Aug 29, 2007

Give a Dog a Bone's Position on Michael Vick

We at Give a Dog a Bone are outraged and sickened by the dog fighting and animal cruelty allegations brought against Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and his subsequent guilty plea.

Sadly, it's naïve to think that such violence occurs only in certain regions of the country or in rural areas. Here in San Francisco, the most humane city in the country according to the Humane Society of the United States, we see the effects of dog fighting and attend to its victims
on a regular basis.

Give a Dog a Bone, a pioneering environmental enrichment program, cares for long term shelter dogs at San Francisco Animal Care and Control. Dogs, especially pit bulls, who have been used in fighting are among those we care for. We also care for dogs who have been subjected to felony cruelty, similar to those in the Vick case.

Our program ensures these dogs have kind human contact, yummy treats, rawhides or bones to chew on, soft blankets to sleep on, and clean quarters. We give these dogs affection, and strive to relieve their suffering and stress by giving them outlets for natural dog behavior. Additionally, we engage in training which the dogs look forward to. In short, within the confines and constraints of a shelter, we try to provide these dogs with the love and affection each companion animal deserves.

There is no doubt that even dogs "bred to fight" suffer terribly -- they would not and do not choose this life for themselves. Dogs are by nature social predators—that is, they survive by collaboration with each other, not by fighting each other to the death. Breeding dogs to fight is a perversion of this essential nature.

Dog fighting is unspeakably cruel, and we at Give a Dog a Bone work for the day when animal cruelty no longer exists.

Aug 22, 2007


The Michael Vick story has made a mess of me. At home, I’m banned from and I’m not supposed to watch the news. But it’s pretty much illegal to drive around San Francisco without NPR on and I can’t bring myself to turn the dial. So I manage to hear the latest.

My question to the NFL: What are you waiting for? If I found out that someone who worked for me – even if he was my star employee – enjoyed abusing and killing animals, I wouldn’t hire him to clean my toilet. Dump Vick. Don’t let him near a dog, a fish, or a fly. Don’t let him water a houseplant.

And how is it that he’s being commended for “doing the right thing” by pleading guilty? He only did so when it was clear the evidence against him was strong enough to yield a conviction. What a coward. It's not ok to torture people, and it's not ok to torture animals. The "just a dog" argument sickens me. Suffering is suffering -- no species should have to endure it for the sake of another's entertainment.

As for apologizing to everyone, those he hurt the most will never get an apology (as if that could undo the torture that was inflicted anyway). Vick isn’t sorry for anything other than getting caught. This was not a one-time mistake. This was not an error in judgment. Hanging a dog takes forethought. Electrocuting a dog takes planning. Starving a dog takes persistence and determination. These were choices Vick made again and again, not a one-time act done out of carelessness.

And as for Vick’s potential, yeah, it truly is a waste. He’s a failure as a human being.