Sooooo, blogger and friend Cyndi Griffin (Just Another Day at the Office) took me up on the offer. As always, Cyndi’s thoughts are well thought out and articulate. In the spirit of open-mindedness, I asked Cyndi to do a guest post sharing her views....
I love this blog and I agree with so much of what you are saying about Michael Vick, but I didn't know a lot about what had happened so I didn’t feel comfortable responding until I found out more. I knew that he got caught running a dog fighting ring, a despicable act, and was sent to prison for 18 months. I have read several articles about him since and would like to share some thoughts with you.
First, let me warn you that I am notorious for playing devil's advocate. That being said, I completely agree with you about the seriousness of the crimes he committed. I used to rescue abused dogs and I have seen firsthand the pain and suffering humans can inflict on animals. The Animal Shelter used to call me when they had an abused pet and I ended up taking four dogs from them and rehabbing them back to health. One beautiful black lab was shot four times by his drunken owner for getting in the swimming pool. He weighed 45 pounds when he came to me. I kept him for two years and when he was adopted out to a loving family he was a sleek, enthusiastic 110 pound bundle of energy!
What Vick did to dogs was worse, but he was introduced to dog fighting as a pre-teen. It was part of the culture of his childhood. Granted he should have seen the error of his elders’ ways when he grew up, but when something is ingrained in you early, it sometimes takes a real shake up to jar those "truths" loose. When he got caught, he pleaded guilty and did his time…eighteen months in prison. Some people get less than that for killing a person! He was an exemplary prisoner and since his release, he has humbled himself and become an advocate against animal cruelty.
He has paid for his crimes and has promised never hurt another animal again. Some may say that they don’t believe he has truly reformed. I don’t presume to know what is in the hearts of others. I can only look to his or her actions and he has conducted himself in a manner to support his claims. He has taken this message to schools and community groups. This wasn’t a condition of his release, he has volunteered to do this, and hopefully, his story will deter many other youths from following the crowd of this culture. I have seen evidence of dog fighting in my career and it is heart breaking.
Hopefully, Vick's high profile story will take some of the macho out of this "sport" and help curb the proliferation of this crime. There were members of my family who used to fight chickens and I grew up thinking that it was perfectly normal. They were very proud of their birds, but that didn't keep them from strapping spurs on their feet and watching them fight to the death. I was an adult before I saw the inhumanity in this.
I haven’t raised these issues to offend or denounce your opinion. I have a great deal of respect for you and have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blogs. I just felt that the other side of the story needed to be told.
I appreciate Cyndi's willingness to step up and share an opposing viewpoint. Would anybody else like to share their thoughts or opinions?