Thus far, I refrained from commenting on the whole Michael Vick debacle. There are many other individuals and organizations that are far more eloquent than me – namely BadRap.org. I am the proud caretaker of a Bully breed dog. Dottie is an American Staffordshire Terrier. In many circles, this classifies her as a pit bull. Because of this, I have an interest in this case. This is the first case where it is clear the dogs are the victims and not the criminals.
I am a Virginia native who watched Michael Vick rise to athletic stardom. I watched his collegiate and NFL games. Many Virginians, including myself, were emotionally invested in him. When the allegations first came out, I was shocked and disappointed. How could someone use their fame in such a manner? Then, the details were brought to light. I was sickened and incensed. This was not a simple case of animal cruelty. This man is a monster. He financed a dogfighting syndicate. His cruelty extended to dozens of dogs over a period of years. As recently as a April 2007, Vick admitted to killing 6-8 dogs for “not performing well”. He didn’t simply put them out of their misery. They were beat, hung, or drowned. Some of the photos of his property that were leaked onto the Internet are horrifying.
The recommended sentence was 10-12 months; while the maximum sentence was 5 years. U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson recently sentenced Vick to 23 months in prison. The judge commented that he gave Vick a longer sentence in lieu of the fact that Vick showed little remorse for his crimes.
I just read this article on CNN.com about letters for leniency to the judge. Hank Aaron, George Foreman, and other have written on his behalf. Even Vick himself wrote a five page letter to the judge. Are these people kidding?! 23 months is NOT long enough. He didn’t just neglect or improperly car for a pet. This man arranged and paid for dogs (notice the plural) to be trained to fight to the death.
In his letter, Vick claims he is sorry for his crimes. If you read very carefully, you will find that he is not sorry for his crimes. He’s just sorry he got caught. He is sorry that his actions will negatively affect his family. I hate to say it, but he should have thought of that BEFORE he started his dogfighting ring. In one portion of the letter, he blames his environment for his actions and states he saw people arrested for drugs and guns, but never for dogfighting. So, he never learned the severity of his crime. Who is he kidding? He didn’t know that killing animals for sport was wrong? Really?! This goes back to my point that he is only sorry that he got caught. He also ennumerates his philanthropy. This shouldn’t help his cause. While his philanthropic works are laudable, they do not make up for his crimes. He should have gotten the maximum 5 years for his crime.