Why Vick should be allowed to own a dog again
Let me preface this by saying that I'm a dog-owning vegetarian. And in doing the research for this post, I had the same feelings of anger and sadness that we all experienced at the sight of those brutalized dogs in Michael Vick's "Bad Newz Kennel," when the photos were released a few years back.
But I'm also a big believer in the rehabilitation process -- and never has it seemed more successful than in the case of Vick. To put it into perspective, you have to understand where he came from. The son of teenage parents, Vick grew up in the projects of Newport News, Va., a world where drug-dealing and drive-by-shootings were commonplace. (It's the exact same life depicted in David Simon's brilliant series "The Wire," which ironically had a dog-fighting plot line on one of its later seasons.) Thanks to Vick's talents he escaped to the NFL. But his roots were still in Newport News.
That is, until he served 18 months in a federal prison, which is probably the best thing that could have happened to him. The new Vick is repentant, focused, and committed to his anti-dog fighting work in the community. His on-the-field popularity has soared (check Pro Bowl voting), and he's slowly making his way back into the ad game. Vick doesn't need the Humane Society relationship anymore, yet he still shows up.
Vick's horrible past doesn't mean he's ill-equipped to own a dog. As he's eloquently said in recent interviews, the old Vick was never a dog-hater; he simply grew up in a world where dogs had a different purpose. If, as Humane Society president Wayne Pacelle suggests, Vick continues on his "flawless path of rehabilitation" -- and after his three-year probationary ban is over -- he should be considered for dog ownership. There's a good reason why the judge didn't come down with a lifetime ban.
Do you really think principle is more important than saving one more dog from potential euthanization?