source: Sports Illustrated magazine
Everyone remembers Michael Vick, but what about the dogs that were rescued from the horror he and his cohorts put them through. Well, all but few, are recovering either in sanctuary's, foster care or adoptive homes. The few were the ones that were just too vicious to be placed in society. These are just like the prisoners that can't go into our society, they have to be put down.
There were 51 dogs seized from his property. I am not going to talk about that, though. He, (Vick), does not deserve any type of acknowledgment, whatsoever. I want to talk about the dogs. They are the victims, not him. When I got the new Sports Illustrated, I was totally shocked to see a Pit Bull on the cover. It is usually some sport figure, but not this one. Of course, I started reading the story.
It starts out by talking about Jasmine, a beautiful red Pit that, as they say, has problems. She hunkers down, tail tucked, when she approaches someone. But, she is with someone that is loving her and helping her adjust to a somewhat normal life. I knew PETA wanted all the dogs dead, but I was surprised when the HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) sided with them. They don't think that dogs rescued from fight rings can be rehabilitated, but Vick's dogs are showing that they can.
It has been shown that if one animal suffers some atrocity, any animals that are near, or within hearing range, suffer too. So, all the animals, not just the ones being physically hurt or killed, suffered trauma.
Did you know, that Pit Bulls are among the most people-friendly animals on this planet. This is the truth. If a Pit is bred and raised right, they are fabulous dogs. I know this for a fact. I have been a Certified Master Groomer for many, many years and have been around a lot of Pits. They are great, loving creatures.
When these dogs were taken from the property in VA., they were dispersed into 6 animal control facilities in VA. They didn't live a very good life there, either. They were like people on death row, just forgotten and feared. They were caged 24 hours at a time, not even allowed out while their cages were being cleaned. They had to relieve themselves where they lived and tolerate their cages being hosed down while they were in them. People didn't know this, as I didn't. I assumed they were cared for with sensitivity. Not true! The kennel workers assumed that they were doomed to die, so they just didn't care. How sad!!
But, it seemed that they had celebrity status because of the sicko that owned them, so they got the media attention that saved the lives of all but a few. When Vick agreed to the plea agreement, he had to pay almost million dollars for the care and treatment of the dogs, and that included humane euthanasia. When he gave the money as restitution, the dogs went from deadly weapons to sad, pitiful victims.
Some of these dogs have gone on to be therapy dogs. Yes, I said therapy dogs. It did my heart good to see that line in the magazine. But some, like a dog named Lucas, will never be able to leave the sanctuary where he lives. His life was so, so brutal, that he will never be able to live a normal life, on the outside, just like some convicts. Here are the stats on the dogs. 47 of the 51 dogs were saved. 2 died in shelters, 1 was destroyed because it was too violent and another was euthanized for medical reasons. 22 dogs went to Best Friends Animal Rescue (where I just made a $25.00 donation today-12/30/08, by the way.) These dogs are monitored on a daily basis. Almost all show a steady improvement in 3 categories; calmness, sociability and most important of all, happiness.
The other 25 have been placed in permanent homes and the rest are in foster care. But, the dog that sits on the coveted spot on the front of the magazine, Jasmine, still is fighting demons. She won't let anyone approach her from behind. My personal feeling, and this is not in the magazine, it is because of being strapped in the rape stands. Dogs feel, remember that. For months this little dog, yes little, sat in her kennel at her new home, having to be picked up and taken outside to potty, then only doing that when her new owner left her. Then she would go to a hole in the yard and just lay in it. This is from being tied out in the woods with no cover. It took months for her to come out of her kennel on her own. But then she would only potty and then lie in the hole. But, she is coming along with the love of her caretaker and her doggie friend from the same place, Sweet Pea. They have play dates once or twice a month.
I will end this with a saying by Gandhi: "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
Labels: dog fighting, michael vick