Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Most Unusual BFF? - Meet New Dog Owner Michael Vick and Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States

Not sure if readers know about it, but there is an unlikely friendship developed between Michael Vick and Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.  Yep, that Michael Vick, the quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles who spent time in federal prison for dog fighting. 

Characterizing what Vick did as "dog fighting" vastly understates his reprehensible conduct.  As part of his plea, he admitted not only to running an extensive dog fighting operation, but that he personally engaged in the hanging and drowning of underperforming dogs.  Others involved in the operation say that Vick's torture of the animals went even further.

Pacelle and Vick at a 2010 press conference announcing
the partnership between HSUS and Vick
That didn't stop Pacelle from declaring at a 2010 joint press conference with Vick:
I have been around him a lot, and feel confident that he would do a good job as a pet owner."
Well this fall, Pacelle's wish for his buddy came true.  On October 19, 2012, Douglas Anthony Cooper of the Huffington Post blogged:
Animal lovers across America have been all but crippled with loathing this week. The rage has been boiling over everywhere I turn on the Internet: in chat rooms, on Facebook, on bulletin boards.
You would have to have something deeply wrong with you not to be thoroughly disgusted at the prospect of Michael Vick taking in a pet dog. Decent people feel that this man -- who did not merely run a dogfighting ring, but personally hanged dogs, drowned them and beat them to death -- should be prevented from getting anywhere near an innocent creature. If I had my way, I'd keep him away from human beings.   
And yet, thanks to the diplomatic intervention of Wayne Pacelle, the slick and coiffed CEO of the HSUS (that would be the Humane Society of the United States), Michael Vick has been rehabilitated. In name, anyway: he's gone from being a man who tortures animals to a man who helps this saintly organization keep them safe. The HSUS is decent, you see, and they have spread their umbrella of decency over Michael Vick. 
And now Michael has a puppy to call his own.
I do not mean to suggest that there is something deeply wrong with Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the HSUS. The man who, for a mere six figures per year, runs the most powerful lobby in America devoted to ending animal cruelty. He did not, after all, procure a puppy for Vick. He simply explained that Michael "would make a good pet owner and thus should be given the opportunity." ... 
One of Michael Vick's dogs held at
his dog fighting kennel.
I can't imagine that Wayne Pacelle, deep down, had fond sentiments towards Michael Vick when he sat down with the felon to negotiate the man's rehabilitation. I am sure that hyper-civilized Wayne simply managed to quell his very real disgust. Somehow.
He did it well, too. It sure wasn't evident when our Wayne sat, sympathetically, inches away from the most famous animal abuser of our day. Most people, who are paid far less to protect animals -- who do it out of, you know, the goodness of their hearts and all -- wouldn't set foot in the same room as this sadist, who buried dogs alive. But Wayne Pacelle, the deep soul burdened with the personal responsibility for America's abused animals, sat shoulder to shoulder with this celebrity, and didn't even flinch.
It is in fact Wayne's personal responsibility. When your salary to protect animals from abuse is among the highest in the nation, then yes, it is your responsibility to care about them. Wayne Pacelle bags approximately $250,000 a year to care. Hence we should expect him to. And yet -- despite his very real, heavily-funded caring -- he has no problem taking up the cause of Michael Vick. 
I do not mean to imply any ulterior motive. As Wayne Pacelle points out in that touching document -- "Michael Vick and The HSUS's work to end dogfighting" -- no money is changing hands. Nor is it. $50,000 is not money, per se. It is a "grant."
Also, it's possible that mere animal lovers, not burdened by Pacelle's wisdom, caring and salary, don't see as profoundly into the heart of a man like Michael Vick. Wayne Pacelle -- something of a celebrity himself -- sees a fellow traveler. Even a fellow -- yes -- animal lover.
Michael in fact expressed this to Wayne: "Look, I love dogs."    
And Wayne understood: "You know, just going back to this issue of Michael telling me in -- you know, when we first met that he loved animals, obviously people who are involved in dogfighting, cockfighting, they really do value the animals in certain ways."
Absolutely. They do, Wayne. Your new friend Michael has characterized this as a "different kind of love." Which it is. The kind of love that causes you to maim, drown and torture your loved one to death.   
It's so good to know that the man entrusted with a $131-million budget to defend the nation's animals has the liberality of soul to comprehend this different way of loving. 
To see the rest of the article, click here.

Other animal welfare organizations are outraged by the Vick-Pacelle bromance.
"Just as convicted pedophiles aren’t allowed free access to children, anyone who is responsible for hanging, electrocuting, or shooting dogs and who causes them to suffer in other unimaginable ways should never again be allowed access to dogs," Lisa Lange, vice president of the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, told the AJC. "All things considered, it is a very small price to pay, especially compared to the suffering endured by the dogs who were abused and killed in the Bad Newz Kennels."
I should emphasize that local humane societies are independent of HSUS.  Nonetheless, I can't help but note a certain amount of irony that some local humane societies will often insist on thorough background checks of pet owners, checks that often reach the kooky level, before deeming an potential pet owner worthy of adopting an animal.  Stories abound of prospective pet owners being turned down by their local humane society for adoption, often for dubious reasons.  One wonders whether Vick would have passed a background check if he went to a local humane shelter.   No word on where Vick obtained his new dog.


BohemianBlogger said...

Ogden - that dog image is NOT one of Vicks dogs. A few years ago I did research on that dog and found it... through the trails of the images and the links, and found that dog was a dog fight dog but not one of Vicks... someone just linked those images together... there are actually a ton of photos of that dog after having rehabbed... it has since died. I cannot remember her name but - that shows the power of the internet. Please do better research.

BohemianBlogger said...

PS - I found the website about that dog. Her name was Gypsy.
You have to scroll half way down the page to find out her story - there is a link to her animal abuse case. The dog was found in North Carolina. That dog was found in 2005. While I suppose someone could have traveled up to Virginia for a dog fight with the dog and dumped it on the way back.. but they would have had to drive from VA to NC with a bloody and dying dog... that simply does not seem plausible.

Unknown said...

One additional non-hair comment: my pet peeve is people not recognising that some of us use British & not American English; for us it is regime, not regimen. I tend to ignore the differences until someone tries to tell me that my use of English is wrong.
Bulldog Puppies

Unknown said...

Fortunately, because I've known for years that my dog has food allergies, his palette has not been given the chance to become snobby as he is on a very limited diet and always has been. He thinks a raw carrot or frozen green bean are among the greatest treats in the world. If my dog refuses to eat a new kibble, I know I can add things like chopped carrots (allergy tested and approved) to get him to eat it.

Unknown said...

My pup has been going to Happy Dogs for about six months now, 5 days a week, and I've boarded him occasionally there, too. I don't know what I would do without them! female dog names