"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
- Mahatma Gandhi
Here at Pitbulls.org, we have spoken about Michael Vick and the dogs he held captive. How could we not? In light of the recent developments in New York regarding fighting rings, Vick has once again crept into my thoughts.
President/CEO of The Humane Society of the Unites States (HSUS), Wayne Pacelle just visited the Ellen Degeneres Show and talked about his book The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them. It has a whole section devoted to the beginnings of his relationship with Vick. It left me unsure of my opinion of Vick to say the least, but I do feel there have been some new developments that are worth sharing.
In 2007, just a few short years after Michael Vick’s NFL career began; it ended abruptly, or at least temporarily. In December, 2007 Vick was convicted for “promoting, funding and facilitating cruel and inhumane sporting activity”and sentenced to serve 23 months in Leavenworth, a federal prison. He explained his behavior as misguided love for animals, but how does affection turn into injury, torture and death? What he did was deplorable, and some of us will never forget it, but his sentencing told the country that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated by anyone.
Out of the ashes rises a beautiful phoenix in the form of new developments, laws and programs against dog fighting that may have not happened if it was not for Vick. Some of the many positive changes include:
- Upgrades to over 40 state and federal laws
- Expansion of community-based programs that attack dog fighting
- Extinction of businesses surrounding the dog-fighting culture
- New training for law enforcement officers
- A national tip line the HSUS created last year that received over 700 calls
- Bad Newz Kennels recently turned into Good Newz Rehab Center by welfare group Dogs Deserve Better
What Michael Vick did is unforgiveable, but he somehow has given us courage, awareness and strength to fight with everything we have to put an end to animal abuse. In his book, Wayne Pacelle is right when he says that when we help protect the powerless and vulnerable we become part of a cause that both affirms their goodness and shows our own.
Change begins with us!
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