Politics
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, left, and Minnesota Vikings Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, left, and Minnesota Vikings' Brett Favre meet after an NFL football game, Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010, in Philadelphia. Minnesota won 24-14. (AP Photo/Miles Kennedy)  

Michael Vick calls for stronger laws against animal fighting

NFL quarterback Michael Vick and the Humane Society called for stronger laws against animal fighting Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

At a House briefing, Vick and Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) President Wayne Pacelle spoke in favor of a newly introduced bill, the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act of 2011, which would apply federal criminal penalties — fines and up to one year in prison — to anyone attending or bringing a minor to an animal fighting event.

“I was a major part of [animal fighting],” Vick said. “I know the game in and out. It won’t stop unless there is major change. It will continue to evolve and grow.”

Entries and side bets are a major part of animal fighting exhibitions, and extending prosecution to attendees would close a major loophole in the law, Vick and Pacelle argued.

“If you just criminalize the practitioners, you’re missing 98 percent of the people involved in the enterprise,” Pacelle said.

Pacelle said the owners of the animals at the fighting exhibitions often slip into the crowd during a bust, making them hard to identify. (Martin Sheen, Matthew Perry push for drug courts support at D.C. event)

Vick was busted in 2007 for running a large dog fighting ring out of a house he owned in Virginia, where dogs were routinely abused and killed. He was sentenced to 23 months in a federal penitentiary.

At Tuesday’s briefing, Vick said he fell into dog fighting because of friends, and he neither had the guidance nor maturity to stop.

Of his time in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary, Vick said it was “something I think I needed to go through.”

“I learned about why I did what I did,” Vick said. “It was a great opportunity to reflect on what I did wrong.”

Since his release from prison, Vick has partnered with the HSUS in speaking out against animal fighting.

Congress first passed laws against animal fighting in 1975. Those laws were strengthened in 2007 and 2008 to target owners and interstate transport of fighting animals.

The bill, H.R. 2492, is co-sponsored by Representatives Betty Sutton and Tom Marino, an Ohio Democrat and a Pennsylvania Republican, respectively.

  • bevesbasic

    SERIOUSLY ???—IF VICK HAD NOT BEEN CAUGHT–HE WOULD STILL BE KILLING DOG’S EVERY CHANCE HE HAD–HE WILL SAY WHATEVR HE CAN TO MAKE PEOPLE THIKG HE HAS CHANGED–CAN NOT AND WILL NOT–THIS BEHAVIOR IS INBRED INTO HIS LIFE AND SOUL–

    I WOULD LIKE TO TIE HIM UP–SHOCK HIM–DUNK HIM–PAYBACK’S A BITCH–F HIM !!!

  • WEB3

    I believe the ones we already have put you in prison?

  • TruthFirst

    All smoke and mirrors – Vick is and always will be a monster and I, for one, will boycott the NFL so long as they allow him to make millions. I can’t believe America would put up with this man who allowed torture of household pets.

  • sarah2005

    Thank you for this piece. As someone who works at the HSUS, I see the passion everyday that advocates have for this issue, and hopefully this coverage will help ignite that same passion in others. With over 100,000 dogfighters out there, we need to do all that we can to stop this cruelty, and this legislation, as well as our End Dogfighting Program, are two very important parts of doing that. I hope that everyone who reads this piece will make sure to take action, which you can do here: http://bit.ly/njp8Kj

    • MJHBAMA

      I agree with you wholeheartedly. But don’t you think it is rather oxymoronic to put Michael Vick (convicted animal torturer) up as an Icon, making him a spokesman for the ASPCA?

  • gobnait06

    “I was a major part of [animal fighting],” Vick said. “I know the game in and out. It won’t stop unless there is major change. It will continue to evolve and grow.”

    No one knows that better than you, Mikey. YOU’d still be torturing dogs to this day if you hadn’t been caught red-handed, you unspeakable hypocrite.

    • Iowa48

      Exactly right! Vick was making millions of dollars while he was engaging in the torturing, maiming and killing of dogs. He only ceased his torturing, maiming, and killing of dogs when he was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to prison for a brief period of time. After Vick’s release from his brief sentence for the torturing of dogs, maiming of dogs, and killing of dogs, he is once again making millions of dollars. Hoping that their customers have very short memories and no consciences regarding the torturing, maiming, and killing of dogs, NIKE has re-signed Vick to represent the company, paying him millions more dollars to do so. (I, for one, will never again purchase a Nike product, as I do not condone, as Nike apparently does, the torture, maiming, and killing of dogs). Of course Vick will partner with the Humane Society and give lip service about the torturing, maiming, and killing of dogs in order to continue to enrich himself. The Philadelphia Eagles, Nike, and the HSUS are dupes and stooges for Vick. If Vick were to donate 90% of his income to the HSUS, then I might consider giving him the benefit of a doubt. However, pedophiles, serial killers, and animal abusers are sociopaths whose deeply flawed psyches make them very poor candidates for rehabilitation. David Duke would join the NAACP if you paid him as much as Vick is making, but he would still be David Duke and Michael Vick will always be Michael Vick, torturer, maimer, and killer of dogs.