Monday, August 17, 2009

HSUS, Michael Vick on 60 Minutes

Last night 60 Minutes did an interview with Michael Vick regarding his conviction and participation in a dogfighting ring. The interview focuses on, once again, his remorse and his "changed ways" of helping "at risk" kids learning right from wrong. It's hard to believe that he is sincere in his efforts with the way it's being handled, both by his team and the HSUS.

You can view the interview on video by clicking the title, or you can "read" the written version by clicking here. We are going to address the story version...and it is a story.

CBS decided to have two sports colleagues give their "opinions" on Vick's interview. National columnists, Gregg Doyell nad Mike Freeman. Doyell admits he wanted nothing to do with the story or the interview in the first place, didn't even want to watch it...but did change his opinion of Vick after he saw Vick's apology and remorse. Doyell said, "he bought it. Doyell's Colleague, Mike Freeman, however, did not!

They are both right! Michael Vick has been down this road before (Michael Freeman's comment). He lied about his involvement as sincerely as he is lying about his remorse. I believe he is sorry (Gregg Doyell's comment)...for getting caught killing and torturing dogs because it ruined his career for a while. It was a thorn in his side to get caught. Who knows if he would have had an epiphany and realize, "wow, this is just wrong" on his own. The fact that he admitted knowing it was wrong since he was 8 years old and continued to participate makes me doubt that he would ever have stopped.

This isn't about being animal activists who spend time educating the public for humane treatment of companion animals...This is about being "human!". What well-balanced human being kills something mercisely without remorse? Without stopping it? Without nightmares? What mentally stable person admits they "knew it was wrong" but didn't stop it from happening or at the very least walk away from it? The amount of profit he made...tells the world something different.

Let's say he is sorry. Then be sorry privately! It's bad enough that lives were destroyed inhumanely and viciously for one man's pleasure, but to have the HSUS right along side of him, consistenly promoting him as a "hero" is truly disheartening. It's not hard to realize why the HSUS doesn't have many supporters from the animal welfare industry. You do have to give Wayne Pacelle credit for seeing all of this as an opportunity to promote the HSUS as something good.

The headline news made people outraged...but in time, it will be pushed behind other news and unfortunately forgotten. Michael Vick will return to football making millions. A few young kids will be exposed to dog fighting through this, but they won't be affected or educated because they will be sitting starry eyed hoping for an autograph from an NFL quarterback NOT a rehabilitated killer!

If Michael Vick was really a changed man and if the HSUS' intent was sincere in their use of Vick for education and awareness, then Vick would become the "spokesperson" behind the scenes and donate his millions (or portion thereof) to animal welfare organizations who "fight" this problem, not to a foundation that shares little, if any of their wealth within the industry. He would stand along side of those who work tirelessly in rescues and shelters rehabilitating the same types of dogs he killed. And he would hold these precious lives in his arms when no more can be done to rehabilitate them, and they become victims of his actions and have to die. He would talk to children without the cameras around him, and he would stand along side those who are trying to change legislation. If Michael Vick was really sorry, he wouldn't see this as a career building opportunity and pay his debt to society by making a change!

If the Humane Society of the United States was truly for the welfare of animals, they would do the same.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The HSUS' Support for Michael Vick

In April 2007, Michael Vick, a professional Quarterback was implicated in an extensive and unlawful interstate dogfighting ring that operated over a period of five years. In August 2007, he plead guilty to felony charges, and was indefinitely suspended from the NFL. He was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison, and began his incarceration in November 2007. With his loss of his NFL salary and product endorsement deals, combined with previous financial mismanagement, Vick filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2008.

Vick was released from prison to home confinement on May 20, 2009. Falcons owner Arthur Blank stated that he did not want Vick on the Falcons, and after attempts to trade him failed, Vick was released. On July 27, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell conditionally reinstated Vick, and will consider him for full reinstatement by Week 6 of the 2009 season which is around October of 2009.

Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, has stepped forward publicly to support Michael Vick (See video) stating that he is remorseful and has "learned his lesson". But what does that mean?

In this video, Mr. Pacelle states that Michael Vick had been dogfighting since he was 8 years old. That he KNEW it was wrong, but didn't know how to stop it. But now, he knows it's wrong and has remorse. Yet, to date, Michael Vick has not made one public statement of his remorse. He has offered no money to any animal welfare organization, especially those breeds that were tortured, shot, hanged and drowned in his ring. The concern shouldn't be that Michael Vick will resume dogfighting or go into some barbaric form of animal torture again, but the mere fact that a high-profiled athlete is walking the streets who apparently doesn't know the difference between right and wrong, especially when something or someone is being mutulated.

Our society's leaders are allowing cruelty of this sorts to happen...because they are not changing laws to make it STOP! If in fact, what Michael Vick did was such a travesty to this great nation, I can assure you, we'd hear about through our legislation. But it's not.

When will our society and government begin to seriously act upon these types of crimes? When is killing, shooting, hanging, drowning, encouraging and training two dogs to fight viscously and gruesomely to their deaths be recognized as a barbarian act instead of a sport? And Is 23 months sufficient punishment for taking a life in this manner...for killing innocent living creatures? Jeffrey Dahmer got prison for life. Shouldn't Michael Vick?

Mr. Pacelle has yet to provide anything but lip service of Mr. Vick's remorse and there has not been any public act of reformity from Vick himself that I am aware of. And what is truly sad, is that those of us in animal welfare that clean up these messes; scrambling to make room in our shelters and foster homes, bringing in unknown entities endangering our families, our own pets, in hopes that we can rehabilitate a sacrifice being from human hatred, or worse, hold these precious lives while they struggle to die, because they only know the instinct to fight, even at death, are perceived as "activists" or "emotionally unstable" or "passionate".

Well so be it. Yes, I'm "actively" against Michael Vick being allowed to make MILLIONS of dollars carrying a pig skin down a field (and I love football by the way) while innocent dogs, who placed trust and loyalty into them, fight for their lives. Yes, I'm emotionally unstable with the idea that he could do it again...and yes, I'm passionate about continuing my fight to change the laws until finally dogfighting is considered enough of a crime, that it's punishment creates a lifetime of reform...not national television exposure!

Your thoughts?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nathan Winograd: The Truth Behind the Madness!

Here's an article by Nathan Winograd, author of Redemption, The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America, regarding Wayne Pacelle's support of Michael Vick, saying he is a reformed man. But is he?

Read the article HSUS Spokesman Michael Vick: ‘Not My Fault’ and give us your thoughts.

If you haven't read Redemption, I recommend it highly. It's an excellent perspective on how animal shelters began with compassion and how they've changed today! It's one of many articles/books that I personally read to get a better understanding of the animal welfare industry as a whole.

Another great article is: Unintended Consequences by Craig Brestrup. Excellent article on people with "good intentions".

A couple more of my favorite resources by Mr. Brestrup are:
The Killing Cure
Why No Kill

The industry is not as black and white as so many make it. There is a huge gray area in between...but whichever viewpoint you decide upon after absorbing all the new information, won't change the amount of suffering the animals are doing in our society. Perhaps these articles will some of you explain you or your organizations viewpoints and philosophy within your communities.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Walking in Cyberspace

Hey gang!

We are smack dab in the middle of preparing for our annual dog walk. As common as they are we had to find something "different" to do to generate interest and excitement. Well, here it is!

First, Our theme is Paws 4 a Cause. We invite everyone to take a moment in your life, grab the leash of your dog and join us on September 19 for our annual walk. (Details of the event itself can be found here.) You can select from ONE of four causes to help with: FIGHT Puppy Mills, PREVENT Neglect, Abuse & Cruelty, STOP Overpopulation...or just help RVAS provide medical services for those animals that fall victim of the above circumstances.

Our event's focus is all about Mastering the Walk. We will be doing live demo's on walking your dog properly, we will have the Ilusion Collar available for purchase (with assistance on how to use it) and best of all, you can "hire" a Walk Master! This person will walk along your side at the walk to help you master the walk and give you pointers and tips along the way!

And all of this saves lives!

NOW...if you can't attend the event, but still want to participate, consider being a virtual walker! You can enjoy this walk, win some of the same prizes all from cyberspace! Click here for more information on how to be a virtual walker.

Our goal this year is to have 100 participants (walkers or virtual walkers) each raise $100 or more! We have until September 12 to do step up and join us! You will feel wonderful for helping save a life...and it only takes a few moments to spread the word!

Hope to see you at the event, or online...helping lives!