Angela Bocage

Michael Vick gets away with murder–and a real man who saves lives

Straight up, I don’t really read Sports Illustrated, but CNN-SI online,  in George Dohrmann’s article “The House on Moonlight Road” lays out simple, stark facts about the small black buildings in the woods behind the Vick property . Behind this respectable-looking, spacious property in Smithfield, Virginia, the little black buildings, hardly visible in the daytime among the trees, wouldn’t have been noticed at all at night. There, Michael Vick either ran or supported what I would call a torture chamber where sentient, sensitive creatures were bled and injured and murdered for men’s enjoyment, their “sport.” The article is far more objective than I am. It quotes not only investigating officer Kathy Strouse, but athletes, NFL officials, and HSUS authorities. The latter, interestingly, admit that well before Kathy Strouse went to Moonlight Road they knew that both the NFL and NBA harbor many more such murderers; one sports figure, who insists his pit bull dog is a “pet,” nevertheless affirms his understanding that sooner or later, hey, a guy’s just gonna wanna know how tough is dog is.  So, in the scenario that was repeated hundreds upon hundred of times on Vick’s property and others, he’ll force her to fight until she kills another dog or is torn and damaged to the point where the “guy’s” part of the drama is clear: no, he won’t get her to an emergency hospital! He’ll kill her, of course, as cruelly as possible, to distance himself from her “weakness.” This article is not sensationalistic or exploitive, and author George Dohrmann is to be strongly commended for that clarity, and especially for having  the guts to include words and actions from a true real-life hero, the animal control officer Kathy Strouse.  A member of the Virginia Animal Fighting Task Force, it was Strouse’s deductions which put the evidence into perspective, deductions based on observations over 22 years as an officer, expert witness, and teacher of animal officers throughout the country.  Her knowledge made crystal clear what so many would love to call murky, controversial, confusing. Confusion is so convenient at times–the forces of oppression and cruelty, and their sympathizers in the media, love to find reasons for it.

Kathy Strouse isn’t the only hero I’d like to focus on, however. I know how often we’re importuned by causes seeking our support, petitions to be signed that get buried in the incoming junk mail or forgotten in the rush to work, to do the laundry, change the baby, write that letter, all the rush of our wonderful messy lives. But to wash the evil taste of fear and death away, please take a look at Eric Ardia of Smilin’ Pitbull Rescue ( ) . Eric has been doing what he does–rescuing, transporting, fostering, caring for, these loyal, silly, loving high-personality dogs, and the huge huge invisible work of organizing that includes so many phone calls, introductions, connections, lists and time–for eight years, and his site explains why it honors his late sister, an environmentalist and educator. Look at the glow in those big ol’ pitbull faces when they know they are loved and wanted! The goofy antics of one of his rescues, Precious! And see Mighty, the vulnerable little pup that almost didn’t make it, as he gains strength and spirit. And then click on Smilin’ Pitbull Rescue’s laconically-named “Anti-Vick” button. If you can donate, or buy a t-shirt, or tell people about this site, please do it. But it’s so easy to add your name to the petitions. I’ve shared that mushy-mush picture of a “real man”–in the very best sense it can be–huggin’ his pittie with loads of folks today.

Because the most Michael Vick can be punished at this writing is five years in jail. That’s what I mean by getting away with murder. And unless he’s banned from US football, a pro team will hire him, my football experts tell me–he’ll have won on both fronts and the world will be that much safer for cruelty and callousness. Eric Ardia sets a counter example, of honor, of love, and of hard work. That’s the kind of guy I want my son and my friends’ sons to look up to.


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  1. * CurlyQB says:

    Michael Vick is no longer Nike’s poster child, but he has long been a poster child for a culture that hands star male athletes a sense of entitlement beginning in grammar school; that glorifies violence to an audience of boys who seldom have to use their brains; and that encourages post-adolescent men to live vicariously through the exploits of their favorite athletes and teams.

    Mr. Vick’s other dubious accomplishments, which have not been mentioned prominently in light of recent events, include a successful lawsuit against him by a woman whom he had knowingly infected with a sexually transmitted disease. He followed that up with getting stopped at airport security carrying a water bottle with a not-so-secret compartment behind the label of a type often used to stash drugs. He dodged arrest on that one nearly as artfully as he once dodged mobile, hostile, agile defensive linemen in the Georgia Dome.

    Considering the environment in which he developed, how hard can it be to connect the dots between having everything except athletic success handed to him, having a series of consistently blind eyes turned toward his off-the-field behavior, and his (thankfully misplaced) belief that he would never be held to answer for his conduct?

    No punishment that the NFL, the courts or even public opinion can hand out can provide “eye for an eye” retribution for the horrific behavior described in Mr. Vick’s plea documents. He will undoubtedly spend enough time in jail to miss the better part of at least two football seasons, and it looks as if Commissioner Goodell would like nothing better than to keep him off the field for enough years after he is released that, as a practical matter, he would be finished as a player. Were he to do anything short of that, some NFL team would bet that its fans would find a felon who’s paid his debt to society easier to swallow than a losing season, and would sign him. His livelihood is all but gone, and it’s quite apparent that his team and the companies whose products he endorsed have, and likely will exercise, significant remedies against him. He has earned the revulsion, enmity and derision of people with a shred of compassion and decency in their makeup. Perhaps the most telling aspect of this entire horrific business is that the latter probably concerns him the least.

    Once Mr. Vick is a guest of Uncle Sam, perhaps the public’s attention will turn to the real men and women who love and care for their animals, and who regard coddled sociopaths in much the same way Mr. Vick regarded his animals.

    | Reply Posted 15 years, 9 months ago
  2. * Ja says:

    this is very well written.

    Michael Vick’s real problem is that he is not at all sorry for what he has done. he has publicly written it off as “immature”, rather than admitting that what he did was sadistic and completely immoral.

    i am the proud guardian of 3 rescued pit bulls and it makes me ill to consider what their lives would be like or how tragically short their lives would be in the hands of someone like him.

    i am amazed that his salary was not enough for him– that he felt so compelled to execute these dogs in the most inhumane ways possible.

    if Michael Vick had wanted to be famous, then he has certainly succeeded.

    | Reply Posted 15 years, 8 months ago
  3. * angelabocage says:

    Wow, thanks for commenting, SPBR! Keep up the good work! And give all the puppies kisses and snuggles for Berekiah pup and me! We love pits and totally admire your site….

    | Reply Posted 15 years, 4 months ago

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