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Pro Athletes and Dog Fighting

June 12th, 2007 by Halli

It’s difficult to imagine the self-justification of one who raises and trains dogs to fight each other. But it appears high-profile NFL player Michael Vick has been caught in the act. While an investigation is ongoing, it is reported that a complete dog fighting operation was present at a home owned by the Atlanta Falcons quarterback, according to a Sports Illustrated article.

Associates claim Vick has long been involved in the dog fighting culture, frequently betting on his own dog. He asserts that he has been set up in a smear campaign, that relatives living in the home were actually responsible for the blood-covered “pit” where dogs fight, the 30 or so pit bulls found around the property, and the other accoutrements of the “sport”. But exoneration may not come so easily for Vick, as law enforcement is now involved.

According the president of the Humane Society of the US, Wayne Pacell, there is a definite “sub-culture” of dogfighting in the NBA as well as the NFL. He implied that having someone of Vick’s stature fingered for dogfighting would bring welcome attention to the problem.

Imagine the scene as dogs, some valued at as much as $40,000, square off with each other in the “pit”, then commence tearing each other to shreds while the supposed “intelligent” humans on the sidelines cheer them on, savoring each crunching bone and mutilation.

But famous multi-million dollar pro athletes don’t have a corner on animal fighting. Cock fighting is a “cultural” aspect of some Middle Eastern countries, as well as Central and South American nations, many of whom have brought it to the US as well. Illegal in 49 states, cock fighting nonetheless takes place in many hidden corners of the US.

Until each state legislature and every level of law enforcement recognizes animal fighting for what it is – a serious crime of animal cruelty (with implications for human relationships as well) worthy of heavy penalties – this inhuman practice will continue. Where pro athletes think wealth and privilege excuse their participation, where immigrants, both legal and illegal, refuse to leave a barbaric practice in their home country, wherever law enforcement or neighbors turn a blind eye, these despicable practices will continue.

It is imperative that every thinking person take a stand against animal fighting and all its trappings. Check your local and state laws to be sure there are hefty penalties for anyone found to be involved in the practice. Where lacking, join with your local humane society to plug the gap,and help spare countless animals a horrible existence and ultimate death.

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Posted in Family Matters, General, Idaho Falls Issues, Idaho Legislature, Pocatello Issues, Politics in General | 2 Comments »

2 Responses

  1. Adam Graham Says:

    Looks like we could stand to tighten up a bit. We have it as a misdemeanor but there’s no penalty for attending a dog fight or keeping dogs or training dogs for the fight.

  2. Animal Chaplain Nancy Says:

    It has been a couple of months since your June article, and so much has happened!

    If there is anything good about the Michael Vick story, it is that there is an emerging increased awareness about animal cruelty and animal fighting. There is so much anger about this issue. If we channel it into a positive direction, hopefully, something good can come of it. However…

    I watched Vick’s public apology with my little son who USED TO wear Michael Vick jerseys to school. It is disturbing to think a certain percentage of the population is honestly going to be swayed by Michael Vick’s “enlightenment” carefully crafted by his overpaid attorneys. Call me a cynic, but I don’t believe a man who has been allegedly torturing animals since childhood coincidentally has a religious epiphany as a result of getting caught and losing his job. I hope I am wrong.

    I think it is a sad commentary that we, as a culture, are using the Vick story to compare “What’s worse?” “What’s worse”, we ask, “carelessly fathering illegitimate children, or dogfighting?”. “Dogfighting or gambling?” “Dogfighting or rape?” “Dogfighting or racism?” “Dogfighting or hateful nationalism?” “Dogfighting or (fill in the blank)….?” The comparisons to dogfighting have been endless.

    Dogfighting is one more piece of evidence our country is in need of a spiritual transformation (please note I said spiritual and not necessarily religious). Animals are sentient beings – they feel pain, and they suffer, just like we do. They are not more important, or less important than human beings, but like human beings, they are important, too.

    Dogfighting pits one dog against another until one of them dies. The survivor gets his flesh torn off, ears ripped off, eyes pulled out, etc., and the reward for being “a winner” is to writhe in pain until the next fight. Enough said. The pictures make my flesh crawl. The losers are tortured, beaten, starved, electrocuted or drowned. For what? Because these poor creatures were unlucky enough to be born a dog!

    Every major faith teaches its followers to be responsible stewards of animals and the Earth. Please help us get the word out that caring for animals, just like caring for people, is an important part of just being a decent person and citizen. If we make this a priority, there will be no more dogfighting horror stories, and no more pointless comparisons of evils. Let us all rise, together, to be better people than we are today, shall we?

    Chaplain Nancy Cronk
    Founder, http://www.AnimalChaplains.com

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