What is HELP FIDO?

Humane Education Leads to Progress
For Informed Dog Owners

Vision Statement: We envision a society free from discrimination, where responsibility, education, love and compassion allow humans to fully respect and understand man's best friend.

Friday, October 24, 2008

People get ready...

News is coming out of Virginia that convicted dog-fighter and former NFL pro Michael Vick is planning to plead guilty to state dog-fighting charges. This could enable him to be eligible for early release. THAT would enable him to possibly be picked up by an NFL team and hit the summer training field in 2009.
The thought of this really burns me up inside. First, I am bothered by the fact that he could be released in 2009. I do realize he is serving his time and has paid his fines (including money to support those dogs who were rescued from his dog-fighting house of horrors). But in my heart I feel he can never serve enough time.
Secondly, I am bothered by the possibility of him being able to return to the playing field. I realize this could be a remote possibility...but it is a possibility none-the-less. The NFL commissioner would need to grant him status to play. Then a team (and it would have to be an extremely brave owner and coach) would have to sign him.
Could this happen? Could someone who slammed dogs to a concrete floor until they died, or ordered their electrocution for not fighting well be allowed to have this status in society? Could someone who financed and gambled on heinous, illegal activities be allowed to appear on television in that often heroic status of a professional football player? Could a man who abused, neglected, and murdered animals be given an opportunity to become role-model for children?
There are rumors in the anti dog-fighting world that, contrary to what was hoped, there has been some increase in teens getting into dog fighting. This could be because Vick's conviction, imprisonment, and loss of sponsors is seen as one more way "to keep the black man down," that he might not have, in fact, "deserved" what happened to him. That it happened to him not of his own doing. And that, as had been said by others, if they were his dogs he could do with them what he wished.
Chicago's Tio Hardiman has had success in making inroads to change the culture amongst these kids. And therein lies the brilliance. Simply making an activity illegal doesn't make it stop happening (see everything regarding breed specific legislation!!). One must approach the activity from a 360 degree view and see why it is happening, what makes it attractive and to whom, and what would make it unattractive.
Tio has worked hard to change the culture that these at-risk kids operate in. He makes them see dogs as pets again - not as a commodity or status symbol. Or more specifically - he changes the the interpretation of the status symbol. It becomes "cool" to have a dog who is well-behaved, sociable, and participating in agility or obedience activities.
And a kid can be a kid with a dog again and not a kid with a weapon.
My last comment - if Michael Vick is released there will be a huge movement to contact the NFL and others and ensure that he does not rise yet again to a level of hero.
He has never apologized to the dogs.
He does deserve forgiveness or a second chance.
People get ready. . .

1 comment:

Chad said...

It's pretty sad, but the fact of the matter is that Vick and others like him don't see animals as living feeling creatures. I do not know how any NFL owner, no matter how desprate would be willing to pick Vick up with all the baggage he would bring. Yet I have little doubt that he will be pick up by someone.

These are the dogs of HELP FIDO...our dogs...this is why we are here...