Dog fighting has been around for decades. We once may have thought of this practice as one of those faraway, unmentionable “sports” that takes place in the dark recesses of abandoned buildings with less-than-stellar characters at the helm.
But, when news broke of an American football quarterback, Michael Vick's, horrendous practice of dog fighting within the confines of his “luxury” home and property, people were not only shocked and stunned, but also extremely angry that this high-profile person would stoop to such disgraceful acts.
But perhaps more disheartening, is the petty punishment that followed this lengthy legal battle. Unfortunately, despite the outcry of enraged animal activists, Vick's punishment did not fit the crime. According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Vick was found guilty of beating, torturing, neglecting, killing and using dogs for the act of dog fighting for profit (among other charges).
For this heinous crime, Vick did some jail time (19 months), but upon his release has since been hired onto another pro football team and has also acquired another dog. I can only imagine what terrible fate may await this poor innocent creature.
What happened to the dozens of dogs that were abused and mistreated at his aptly named, Bad Newz Kennels? Some were rehabilitated and found new homes, some went on to do therapy work and the other unlucky furry souls had to be euthanized.
As sad as the situation was, at least his property-of-torture has been turned around for the greater good.
The luxurious house that once homed a diabolic man is now a place of healing with the Dogs Deserve Better Good Newz Rehab Center. This animal shelter and medical/health center is being used to help those animals in need and to give hope and health back to the many furry friends that enter through its doors.
Although, the foreboding sheds where these horrific practices once took place are still standing, they are now being used for storage or just left empty. The secluded area out back that once held chained, terrified dogs, has been stripped clean and is now covered with beautiful yellow flowers.
And the best part? Fifty-one freshly planted dogwood trees have been placed in memory and honor of those poor dogs that suffered at the hands of this criminal. Even though the restructuring of Vick's home and property, albeit a victorious step, is small in comparison to the hell these animals were put through, we as passionate animal activists still cry out in frustration.
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When will the laws regarding animal cruelty, abuse, neglect and dog fighting become more fitting to the crime? We concerned citizens are doing our best to get these criminals stiffer penalties, but the fight is slow.
If you want to help put an end to animal abuse, be vigilant when you see abuse or neglect happening. Call your local ASPCA and report the crime. Together we can put an end to the torture of innocent animals at the hands of these despicable and heartless people