Talk Back: A Plea for the Animals

By on August 29, 2007 with 0 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

Monday, after pleading guilty to a federal dogfighting conspiracy charge, Michael Vick issued a public apology (which you can see portions of here). His statements drew a mixed reaction from readers, with many finding them hard to swallow. Among the mass of comments we received:

I too appreciate the fact that Vick apologized and appears to show some sort of remorse. I’m struggling with the fact, however, that someone is capable of doing something like this and can snap out of it so quickly. I’m skeptical. I’m also concerned that, when apologizing to his young fans, that he called it "immature." Immature is ringing a doorbell and running… immature is switching the letters around on a store sign…. this is not immature in the slightest. When I was a kid, I never violently killed an animal. I just don’t feel the sincerity at this point. —4PugClub

I believe Vick was sincere in his apology to the kids and fans but I did not hear any apology to the many animals that were murdered and abused. I think his fines he pays should go to the many shelters that care for these poor animals and he should have to see the suffering and pain that they go through after the fact. —Renae Yost

I seriously doubt the truthfulness of Vick’s apology. He tortured and killed dogs in the name of blood sport. Now he deplores the sport? Come on, give us all a break. Bottom line is the money he is losing; nothing more, nothing less. —Dennis Doling

I have a hard time feeling sympathy for Michael Vick. His apology came only after repeated denials and certain conviction after his co-defendants decided to plea. I truly feel the only thing Michael is sorry for is getting caught. The ones who deserve our sympathy are the dogs currently awaiting their fate—at least it is not a fate as cruel as Michael would have subjected them to. —Angela

Michael Vick saying he "rejects" dogfighting is not believable. He funded it, was involved in it, and killed dogs. Suddenly, when he is caught, he says it is terrible? What if he weren’t caught? He would still be doing those heinous acts. —Wendy Hinzman

You feel real sympathy for Vick while watching him give his statement? Do you think he felt any sympathy for the dogs that died a horrible death on his property? You cannot honestly believe that this man truly means what he says. If he did, he wouldn’t have been doing this in the first place. He’s saying this in hopes of making himself look good… to hopefully receive a lighter sentence. He is saying this because he has backed himself into a wall. Yeah, his life has been turned upside down, but he did it to himself at the expense of innocent, helpless animals. Feel sorry for him? I think not! —Monica Ackerman

The only thing that I see from him is a man that’s sad because he got caught. I don’t consider that remorse. The only thing that hurts him is that he lost a great career, lots of money, and gained a bad reputation. I don’t think he’s the least bit sorry for all the torture he put those poor animals through. I hope he gets the harshest penalty possible, and that still won’t be enough, in my opinion. —Brenda Arrasmith

I agree with you Wayne, but if only the words "I am sorry for the pain I inflicted on the dogs, I am sorry for the dogs that have to be euthanized due to what I have done." If only he apologized to THE DOGS maybe I could feel it in my heart a little more to forgive him. —Cyndi Smith

Other readers looked to the future:

I believe many of us have to hit bottom before we learn difficult life lessons. As we well know pride can take us down roads we wish we’d not blazed, as in the end it usually dumps us off in the middle of circumstances we’d rather not experience. In my dream of dreams I see a new Michael Vick who fights against dogfighting alongside the rest of us! As they say, "What has been devastated can be recreated." Keeping the faith! —PJ

It is not up to me to judge if Michael Vick is sincere. Now he needs to walk the talk and start working to help eradicate animal abuse. Then I will know he is sincere. —Judy Grimm

I agree. I want to hope that Vick’s apology was sincere, and not a simple ploy to try and reduce court time. I do believe that it is possible that many of these people involved in dogfighting are able to compartmentalize their lives such that they do not understand how horrible their acts are while they are doing them. I hope that Vick has a full rehabilitation. I do hope that before he is allowed back into the NFL to act as a role model for others that he shows his disdain for dogfighting by exercising his power for good. I think this is the least that can be expected of him after exercising it for evil for so long. I feel like people can change and hope that people understand that supporting Mike Vick in changing himself over the coming years will do more for the good of animals than ostracizing him indefinitely. I feel that justice will be properly served in this case, but also believe in a society where criminals can rehabilitate themselves if they show true remorse. I think some time in a federal penitentiary may be exactly what Vick needs to understand the severity of his crimes. —Adam

Although we can now rejoice at the ending for Michael Vick, he is not alone in the horrendous deeds being committed to these poor animals. A society can be judged by the way it treats its animals. We still live in a savage and barbaric world. With everyone’s help, we can end this senseless and cowardice act of dogfighting. May God bless our animals. —Tom Lahey

It is good to see Michael Vick finally apologize for his barbaric deeds but I can’t help wondering how much of this apology is a product of his public relations team? Mr. Vick needs to put his money where his mouth is—give a portion of current wealth and all future earnings to The Humane Society of the United States or to animal shelters, tape public service announcements, visit schools and shelters, and truly take responsibility for the rest of his life. Will he do this? We will only find out over time. —Vijaya Ramachandran

Everyone makes mistakes in their life time. It is just unfortunate that getting caught for a really awful crime today is what it takes for soul-searching and apologies. Taking pleasure in dogfighting, cockfighting, etc. is obviously a sickness, and everyone deserves a second chance. Let’s just hope Vick’s words are sincere. He may have lost a lot but I still don’t know what kind of mind someone could have to do what has been reported. The dogs lost more and they had no choice. —Kathy

People like Michael Vick are merely a visible, repulsive symptom of the actual disease we face. Animal cruelty is the disease—insidious and festering just under the surface of society. Like all societal problems born of ignorance, only diligence, tenacity, compassion and education will conquer this cancer of the soul. I know that the American public will not turn a blind eye to this issue, and I’m comforted to know that The HSUS exists solely for the protection of the rights of animals to coexist with us on this earth, and that they will never give up their mission. Thank you HSUS. —NW

Stricter laws and public awareness are the good things that will come from all this evil. Keep up the good work HSUS. I am proud to know you are out there doing what you do. —Leigha

Wayne, thank you and all your staff for all you do for animals. Michael Vick states that he’s sorry and admits that dogfighting is "a terrible thing." Is he sincere in his statement? I don’t think so. After he serves his sentence, he should be made to do some community service and work with The Humane Society of the United States or some other animal organization and help with the innocent victims that manage to survive such inhumane treatment. —Ceciia Leary


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