VICK AGAIN?! But Wait, There’s More…

Posted by Stephen Wells, ALDF's Executive Director on September 17, 2007

There has been no shortage of news and commentary about the Michael Vick case (including on ALDF’s website)! Nevertheless, here we go again. I’ll spare the rehash of the disgusting and depraved facts of the case. We’ve all heard them. And, while what Vick and his knuckle-dragging cohorts did was not only illegal but unimaginably heartless and cruel, I think the importance of this case must be measured in how we, the people, respond to it. Rarely is there such an opportunity to take the measure of the public’s outrage over cruelty to animals and its willingness to do something about it. So, to keep this brief, I’ll summarize some of what I learned:

1.) The public really, really cares about animals! This is the most heartening revelation to come from this case. I think everyone who cares about animals, from their family pet, to shelter dogs and cats, to farmed animals, felt the same surge of pride I did when this nation rose up en masse to express its outrage over Vick’s abuse of animals.

2.) There are way too many people who were not outraged at all, including some who should know better. Yeah, I’m talking about you, R.L. White, President of the Atlanta Chapter of the NAACP and you, Whoopi Goldberg, and you, too, Clinton Portis and Chris Samuels (aka Dumb and Dumber).

3.) The laws to punish the abuser and to protect the animals involved are not strong enough. The fact that Vick was able to dump his house in a big hurry while under investigation while the fate of the dogs hung in the balance due to uncertainty in forfeiture laws, points to some holes in the laws against dog fighting that must be fixed. And despite the public outrage over the cruelty involved in this case, Vick’s primary legal worries were due to the gambling involved.

4.) The public outrage over the Vick case raised some good questions about the state of our animal laws and commitment to anti-cruelty in general. One sports writer on ESPN, while seeming to defend Vick in some ways, did so by raising some difficult questions about the seeming schizophrenia of our animal protection laws. Are we, as a nation, opposed to animal cruelty or aren’t we?

Ever ready to make the most out of an opportunity to advance the laws protecting animals, ALDF is working on some exciting ways to add more teeth to the laws against animal fighting. Use the comment form below to tell us how you feel about this case or to share your ideas for stopping animal fighting.

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