Virginia Tech has responded to two online petitions which had hoped to stop Michael Vick’s induction into the college’s Hall of Fame. The former Virginia Tech quarterback has been named one of five athletes in the university’s Hall of Fame class of 2017. According to Wdbj7News, three days later, alumna Jennifer Breeden created an online petition to revoke the honor. Two online petitions have garnered nearly 70,000 signatures.
In 2007, Vick was sentenced to prison for 23 months for running a dogfight operation near Richmond, Virginia. Vick’s prison sentence was longer than his two co-defendants, after he lied to the judge about his involvement. Although he said he accepted responsibility for his actions at the time, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson accused Vick of being “less than truthful.”
In one of the most disturbing animal cruelty cases involving dog fighting, innocent dogs were brutally tortured and killed by electrocution, hanging, drowning and via other violent means if they didn’t perform well in the rings. Vick denied he had ever been directly involved in the egregious suffering of the dogs, but his co-defendants told a different story. Along with his prison term, he was fined $5,000 and was ordered to serve three years of probation.
On Friday, Virginia Tech responded to the complaints with the following press release:
“Mr. Vick’s induction into the university’s sports hall of fame acknowledges his tremendous achievements as a student athlete—who some will say was the greatest in the history of the university.
We understand that there are those who do not and will never agree with this decision.
In considering Mr. Vick’s nomination to our sports hall of fame, the criminal activities in which he engaged, his subsequent conviction, and time he served for his crime were also considered.
And it was informed by the remorse he has shown since that conviction, the work he is currently engaged in to advance animal welfare issues, as well as his efforts to help our current student athletes, based on lessons he’s learned in his own life, make positive choices as they begin their adult lives.
This in no way condones the actions for which he was convicted.
The university remains dedicated to the protection of animal health and welfare and embodies great care and compassion for all living animals.”
Some Vick fans continue to defend him and tell animal advocates it’s time to move on, but no matter how many times football fans repeat the “forgive and forget” mantra, most people are unaware of the details of the cruelty inflicted upon these dogs. Many of the dogs from Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels were able to be rehabbed and cared for after they were seized in April 2007, but what about the unnamed innocent victims not as well publicized.
Donna Reynolds is the co-founder of Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pitbulls (BAD RAP), known for rescuing and rehabilitating pit bulls. In case anyone forgot or didn’t know the details and why so many compassionate people find Vick’s nomination so offensive, note Reynold’s blog entries:
“The details that got to me … involve the swimming pool that was used to kill some of the dogs. Jumper cables were clipped onto the ears of underperforming dogs, then just like with a car, the cables were connected to the terminals of car batteries before lifting and tossing the shamed dogs into the water. We don’t know how many suffered this premeditated murder, but the damage to the pool walls tells a story. It seems that while they were scrambling to escape, they scratched and clawed at the pool liner and bit at the dented aluminum sides like a hungry dog on a tin can.”
Reynold continued the heartbreaking blog post:
“…my mind’s image of a little black dog splashing frantically in bloody water … screaming in pain and terror…brown eyes saucer wide and tiny black white-toed feet clawing at anything, desperate to get a hold. This death did not come quickly. The rescuer in me keeps trying to think of a way to go back in time and somehow stop this torture and pull the little dog to safety. I think I’ll be looking for ways to pull that dog our for the rest of my life.”
And that is just one example of what happened and how Vick tortured and laughed at the dogs’ pain and agony. And that is just another reason why animal advocates have voiced their disappointment at Virginia Tech. It’s the horrific fate of all those dogs buried in the ground at Bad Newz Kennel that reminds all of us that the forgiveness is owed to those dogs as well as the ones who were lucky enough to have been freed from Vick’s hell on earth.
Follow the National Pet Rescue on Facebook.
This dog was stuck for hours before being found – find out where at this link to his story.
Where did this pit bull end up after being stolen from a shelter? Watch the video here.