If you’re familiar with my past columns, or if you know me as a person … then you have a pretty good idea that I am an advocate for animals.
I’m not PETA-crazy, and you probably won’t find me in a protest line any time soon, but my wife and I both want to do whatever we can to make sure animals are treated right. And as proud owners of a 6-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, we’re both softies when it comes to dogs.
So yes, when it comes to offering an opinion on Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and his alleged involvement in a dogfighting operation in Virginia … I’m doing so with a slight bias. That bias is this — I think people who torture dogs or hurt them for their own amusement should be locked up as if they were doing it to humans.
But I’m also speaking as a huge football fan, somebody who ever since he was a child has put athletes on a pedestal and has thought they could do no wrong. I want to believe Michael Vick has just been hanging out with the wrong people. I want to believe he has no involvement in dogfighting.
Then again, I want to believe this kind of behavior doesn’t happen. But it does.
When I was editor of The Opelousas Daily World in Louisiana, we covered a story on local police breaking up a dogfighting operation. We took photos of pitbulls with scarred up faces, bloody legs and bite wounds in their sides. The dogs each had a pitiful look on their face. They had to be caged and chained, too, because they were dangerous around humans. For years, they’d been trained to attack. Also, they didn’t trust humans … and I don’t blame them. Most of the dogs found in the raid had to be put down.
That was two years ago. I do not believe any of the men arrested went to court.
There were also stories in Opelousas of smaller dogs (terriers, chihuahuas, etc) being abducted and used as “bait” dogs for dog fights. I won’t go into details … but if you want to learn the real truth behind dog fights, click here or here.
I’ve seen first hand what dogfighting does. Coming from Louisiana, we also covered cockfighting, which thankfully, will become illegal soon in the state.
There are those who think even if Vick is involved, he shouldn’t be shunned by the league. To that, I say it’s a felony … just as if he robbed a bank. I also am of the mind that somebody involved in dogfighting isn’t of the right mind. There’s something sick about you if you get satisfaction from watching animals die … much less betting on it. Same goes for bullfighting or cockfighting.
I’m also against hunting, though I’m not naive enough to think it doesn’t serve a purpose. While we’re no longer a society that needs hunting to survive, hunting can be useful in controlling populations … plus, there is much less suffering in hunting.
I’m writing this two days after Vick was told by the commissioner of the NFL to stay out of training camp for now. I completely agree with the decision.
But if Vick is guilty, I don’t think he needs to be kicked out of the league. Just like anybody else, he deserves a second chance. If anything, I hope his alleged involvement sheds a light on this cruel “sport” and gets more people aware that this is happening. And I hope those who are protesting his mere existence agree with me on this.
So kudos to the NFL for realizing this is a big deal and taking the necessary steps against one of its bigger names. Dogfighting is just barbaric, and those who participate in it should face the consequences.
Come back tomorrow, I will have a detailed account of my tour of the Shearon Harris Power Plant from this morning. Find out what the giant tower’s for, find out why they need armed guards and learn whether or not I picked up traces of radiation ….