As the nation’s attention is drawn to the dogfighting allegations against Michael Vick, pit bulls—the most common victims of this violent “sport”—have also been thrust into the spotlight. We heard from several readers who were apprehensive about the limelight. Among them:
As an owner of two rescued pit bulls, I have mixed feelings about how the media is still portraying our beloved dogs. I feel that people are going to look at the videos being shown of the dogs fighting and still see the pit bull as being dangerous. I wish that someone could add the history of this breed to help educate the majority of people who still have such a skewed view. I am glad that there has been an increase in awareness regarding dogfighting. It just saddens me that it had to take something as horrible as this incident to bring this brutal underground sport to light. Thank you HSUS for all you have done to raise awareness about this breed. It saddens me that we live in a time where pit bulls were once an American icon and now they have fallen into the category of a malicious breed. I can only hope that the media can return the respect that this breed of dog should have and continue to punish the deed and not the breed! —Cheryl Richard
A pit bull mix followed my daughter home from middle school several years ago, mangy and skinny. We still have him, and he is so beautiful and healthy. People comment to me, "You have a pit," like I have something bad. All dog owners have to be responsible dog owners, even if it’s a lab puppy around strangers, and I am. He loves to ride in the car, and he’s very sociable with my other dogs, and has never hurt them. You get what you put into most dogs. Thank you for all the work you do for all animals. Blatant cruelty and evil toward animals in the name of sport and money needs to be stopped. Thank you again so much for being out there on the front lines against this. —Brenda
At The HSUS, we encourage the public to look past breed stereotypes and consider animals as individuals. You can read more about the pit bull’s history as a beloved pet and public servant, and enjoy a story about a special pit bull Daisy, submitted by blog reader Angie Laurusaitis, here.
Among the other responses we received to developments in the case against Vick:
There is enough evidence to support Vick being banned from participating in professional sports until he is tried on the charges and all the facts are known. His future in sports can be determined at that time. My hope is that other pro athletes watch and learn from his mistakes. The criminal punishment may pale in comparison to the ridicule of public opinion. If all the charges are proven, Vick has lost his fans for life. —Lanny Forrester
I have been a season ticket holder for the Miami Dolphins since 1990 on their expensive club level. I have informed both the NFL and the Miami Dolphins that unless Michael Vick is suspended I will not be renewing my seats when my lease is completed. —Kathy
For those who say Vick isn’t getting his "due process," I say nonsense. He isn’t in prison. People have the right to voice their opinions over very objectionable behavior, and companies have a right to let people go should these people tarnish their image. Personally, I will not watch another NFL game nor buy any product from Nike until Vick is banned from the NFL and his contract with Nike is terminated. Any organization which allows someone like him to prosper is no organization I want to be involved with. —Brian Kerecz
Thank you HSUS for your ongoing efforts to raise awareness, impose harsher penalties and sanction those who would very much like to continue profiting from Michael Vick. Thus far, Nike and Commissioner Goodell have offered only the weakest and most temporary sanctions, and only after continuous pressure from The HSUS and others. If not for your efforts, I believe they would simply conduct business as usual and hope that it will all just blow over soon. For every Michael Vick in the world there are people like you who are determined to shine the light on him. Thank you. —Lynn S.