This week, Michael Vick, the struggling star quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, admitted that he owns a dog. The revelation comes three years after Vick emerged from a 19-month prison stint for participating in a dog-fighting ring. Vick's disclosure was accidental: He tweeted a photo of his daughter doing homework that included a box of Milk Bones on the table. Vick quickly took down the photo and reposted it with the Milk Bones digitally erased, but the jig was up. In a statement, Vick said that owning a dog was "an opportunity to break the cycle" of violence, and that his pet "is well cared for and loved as a member of our family." However, the fact that a former dog abuser is now responsible for another dog's life was bound to send shivers down the spines of many dog lovers. Is he to be commended for becoming a dog owner again?
No. Vick shouldn't be anywhere near a dog: "You don't have to be a Michael Vick hater to hate the idea of him owning a dog," says Greg Couch at Fox Sports. "That is just scary. And sickening." Remember, Vick was indicted for hanging, drowning, and slamming dogs to the ground. Vick even electrocuted some of his dogs. "He should be able to go on to a normal life, with his daughter studying at the table while he works. But he also should not own a dog."
"Vick owning dog again scary, sick"
Yes. Vick should be given another chance: "'Considering Vick has rehabbed, repented, and done everything to redeem himself, it shouldn't be a big deal," says David Whitley at Aol. Vick was raised to see dogs "as a cash crop," part of a dog-fighting culture that "warps the mind." Now he'll learn that "dogs aren't just soulless fighting robots" — "they can really be a man's best friend."
"Michael Vick, pet owner? Yes, there is a dog"
Owning a dog may be the best punishment: Once Vick "sees the devotion and loyalty of the family pet," his "conscience may torture him for what he did to other dogs," says Stu Bykofsky at The Philadelphia Daily News. "That would be good for his soul." When his children are older, they'll "see their father and see their dog and ask him how he could have ever harmed such a wonderful animal." And that conversation will "be painful for him" — in a way that could produce true contrition.
"Vick's new dog's in no danger, it's good for his kids — and it might make him squirm"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The 11 worst fast food restaurants in America
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why are so many parents being arrested?
- 9 things you probably didn't know about the moon
- The biggest lesson Obama failed to learn from Bush
- Israel has only two choices: Eliminate the Palestinians or make peace
- Why America is duty bound to help Iraqi Christians
- What I learned from totally unplugging and shutting up for three days
- The rise of the global middle class is our best hope to stop climate change
Subscribe to the Week