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Meet Survivors of the Largest Dog Fighting Raid in History


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This past July, the ASPCA assisted in collecting forensic evidence and conducting behavior evaluations of rescued dogs in a federal and multi-state investigation that led to one of the toughest crackdowns on dog fighting in U.S. history. Raids were conducted on various dog fighting operations in eight states and resulted in the rescue of more than 500 dogs.

Now, after months of rehabilitation, many of the rescued dogs are seeing a miraculous change in lifestyle.

Evaluated over the summer by a team of animal behaviorists, including four ASPCA staffers, most of the dogs are absolute gems with people, and quite a number are also good with other dogs.

Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Behavior Center, Dr. Pamela Reid, who was a member of the behavior evaluations team, says, “We found the dogs to be true to Pit Bull reputation─they were extremely friendly with people. Most greeted us with wagging tails and smiling eyes, and while some were aggressive with other dogs, as would be expected from their history, about two-thirds of the adults and most of the puppies did not test as aggressive. With socialization and training, many of these dogs may well turn out to be excellent pets and companions.”

Check out the following pooches, who after surviving painful lives of dog fighting are not only ready to become loving companions, but will use their stories to inspire others.

dog dog dog

JOMP urges everyone to speak up if you know about, hear about, witness or even suspect any type of neglect or abuse to animals or or humans.  It is all related!!

November 14, 2009 Posted by | Animal Rescues, animals, Just One More Pet, Pets, Stop Animal Cruelty, Toughen Animal Abuse Laws and Sentences, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesse Compares Michael Vick to Jackie Robinson

Since this article was written, Vick has been signed… ” Michael Vick Signs Two-Year Deal With NFL’s Eagles” read the headline.  $1.6 million the first year and $5.2 million the second.  Nice reward for brutal treatment of animals and being a despicable example for America’s Youth!  And being compared to Jackie Robinson is absolutely an insult to Robinson’s memory!

Steve Helber/Associated Press

The Rev. Jesse Jackson says signing Michael Vick will require someone to make a courageous move and asks why lesser players have jobs in the N.F.L.

Published: August 7, 2009

The Rev. Jesse Jackson became the latest public figure to offer an opinion on the future of Michael Vick. Jackson said he wondered whether there had been collusion among N.F.L. owners to keep Vick out of the league.

“I want to make it an issue,” Jackson said Thursday in a telephone interview. “I want teams to explain why they have a quarterback who has less skills but is playing or at least is on the taxi squad, and a guy with more skills can’t get into training camp.”

Two years ago this month, Vick pleaded guilty to felony charges related to his participation in an unlawful dogfighting ring and was indefinitely suspended from the N.F.L. Vick was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison in December 2007.  (Definitely not long enough based on the level of cruelty of his offenses  including the drowning, electricution and hanging of dogs and even throwing his family dogs into the ring to watch them torn up as he laughed.  That is a level of evil that I certainly would not want to reward or have out on the field and by any standard would require years of counseling to counteract.  Vick can’t even make the sorry case that he needed the money!)

He was conditionally reinstated to the league last month by Commissioner Roger Goodell. Under terms of the reinstatement, Vick can take part in preseason practices, workouts and meetings and may play in the final two preseason games — if a team signs him.

When the season begins, Vick may participate in all team activities except games. Goodell said he would consider Vick for full reinstatement by Week 6.

“Democracy does not guarantee success,” Jackson said. “Democracy guarantees an opportunity. It’s not fair to de facto try to lock him out of his right to compete. If he can’t make the team, don’t let him play. If he can, let him work.”

Jesse Jackson Compares Michael Vick to Jackie Robinson

Jesse Jackson Compares Michael Vick to Jackie Robinson

Jackson, born in 1941, has been a civil rights activist for most of his adult life. He said that in some ways, Vick’s attempt to re-enter the N.F.L. was similar to Jackie Robinson’s entering Major League Baseball.

Although their situations were drastically different, Jackson said, the challenge was the same: Which owner would have the courage to make a controversial signing?

Viewed from a 2009 prism, that comparison seems blasphemous. Robinson became an American icon because of his courage and perseverance. The only thing he did wrong — in some eyes — was to be born African-American.

But in the era in which Robinson came of age, his admirable qualities mattered to Major League Baseball owners. A significant segment of the American population knew little to nothing about Robinson, and saw him as someone who threatened a way of life. Owners were not going to allow Robinson or any other African-American to play major league baseball, regardless of how much character and fortitude he possessed.

If we are going to make a comparison of unfair scenarios…  How about comparing Vick’s rehiring by the NFL after only 23-months in prison for torturing and killing numerous dogs with the presentation of the Medal of Freedom to Ted Kennedy after his involvement in Chappaquiddick; running away and leaving a young girl to die in a car he had driven into the water accidentally at best and perhaps not so accidentally in the opinion of others, and never spending a moment in prison. The comparison is indeed closer.  The comparison of Vick to Robinson is blasphemous and insulting to Robinson’s memory!!  What do they have in common other than the color of their skin?!?  Isn’t this exactly the kind of thing that Jesse Jackson would rip a white person into pieces for…  for making that kind of comparison because of race?

Many fair-minded baseball owners had the same concerns about Robinson that fair-minded N.F.L. owners today have about Vick: What will critics say? How will the public respond?

Finally one organization, the Dodgers, and one man, Branch Rickey, were bold and pragmatic enough to weigh the risks and take the leap of signing Robinson.

Vick, unlike Robinson in 1947, has a proven track record. Vick has performed at a star level in the N.F.L. Robinson performed briefly in the Negro Leagues before joining the Dodgers.

The question is: How severely have Vick’s skills eroded? You would think that one owner, one team would at least be curious; training camps have been open for only a week.

“If the guy has paid his dues to the criminal justice system, paid his debt to the N.F.L. and shows remorse, what else does he need to do?” Jackson asked.  23-months in prison for torturing and murdering dogs is hardly enough of a punishment for his crimes. He should have received at least a year or two for every dog her mistreated, tortured, abused and killed and should have been from playing football for life.  If you are really going to compare unfairness, what should be compared is Ted Kennedy receiving the

For many, the nonnegotiable issue in the Vick case is cruelty to animals. But let’s climb off our high horses. We know many fans hunt. They track down innocent animals, blast them with shotguns, shoot them out of the sky with rifles — for sport. Some take off animals’ heads and mount them as trophies.

Perfectly legal.

But the issue here is that Vick served his time in prison for breaking the law. The issue is degrees of cruelty. Who is worse: someone who tortures in the name of sport and then apologizes, or the one who kills in the name of sport and continues to hunt?

Vick was cruel and was punished. Now he has promised to be compassionate.

Jackson pointed out that Vick had satisfied the demands of the legal system. Now, like thousands of young men who are released from prison each year, Vick is eager to become a productive citizen. So far, he has been unable to find a job and his options are limited.

The Canadian Football League will not consider Vick or any player under full or partial suspension by the N.F.L.

“One of the big issues of re-entry is that when people come out, can they get gainful employment?” Jackson said.  Sure… How about a job somewhere between minimum wage and $35,000 a year, spending the rest of his time giving free talks to young people about compassion and kindness and volunteering at animal rescue events, while wearing an electronic ankle bracelet like child abusers?!?

Vick is fortunate. As a quarterback, he has skills that are highly valued.

“He has a right to compete,” Jackson said. “If he doesn’t make the team, then he can’t play. If he can, let him work.”

So far, everyone has said no. Someone should have the guts to say yes.

By WILLIAM C. RHODEN – E-mail: wcr@nytimes.com

Notes by Ask Marion – Marion’s Place/JOMP

Related Posts:

August 14, 2009 Posted by | animal abuse, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Vick Released from Federal Custody—ASPCA President Speaks Out

Woof “The question isn’t whether he deserves to earn a livelihood. The question is whether Mr. Vick should be able to re-join the ranks of elite athletes in the NFL.”—Ed Sayres, ASPCA President & CEO

On Monday, July 20, former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, once the highest-paid player in the National Football League (NFL), was released from federal custody after serving a 23-month sentence for dog fighting. The investigation into the horrific activities that took place at Vick’s Virginia dog fighting operation, Bad Newz Kennels, and his 2007 federal conviction not only led to a sullied public image, but to the star quarterback being let go by his team and indefinitely suspended from the NFL.

In light of the ASPCA’s integral role in the investigation—we collected forensic evidence for the court case and led a team of behaviorists in the evaluation of the dozens of dogs rescued from Vick’s property—Ed Sayres, ASPCA President & CEO, offers his unique perspective on the release of Michael Vick and the question on everyone’s mind: what will he do now?

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ASPCA Responds to Release of Suspended NFL Star & Convicted Dogfighter Michael Vick from Federal Custody

NEW YORK— The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) issued a statement from ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres prompted by suspended NFL star and convicted dogfighter Michael Vick’s release today from federal custody:

“I have spent over 35 years in animal welfare, and currently serve as President of an organization whose very mission it is to prevent animal cruelty. So I do not exaggerate when I say that my thoughts surrounding the future of Michael Vick test the very limits of my objectivity. I have dedicated my life to bringing an end to the very activities that Mr. Vick himself admitted to perpetrating—yet it is with the utmost level of objectivity that those of us in the animal welfare world must employ when discussing ‘What next?’ with Mr. Vick’s career in the NFL.

“Being as objective as possible, the facts are clear: Mr. Vick participated in a six-year pattern of illegal activity. His plea clearly stated that along with these activities, he savagely electrocuted and beat dogs to death after they lost their brutal fights. It is this barbarism that sets the crime apart. This was not a one-time transgression or crime of passion—this was a multi-year pattern of behavior that demonstrates a startling lack of moral character and judgment.

“Regardless, Mr. Vick most decidedly deserves to be employed. However, the question isn’t whether he deserves to earn a livelihood…. The question is whether Mr. Vick should be able to re-join the ranks of the elite athletes in the NFL. The NFL is not your average workplace—with stratospheric salaries, licensing agreements, corporate endorsements and tens of millions of adoring fans, the NFL represents, to many, the achievement of ‘The American Dream.’ These athletes are looked upon as our heroes… our role models… and with Mr. Vick in the enviable role of quarterback, they are viewed as leaders.

“Given the stature of what it means to be a part of the NFL, it is crucial that Mr. Vick first express remorse for what he has done—something that he has yet to do throughout his incarceration. It is also critical that Mr. Vick take advantage of the opportunity granted to him by Wayne Pacelle and the Humane Society of the United States. Through his association with HSUS, Mr. Vick has a tremendous opportunity to address those many years of horrific judgment and finally demonstrate responsible community behavior.

“It is this conscientious presence in their communities that truly made heroes of men like Walter Payton and Jack Kemp. These men had a sense of integrity, compassion and dedication that was apparent throughout their illustrious careers. It is these legacies that Mr. Vick should aspire to emulate.

“Most people will be seeking a cut-and-dried answer to the question of whether Mr. Vick should be allowed to return to the NFL. It is simply not my place to make such an assertion—instead, this is the challenge that awaits NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. But Mr. Goodell has amply demonstrated his capacity for leadership in the past, and as a representative of a community that truly has been tested by Mr. Vick’s ruthless actions, I ask that we give Mr. Goodell the time and space to deliberate on what will undoubtedly amount to a precedent-setting decision.”

Note: The ASPCA worked closely with federal authorities at every step of the case, first assisting in the investigation itself through the involvement of Dr. Melinda Merck, senior director of Veterinary Forensics with the ASPCA, and later when Dr. Stephen Zawistowski, CAAB, executive vice president of ASPCA Programs, led a team of several Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists in the behavior evaluations of the seized dogs.

Source:  ASPCA.org

Posted:  Just One More Pet

Related:  Resources:

July 25, 2009 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, animals, Just One More Pet, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , | 5 Comments

Seems Michael Vick Snuck Out of Prison When Released to Avoid Media

Michael Vick snuck out of prison the morning of May 20th to avoid the onslaught of media that was awaiting for him. However YMSWWC’s super photographer did manage to snap this shot.

Obviously a photoshopped pic, but Mr. Vick should have to walk around in a faux coat like this as part of his probation in my opinion!!  M~

Originally Posted by Thomas the Terrible on May 20, 2009

FreeVick

July 16, 2009 Posted by | animal abuse, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rescues, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Just One More Pet, Pets, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, Unusual Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

ASPCA ASSISTS IN LARGEST DOG FIGHTING CRACKDOWN IN U.S. HISTORY

Help Us End the Cruelty

On Wednesday, July 8, the ASPCA began assisting federal and state agencies in what is believed to be the largest crackdown on dog fighting in U.S. history. The raid spans eight states so far—Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nebraska and Mississippi. Arrests have been made in all eight states.

Nearly 400 rescued dogs were safely transported to a secure facility under the direction of the Humane Society of Missouri’s (HSMO) Animal Cruelty Task Force, where they will be cared for until final disposition is determined by the U.S. District Court.

Help End Cruelty

“The ASPCA is determined to protect the nation’s pets from dog fighting and other forms of brutality,” says ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres. “Animal cruelty cannot be tolerated, and we are proud to lend our support to federal and local agencies to ensure that these abusers are brought to justice.”

At the request of HSMO, the ASPCA is lending the services of its special forensic cruelty investigation team—including disaster animal rescuers, field service investigators and Dr. Melinda Merck, the nation’s premier forensic veterinarian—to collect evidence for the prosecution of the criminal case. The ASPCA’s Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation Unit, outfitted with medical equipment tailored specifically for animal patients, is also on hand.

The ASPCA will also eventually assist in behavior evaluations of the dogs.

Dog fighting is banned throughout the United States and is a felony in all 50 states.  If convicted of animal fighting charges, those arrested each face up to five years in prison.

Your support makes it possible for the ASPCA to rescue animals from this horrendous life. Your generosity allows our experts to collect the evidence needed to build cases against and prosecute animal cruelty offenders.

Source:  ASPCA.org

Posted:  Just One More Pet

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July 12, 2009 Posted by | animal abuse, Animal Rescues, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Pet Adoption, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, Success Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Alabama Dog Fighting Bust—45 Dogs Seized, Remains Found

Courtesy of Randolph Leader/Matt Shelley

On Monday, June 1, a dog fighting operation in Randolph County, AL, was raided by the state’s 5th Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force. The ASPCA dispatched forensic veterinarian Dr. Melinda Merck and our Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation Unit to collect evidence in the investigation and aid in the prosecution of the case.

Dr. Merck examined 45 dogs who were discovered tied to heavy chains and living in deplorable conditions on two properties. She also examined partially buried skeletal remains of a dog found on site. In addition, controlled substances, illicit drugs and other paraphernalia related to dog fighting have been collected into evidence.

“These dogs definitely suffered abuse and inhumane treatment at the hands of dog fighters,” says Dr. Merck, Senior Director of Veterinary Forensics for the ASPCA. “So far, we’ve seen that one is unable to walk, another who is limping, and many who are injured, some severely.”

As a result of ASPCA participation, two suspects have been formally charged. William Alsabrook was charged with two counts of possession of dogs for fighting, and Artis Kyle was charged with one count of possession of dogs for fighting, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Source: ASPCA

Posted:  Just One More Pet

June 6, 2009 Posted by | animal abuse, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Humane Society of the U.S. finally changes its policy on fighting dogs

 

Careful – you might get cuddled to death by this sweetie    Photo: BestFriends.org 

In a reversal of their decades-old stance, the Humane Society of the United States has reportedly decided on a new interim policy that all dogs seized from fighting operations should now be evaluated for their suitability for adoption on a case-by-case basis.  This is a reversal of longstanding HSUS policy that any dog impounded from a fighting situation was inherently too dangerous to be safely placed in a home and should therefore be killed by authorities as soon as legally permissible.

[Author’s note: Though it is common practice to refer to such government-sanctioned killings of animals as “euthanasia,” the Merriam-Webster definition of euthanasia is “the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy,” hence the term cannot truthfully be used to describe the killing of healthy animals who have not yet been determined to be irreversibly aggressive.]


Former Vick fighting dog Leo takes his job as a therapy dog very seriously  Photo: msnbc.com

The announcement of this change in policy came from the Best Friends Animal Society website, and has yet to appear on the HSUS website as of this writing.  A call to the Washington office of the HSUS was not returned.

The reversal comes in the wake of the recent killing of 146 pit bulls who were seized at or born after a raid on a fighting dog operation in Wilkes County, North Carolina.  Seventy of the dogs killed were puppies; nineteen of whom were born after the seizure had taken place.  The killings were ordered by Superior Court Judge Ed Wilson Jr. after testimony from local animal control officials and two representatives of the HSUS.  According the Best Friends website, Judge Wilson ordered that the dogs be killed “without evaluation to determine suitability for placement.”

Scarred ex-fighter, now therapy dog Hector snuggles with new mom Leslie Nuccio  Photo: Eric Risberg/AP

Prior to this incident, the Humane Society of the United States’ policy on fighting dogs came under public fire during the Michael Vick case, when HSUS representatives advocated the killing of all dogs seized from Vick’s “Bad Newz Kennels.”  Subsequent case-by-case evaluations ordered by Judge Henry Hudson revealed that only one dog was too aggressive to be safely placed with a rescue.  That dog was euthanized, another was euthanized due to severe health problems, and the rest were sent to rescues around the country.  Subsequently at least two of these dogs, Leo and Hector, who were considered experienced fighters due to their scars, have gone on to become therapy dogs who visit and comfort patients in hospitals.

I would like to note that I am a supporter of the Humane Society of the United States.  They have done unsurpassed work over decades to increase public awareness of cruelty to animals, including exposing the issue of puppy mills; their groundbreaking work in helping to pass Prop. 2 in California, which is an important first step in decreasing cruel farming practices; and their unparalleled work in exposing shocking cruelty to downed dairy cows headed for slaughter at the now-defunct Hallmark/Westland meat packing company, which led to the nation’s largest-ever beef recall. 

Their stance on fighting dogs, however, has been uncharacteristically rigid and inhumane and I am extremely glad that although it took the senseless, indiscriminate deaths of 146 dogs, HSUS is starting to reexamine their policy in this matter and the injustice of judging and condemning any creature without knowing them personally.

By:  Kate Woodviolet

Source:  Examiner.com – LA Pet Rescue Examiner

Posted By:  Ask Marion – Just One More Pet

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Great Update About Dogs Removed From Michael Vick’s Compound

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URGENT ALERT: Don’t Let Joe Knollenberg Lie About Animal Cruelty!

Dogtown

March 21, 2009 Posted by | Animal Rescues, Just One More Pet, Pets, Political Change, Stop Euthenization, Success Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Great Update About Dogs Removed From Michael Vick’s Compound

Heard a great update today… It seems that all but two of the dogs removed from Michael Vick’s dog fighting compound have been rescued and placed. I just caught the tail end of coverage today as I was walking by my TV… I believe it was on Entertainment Tonight. It is a great ending to a tragic situation for all but two of theses dogs, mostly pit bulls. One has even been trained for pet therapy.

Usually in dog fighting ring situations like this, the dogs are all destroyed, but because of the media focus on this particular story, the ASPCA stepped in…. “I thought, if we see four or five dogs that we can save, I’ll be happy,” said Randy Lockwood, an animal behaviorist with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “If we had to euthanize the majority, then we could at least say we’d tried.”

Let us hope that we all learned something from this situation and that it not only will change laws and awareness but also the realization by in most cases, this dogs who are victims and have already led horrible lives can be saved. See related article below:

Saving Michael Vick’s Dogs

Pit Bulls Rescued From the Football Player’s Fighting Ring Show Progress in an Unprecedented Rehabilitation Effort

Shelter for the Scarred

When football superstar Michael Vick pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to run a dogfighting operation, we knew he had kept about 50 pit bulls on his 15-acre property in rural Surry County, Va., on a road named Moonlight. We knew the dogs were chained to car axles near wooden hovels for shelter. And we knew the dogs that didn’t fight were beaten, shot, hanged, electrocuted or drowned. For rest of this story…

August 21, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pets, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, Success Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

   

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