CNN on Vick, HSUS, and Why

by Mary Haight on August 2, 2009

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CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield interviewed HSUS‘s Wayne Pacelle on what HSUS was getting out of the Michael Vick alliance Saturday afternoon:

Pacelle: “Michael Vick came to us and he came to us precisely because we were his toughest critic. We advocated for his federal prosecution under Federal laws that we helped to draft… and we did a lot of things to help advance this case as did the Federal prosecutors.”

Whitfield: “And he knew that you all were big advocates…you were going to make an example showing ‘this is what happens when you carry out this kind of activity.”

Pacelle :”I think that his intentions are his intentions and I’m sure that he’ll be speaking out soon…our goal is to have a full court press against dogfighting….the big growth area is street fighting”[a spur of the moment pursuit].

Pacelle talked about the end dogfighting program that has people walk the streets and nab the kids away from this activity, steering them instead into agility trial training.  HSUS will use Vick in this pursuit, not as a spokesperson.  This is not a PSA-based campaign.

“If we can break the cycle of this culture…tens of thousands of kids are doing this…if some 10 or 12 year olds can be pulled away from this, he can make a difference.

“He’s not really a spokesman for us…we are not vouching for his character…we are going to give him a platform to get involved in our community-based programs…he either will or he won’t… just like some other folks who do this outreach on the street…of the churchs and boys clubs because we’ve got so many kids who are unfortunately touching this world of dog fighting…what we call street fighting as compared to professional dogfighting…

“You asked about his sincerity…he said all the right things when I met with him… but it’s only going to be his deeds that we are going to measure. It ‘s really going to be determined in the weeks ahead.”


The success of using this avenue as Vick’s attempt to reclaim a semblance of his former esteem, can be measured by one metric: authenticity. Any kid he would run into on the street will be able to immediately see if his words matched his belief. If he thinks he got a bad deal because it was “just dogs” it will come through loud and clear. Remorse is difficult to fake.

There is little point in having Vick put in face time in the neighborhoods of Chicago and Atlanta just to be surrounded by fans asking for autographs. If after walking the neighborhood, he would go to the community center and  talk about his life, what he was brought up to believe, and what it cost him and all those dogs, that might ring some bells, open some eyes.

Talking and telling is not knowing, empathizing,  understanding how painfully cruel it is putting dogs into the fighting ring, and torturing and killing the dogs who lose, some with your bare hands.  Do you think if he does this kind of community work repeatedly it will eventually change the thinking of a lifetime?

As Pacelle suggested, we should be hearing from Michael Vick soon.  Something not to be missed.

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  1. […] said in another blogpost, if authenticity is evident, the public appearances will have value for many. It’s just not […]

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