, wearing my "I Love Pit Bulls" shirt (I got from BADRAP) to raise money for a local shelter.

Because of all I've learned, first from evil and then from the kindness and dedication of the rescuers, I teach people about the plight and the joy of pit bulls. I am a teacher and no, I do not ever want my students exposed to m vick the "role model". But I know I have learned from him and I'm grateful for my knowledge.
I think there are people all over the world who never thought twice about dogfighting, who now think about it and want to stop it because of what they have learned from m vick.

No one can control the greed of professional sports, so of course he has returned. This was an obvious conclusion. But since we cannot control where he is and what he has done, we should only focus on what we have learned and what animal saviors like BAD RAP have been able to accomplish in his wake.

Thank you BAP RAP,
Susanna

Anonymous said...

I'm truly ashamed of the NFL (National Felons League) for allowing Michael Vick to be anyone's hero.

The real heroes are the owners of rescued animals, animal shelter workers/volunteers, cruelty investigators, rescue groups and financial supporters who work to promote justice and empathy for the silent who suffer.

As a consumer, please contact the NFL and its sponsors and voice your concerns.... You'll be heard.

Sara said...

As a Philly resident and volunteer with PAWS (www.phillypaws.org), I want everyone to know that Philly animal people are bouncing back BIG TIME and using this as an opportunity to promote pit adoptions. We'll keep you posted on new developments, but the gears are turning.

This Friday a whole bunch of us came out to the sports complex to be heard. Here's a clip of the scene outside Vick's press conference and squishy pit loveman Reggie representing Philly pits on ABC World News :) http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=8332585

PrairiePup said...

Here where I live, football is a cult; the fans can't be educated, nor will they be deprogrammed. Their single-minded and myopic support of the goons and sociopaths (who vastly outnumber the regular good guys) on the team's roster is irrational. Violence is the norm both on and off the field and it doesn't matter to cult members -- oops, I mean fans -- how high the bodies are stacked or whose lives are ruined or how many college girls are raped, so long as the team wins on Saturday.

Their devotion to the game/team is visceral and very tribal -- reason, logic, thoughtfulness, empathy, and an ethic of care are NOT a feature of this particular religious denomination.

And the local newspaper is overflowing with excuses and rationalizations for Vick's return to the game even as smaller towns in this midwestern state enact BSL to 'save' their communities from the real dangers that lurk 'out there'.

Yeah. Right.

CK0712™ said...

Philly born & raised, football writer is my occupation.....i am horrified to know that my own team that i grew up watching.....has signed vick. so many things i want to say but i'm all typed out! please know that not everyone in PHILLY wants that FELON here! I have even denounced my love for my own team over this. I will not watch, i will not support them & i certainly will not be a season ticket holder anymore!

thank you for having this blog, i came across is through pet connections!

Dianne in DC said...

The DC area has had pit bulls on the brain lately. Earlier in the week, a dog was found in a dumpster with horrific wounds from being fought, wrapped up in a black trash bag and secured with duct tape. Amazingly, animal control came to her rescue, and immediately took her to Friendship Hospital for Animals. Here's a link:

http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/news/local/081009_dog_found_in_dumpster_survives

Today I went by Friendship to attend a fund raiser for the dog, now named Trooper. I was wearing my long sleeved shirt that features a handsome pit bull and is emblazoned "Let one dog restore your hope." As I approached the group on the sidewalk, Officer Russell and the two WHS volunteers said in chorus "Oh, Bad Rap! We love Bad Rap!"
When I got back to the car I looked down at my chest to make sure the shirt does say Bad Rap but in tiny letters.
I think we all realize that this dog would have been "humanely euthanized" just a few short years ago. Its the work of Bad Rap, and Best Friends, and the legal team that fought the Vick case. Because of your work Trooper is alive today. No doubt she will be one popular pittie, and I hope that will draw folks into the shelters to rescue more of these great dogs.

Anonymous said...

BAD RAP - Great connection - I didn't make it myself. Over the past couple of years I have been stunned at the horrific cases of animal abuse in Philly. But, I didn't get the irony of that along with Vick being signed by the Eagles until you put it together.
Just when I thought I could not be more disgusted with Vick, the HSUS and the Eagles -
Thank you for a great (yet terribly depressing) post.
Karen Delise

Anonymous said...

I don't hate Michael Vick. Not particularly. He's just another ignorant, evil bastard who grew up not knowing better and ended up in a professional career that does not exactly encourage humanism or rational thought/behavior.

Vick only matters to me because his case has lent great publicity to a very needy cause. Michael Vick, I publicly volunteer to ghost-write your life story with every last detail of the dogfighting operation, your time in prison and your "repentance."

I would only ask that all profits be donated to organizations like Badrap.

Anonymous said...

Donna & Tim,

I know it's already been mentioned but, I think "A Gathering" of BadRap and Pit followers should be organized for the Phillie/Oakland game. If not in actually inside then at least a huge tailgate. With all the media contacts out there our perspective could most certainly be put on display. I'll get as many people from Lodi as I can!

Bob

leigha said...

well i just read online that vick says he cried in prison at night because of the guilt he felt over his involvement in dogfighting. what a load of crap, i just want to know, did he feel that guilt after the first dog he tortured and killed or the 4th or the 10th?

Tim said...

Hey Bob - not to worry, we have something in mind for the Phillie/Oakland game that doesn't involve too much organizing, but it will certainly get the point across.

This is likely the most responded to post we've ever had. Vick getting back in the game was sure to be a hot topic, bringing back up emotions that were just tabled for awhile. And tonight was his big interview - I can't comment on it because I just couldn't bring myself to watch it after seeing only 30 seconds of the teaser earlier in the day. In that short time though I did notice that he used words like "what happened", "when it happened", "I allowed it to happen." Again divorcing himself from the awful deeds that he delivered - they just "happened" and he somehow had something to do with it all. Consistent with his apologies on camera some two years ago when he forgot to mention the dogs - never used the word "dog."

We could drive ourselves crazy over this guy, but it's not worth it. He is who he is and I believe we all know who he is deep down - simply a person capable of such deeds as he perpetrated - while laughing.

I am personally more disgusted with the NFL right now as they are responsible for him getting back into the game. But we shouldn't expect too much from the NFL and I must remember that the NFL is really nothing more than a corporation and corporations are out to do one thing, and that is to make money - as much as possible. So all the rhetoric about America and second chances is pretty much a bunch of crap. Vick had his second chance the day he walked out of prison, whether or not he ever played the game again.

But I'm all for embarrassing the NFL with protests at every Eagles game from peeps who feel so strongly. Just as Vick has earned his right to play football again, we also have rights of free speech in this country - rights as American as football.

Anonymous said...

Susanna (SMASON39) - you mention that you're a Ravens fan - I was sick too, thinking about MV being a part of our team! If you happen to still be in the Baltimore area, check out our group: bmoredog.org. We're all HUGE fans of bad rap and we started a group in Baltimore after some proposed BSL legislation a few years ago. We don't do rescue, but rather education/advocacy - and we're desperate for volunteers to help with our programs (Bmore Humane and Bmore reponsible).
Not to take away from this particular post - but saw a potential local connection and wanted to reach out.
On the MV situation - its good to know that there are so many people who understand that this isn't an issue of valuing a dog's life more than a humans or an issue of race. What he did shows a complete lack of respect for life, human or animal doesn't matter, and I'm so tired of hearing people use his culture or up bringing as an excuse. Vick was old enough to know that his actions were at the very least illegal, regardless of whether or not he can fathom the true evil that one must possess to do such things. I have to think that there is just something "missing" in the emotional make up of a person who is capable of such horrific acts of cruelty. Baltimore has seen numberous cases, this summer, of animals being set on fire. It scares me to think that there are so many people out there who can do such things. Thanks to bad rap and all on this board for helping me to maintain some level of faith in humans - some days - its tough. :)
Jen

leigha said...

tim, i too noticed this is the most responded to blog i have ever seen on here. i think a lot of people dont understand our need to speak up for these dogs. but a lot of people do and our voices are loud and clear. you guys get it and i love you all at bad rap for that. i couldnt bring myself to watch that interview either, i knew when i first heard of it being aired that i wouldnt watch it. i knew it would only make me angry and sick and sad all at once. i hope the nfl feels the backlash from this and i hope they feel it in their wallets where it will really hurt. i will be in the parking lot at the game in october in DC/MD when the skins play the eagles. i will be there not as a skins fan(which i have been my whole life) but as a human who wants to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. just as i was there in downtown richmond va when vick appeared in court.

leigha said...

i just now watched the interview online. it made me sad, sick and angry just as i thought it would and i honestly dont care if he is really sorry or not. i still havent heard him say "i am sorry to those dogs who were hurt, tortured, abused, killed." not once. only he knows if he is sincere in feeling truly sorry for his actions, maybe he is, maybe not. but regardless of that, he shouldn't have gotten his job back. he said that he deserved to lose all his money because of what he had done. but i wonder.. if he feels he rightfully lost that money, why is he so quick to seek out that job with the nfl where he could regain it all in five years or less? wouldnt his "remorse" show to be a little more true if he had gotten out of prison, announced he wont be immediately seeking a job with the nfl, he will be doing community work on a full time basis and that is his main focus. that would be way more convincing. instead he sought to get his million dollar job back right away, with all the other things being done "on the side". his priorities are still screwed up, big time. "true remorse begins with apologizing to those you hurt the most in your actions" you arent there yet vick.

Donna said...

leigha - I have to admit that this news has been hitting me much harder than I thought it would. Lost sleep last night, woke up with a headache, sick to my stomach. It's hard to know if the news is harder to take because I'm getting sick or if I'm getting sick because of the news. Bleh. Much of BR is in shock, dismayed, angry, disgusted. Utterly disgusted.

"I'm sorry for what happened to the dogs."

Quite the loaded quote there.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you Donna, I keep thinking I'm coming down with something when its really the sickness from the whole Vick marketing campaign. Today, I received a request from HSUS "Vick, Lets Not Fight" in their consistent attempt to make this whole deal with the devil palatable...AND a request for a donation to help their campaign. Are they f*****g kidding??? I'm hoping for the time when this rage and disgust inside me can be transformed into some really hot program for our dogs or some outrageous event, etc. Just waiting for that time ... until then,

also sick in N. Cal

Anonymous said...

Hi Donna,

Has Bad Rap ever thought about teaming up with Street Soldiers/Omega Boys Club? They had both SF and Oakland programs. Its been awhile since I was involved , but noticed that they are still very active with very successful programs. Its about taking street kids, treating the sickness of violence, helping them with education, etc. and giving back to the community. I could see an "anti-dog fighting" component easily.

http://www.street-soldiers.org/programs.htm

Lynn in N. Cal

Donna said...

Hi Lynn - Thanks for the great link.

Our bigger challenge in the bay area isn't dog fighting (we see very little evidence of that activity) but we do struggle with dogs that suffer from improper care. The shots fairs have been really successful in bringing education & resources to the more challenged communities. Since we started 5 or so years ago, we've seen a noticeable improvement in the condition of pets that come to the fairs and into the shelters. I'd like to think this helps prove that you don't have to use desperate measures like MV to inspire positive change in your community.. Just plain old fashioned owner support and outreach.

We still struggle with overpopulation of course -- as does everyone. I have to wonder if Vick is going to promote s/n. THAT would be interesting.

Anonymous said...

Great feedback and all the more reason for us all to replicate the shot faires. Thanks Donna,

Lynn in N. Cal

Anonymous said...

Crap, where do I even start. All of my compadre loving pit bull lovers/owners above have stated my thoughts exactly. I look forward to seeing the 'protests w/bully dogs' at the game with Raiders/Eagles on the news. I personally think Vick should work at a BBQ joint or hamburger shack for about $7.25/hour - which is the minimum wage here in the great state of Texas. Darn, he'd have to lose his $$$$$$$$ home in Virginia. How do people pay bills on a house like that when they are in bancruptcy? Who's paying the light bill? Boris agrees with me. I wouldn't let Michael Vick near my dog

Boris' Mom

Anonymous said...

I too decided not to watch the '60 Minutes' interview. Why listen to lies? We all know he will not be truthful nor feel remorse. He will say what his handlers tell him to say. He is a punk. You can dress him up in a suit, put him on TV, put pretty words in his mouth...but he is still a punk.

I spent some time with one of the dogs that survived Vick's Virginia stalag this past weekend. I looked in Red's eyes, and held him close. He is always happy to give kisses and loves getting his back scratched. He survived and now lives a happy, normal life with a warm, loving family. Vick can't hurt him any more.

Accept those things you cannot change; Change those things you cannot accept.


s&b/mtry

leigha said...

donna, i know how you feel. my stomach has been in knots and i think it really is just due to the disgust i feel over this. i am a football fan or i at least was. now i am torn. i know i would never support my team (the redskins) any longer had they taken vick. but i am so angry at the nfl as a whole. not to sound melodramatic but i feel like my ability to enjoy an nfl game has been stripped from me. i look forward to football every year but this year i dont. i am still holding out hope that the backlash will be so greatly felt in the nfl offices that they will regret their decision and vick will be banned for life from the games. i never want to see him on my tv or on that tv at the sports bar where i enjoy a beverage with friends. this just sucks and it makes me so damn sad, angry, confused and sick. and i try not to dwell on it but how can i avoid it when he will be on that tv at the bar?

Newman's Mom said...

I did watch Vick's interview, I forced myself. It has changed nothing for me. The man is a liar, only feeling sad when he talked about loosing everything, being in jail. The smirk that kept trying to come to his face made me want to slap him. It would have felt better if just once he begged forgiveness for killing, abusing sweet dogs, or said he was going to start volunteering at an animal shelter, anything, any sign of remorse, shame, but nothing. All I saw was a man who seems to have once again escaped justice. He can't even bring himself to say the word dogs. I think the whole NFL, not just the Eagles should be ashamed. I couldn't even watch my beloved 49rs, football seeming so insignificant in the face of this murder. I am trying to find something good from this - still looking. It did make me grab my pit Newman & lavish him with tons of kisses, thinking all the while it could have been him. I know we are supposed to forgive but I think it should be earned not given blindly.

leigha said...

newmans mom,
i do the same thing with my boy darwin and my girl jasmine when i start feeling so sad over this, i hug them, kiss their sweet pittie faces and just think it could have been them if their circumstances had been different. it makes me feel better to hug my dogs no matter how crappy or sad i feel. but it also reminds me of how horrible a man must be to do such things as vick has done. to look at such innocence and trusting faces and destroy that love. destroy that life. vick has a very long way to go, and that path would be a lot smoother if the nfl was not a part of it.

Anonymous said...

I will truly never watch another Eagle's game! By signing Vick to the Eagle's, or just back into the NFL, we have sent the message to all our youth that you can commit a crime, do your time, and nothing will be lost. Vick is only sorry that he got caught. Where did our morales and ethics go? Sorry, I'm human and Vick does not deserve to start back at the head of the pack!

becky said...

Ironically I am in Philadelphia this week for work. I booked my flight before I knew they would sign him or you can bet US Airways would NEVER have received my business, I don't care how many connections it would have taken me.

Anyway, it's been on the news day and night and I have to say only half of it is positive support for Vick. Seems like there is a good number of Philly people who have compassion and a brain to know that he got his second chance getting out of prison. No one gets the breaks he's getting and it's unthinkable that someone who demonstrated his level of serial killer traits is out and being supported by supposed humane orgs.

I'm looking for a protest to join after training before I have to fly home...and I dropped off a letter to city hall for the mayor to enjoy about how much money I'm not spending here. Their budget is in as bad a shape as Sacramento's, so I hope he knows how much Sushi I would have consumed otherwise...

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that the logical first action of a "redeemed Michael Vick" would be to speak out strongly to those thugs who are torturing and killing pitties in Philadelphia! Haven't heard a word about it . . . I, too, feel bad for those who are on the front lines and have to deal with this carnage!

Anonymous said...

I said months ago that if Vick ever walked onto the field again I'd never watch another NFL game. Period! And I'm not. The NFL disgusts me.

People who are capable of torturing animals for the sake of sport are the same people who commit acts of violence against other people- mainly women and children. As "dog people", we need to keep this in mind. Especially when morons argue that this is "just about dogs."