They are creatures seemingly too afraid to make any noise. To draw attention to themselves might attract more unwanted pain and scorn and unrelenting torture. Their world knows no comfort, no sympathy, no escape from torment. Their captivity to us would seem surreal, for their captors are indescribably inhumane to them, finding pleasure in what most of us abhor: the pursuit of power over a helpless, fearful animal.
Michael Vick knows all about it. Vick was to blame for the deaths of numerous animals, some of which he had owned and trained himself to fight other dogs. Once displeased with the ability of his animals to fight for him, he found no cause to retire them to any comfortable end. That is how even the valuable dogs, who do the bidding of their masters to the heart-wrenching end of their fighting abilities, can expect to be treated: as no more than useless garbage.
Vick was quoted recently as saying “This is hard to imagine myself doing this years ago, man.” He was at the site in Virginia where he raised and trained fighting dogs for sport and money, filming for a TV show that will chronicle his life. The mini-series is said to include information about the dog fighting enterprise once owned by the football player, and his subsequent conviction and 18 months served in prison. It is being planned for a debut on BET next year.
Some wonder at Vick’s apparent remorse, and argue that he doesn’t deserve a second chance.
The nature of his celebrity allows him to rise above what would be well-deserved scorn for his crimes, say others.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) arranged for its president to meet Vick in prison to discuss starting a program aimed at children and teens to end dog fighting in urban areas. In fact, once Vick was signed in August 2009 to the Philadelphia Eagles, HSUS president Wayne Pacell met with team executives to discuss the team’s involvement in anti-cruelty and anti-dog fighting programs to be aimed at Eagles fans in the area. Turning the tide of anger regarding Vick’s reinstatement in the NFL to awareness and action has got to have some redeeming quality.
We can only hope.
What seems most cruel is that a dog, in general, is usually eager to please its master. This trait is abused in order to coerce an animal into fighting another animal, usually a weaker one, sometimes to the point of killing an opponent, sometimes to the death of the victor as well.
What a mixed blessing that would be. For the spoils to claim then would be the mercy of no longer being an agent of death itself.