Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Fallacy (and Animal Hell) of Eternal Bliss Guarantees (New York City)

(Picture Left: "Adidi" -- Lovely and loving Australian Cattle Dog mix rescued from death at the pound. Can she find her forever home today? We can make no predictions.)

While one is loath to count chickens before they hatch, if all goes well today, we might get our first inquiry-derived adoption of the summer.

When I say, "inquiry derived" I refer to those adoptions that occur as result of people calling specifically to adopt, as opposed to those who foster first and then elect to adopt a foster dog or cat.

We were fortunate over the summer to have several fosters turn into adoptions. But, as far as inquiry derived, it was a complete shutout in terms of successful adoptions that actually worked out.

At least two dogs were shortly returned from adoptions.

They failed to bring "instant bliss" to their adopters.

In one case, the family didn't even bother to call us, but simply returned the dog back to the boarding/training facility where he had been staying. They only had Leo two days, but claimed he "growled." He has never growled either with any of us in the organization or with the people handling and caring for him over the past four months. -- Go figure.

Dogs can often be nervous when suddenly going into a new environment -- especially when that environment is a busy, active home with four kids.

But, "patience and understanding" seem in short supply these days. People are accustomed to bringing home new TVs, laptops and video games and expecting them to perfectly work right away. (Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way with animals.)

People also expect rescues to magically solve any and all kinks a dog might come with. But, even when we send dogs to reputable and experienced trainers to work out any "behavioral or training issues" that doesn't mean that adopters bear no responsibility for whether an adoption works out or not. Its important that adopters LISTEN to any advice they are given when adopting and also UNDERSTAND that any animal going to a new environment is going to experience stress and will need some time to ADJUST.

One or two days is not long enough for "adjustment to change" for about 99% of all animals (and for humans for that matter.)

I quite frankly, don't know where people get this insane idea of "instant bliss."

Or, perhaps I do......

Much of it comes from media and ironically enough, even a number of so-called, animal educational shows.

The greatest offender of these is a program aired on the Animal Planet network, entitled, "From Underdog to Wonderdog."

On the program, four Pollyanna-rish Yuppies "rescue" a dog (usually with minor medical or behavioral issues) from a shelter or rescue organization. They then embark on a grand plan to entirely "make over" the dog:

The groomer grooms the dog. The Vet Tech attends to any minor medical issues. The "trainer and behaviorist" irons out any behavioral kinks and the carpenter (yes, I did say, CARPENTER) goes to the pre-selected adopters home to perform "renovations" and create a kind of doggie/human heaven.

I am not sure how the producers of this show finds their adopters. But, apparently, they find the adopters BEFORE the dog. They then seem to seek (from shelters or rescues) the right dog to FIT THE ADOPTER'S desires or demands!

Then it merely becomes a project of "making over" the dog to fit the human requirements and apparently making over the home as well (the structural home that is, not the people in it.)

Usually at the culmination of this "happy ending" show, the adopters are also given a year's supply of free dog food and other supplies as well.

From what I have seen, the human adopters have to do nothing at all, other than just show up.

Unfortunately, this seems to be what many, if not in fact, most potential adopters "expect" these days.

They expect guarantees of instant and eternal bliss. They expect rescues to take care of any and all potential medical issues, spay/neuter, behavioral "tests," grooming and most of all, to somehow program the animal to tailor "fit" their particular lifestyles and desires.

Any day now, I expect an inquiring adopter to ask when we are sending the carpenter to renovate their home and what brand of free dog food we will supply for the year.

Just last week, one person requested a "Yorkshire Terrier" from us and asked when we could send the dog to Virginia. Another woman told me she needed us to deliver the dog to her in Rochester as she is "not comfortable" driving to New York City.

Surely, the carpenter and free dog food questions cannot be far behind!

Shows like, "From Underdog to Wonderdog" (no matter how "well intentioned") do a great deal of damage to the missions and goals of true animal rescue and placement.

Other shows like "DogTown," while educational in the sense of imparting knowledge on dog behavior and training also, unfortunately, add to this perception that it is up to the shelter or rescue organization to produce and program perfect, "adoptable" dogs who will never bring a moment of stress or grief to their potential adopters or require any sacrifice on their parts.

The problem with these shows and goals is that they are, first of all, UNREALISTIC because ultimately, the success or failure of an adoption depends mostly upon the individual relationship and interactions between dog and adopters. They also depend upon the adopters' abilities to ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY.

Unfortunately, the more responsibility rescue organizations and shelters take on, the less responsibility the public is ultimately going to accept.

That is, in fact, the present day HELL for animals we are creating with all our "good intentions" and willingness to take on ALL responsibility -- including sending carpenters to adopters homes.

Even the "Millionaire Matchmaker" can't program or guarantee relationship or marital bliss for anyone. She can only attempt to steer certain people towards other people with the hope or anticipation that something meaningful may develop between them.

Quite frankly, that is all we can do in rescue, as well. -- PCA


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Emancipation of the Water (New York City)

It was surprising this year, that with all the budget cuts (often in important areas -- like animal shelters) heaped on our fine city, the Department of Parks and Recreation still managed to keep the summer lap swimming open at outdoor city pools and even held its annual Swimming Awards Pool Party.

But, perhaps there is good reason for that.

While lap swimming and awards parties might seem trivial to some, the reality is that for many people during depressive times, (free) exercise opportunity and fun events are sanity savers.

Take these things away and more people are likely to require costly treatments for depression, anxiety or addiction disorders.

What thus might seem like an unnecessary "frill" is actually a cost effective and saving measure.

Things are rarely as they appear.

I personally believe that if I didn't have the emancipation of swimming to look forward to most evenings of the summer, I would have totally flipped out.

With the lone exception of the water, this has been a summer from hell. -- Especially for the animals of New York City.

Whether the issue was rounding up and gassing hundreds of Canadian Geese living near the airports, passing a "No dogs over 30 lbs" rule in city housing projects, reinstating a convicted dog fighter and killer to the NFL or killing about 500 cats and dogs a week in our city animal shelters, it has been a truly grim couple of months to be sure.

Add to those things, the almost sheer impossibility of finding patient and understanding foster or adoptive homes for animals either facing death in shelters or languishing in no-kill facilities or boarding kennels and yes, it was all a kind of "hell."

But, through it all, there was the welcoming of the cool, embracing waters each night, the challenge of racking up laps and watching them turn into miles and the daily sightings of ducks and geese peacefully gliding across the north pond in Central Park located near Lasker Pool.

That is what in fact, "kept it together" for me personally over the summer -- those things and my two dogs and the cats in my home.

The annual Awards Pool Party was held this past Wednesday night and I attended with two of my rescue colleagues (and friends), Carrie and Firouzeh. It was quite wonderful for a couple of hours to be in an environment where seemingly, all was right and "normal" in the world. Good friends, up people, tasty food, beverages, music, a relay race among the teams representing the pools around the city (I was on the team representing Lasker. We didn't win, but came in a respectable fourth or fifth.) and finally, the awards themselves, as represented by trophies and tee-shirts.

I won both a tee-shirt and a trophy. While wonderful for the symbolism, achievement and memory they represent, they are not what matter ultimately. What matters is the joy in getting to this event in the first place. What matters is the journey. What matters is the support and cheer from truly loyal and wonderful friends.

I wouldn't have missed the pool party for anything.

And, judging by the hundreds of new people who signed up for lap swimming this season at Lasker pool alone (probably many of whom were forced to cancel expensive gym memberships) its obvious that the lap swimming sessions served an important purpose for many more people than just myself.

Or, perhaps all of this is best said in a sonnet that was printed in back of the program brochures we received at the party:

The pool is long and blue and cool.

I dive into the soothing depth, the wet.

I cut the water, arms a knife, a curving slice,
a turn, another lap, a breath, a pull and earth below is not allowed to hold my body down

And I am flying free of ground, my cells expand, my spirit grows and melts into the chlorine blue.

I feel the stretch of spine and soul, I reach to touch some goal, its just beyond my fingertips at last, another lap, if I could just not need to slow, I gasp and kick.

Against the heavy claim of land-locked life, so hard, so harsh, so shallow, short and dry.

(posted by sbpoet)

So true, all of the words -- especially those in the last two lines.

But, for the emancipation of the water, where would be I?

But, for the life-sustaining quenching, caressing and nourishment qualities of the water, where would be any of us? - PCA

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Waiting Out the Storms (Reply) - New York City

Betty writes: I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Reply: Thank you so much for your supportive comment, though I must apologize for in fact, neglecting this blog of late.

I guess one could say, I am, for the moment, "waiting out the storm."

It is, in fact comparable to something I experienced last night:

The weather forecast last night in NYC was for spotty thunderstorms and rain showers.

Nevertheless, determined, if possible to get some lap swimming in, I headed to the outdoor public pool located at the north end of Central Park.

Only about a dozen people or so showed up for the evening lap swim session due to the foreboding weather. The dark skies overhead were threatening, but when the session began at 7PM, there was no rain. We all hoped it would remain that way.

But, it was not to be.

After jumping in the pool and swimming 6 laps, the lifeguards suddenly blew the whistle as there were bolts of lightening in the skies. All swimmers immediately had to exit the water.

A few minutes later, the rain started to come down and presuming that the session would be canceled, most swimmers left the pool to return home.

But, the official rule of outdoor public pools is that whenever there is lightening, all swimmers have to leave the water for at least 45 minutes, but the facility remains open. If the weather clears and there is no further lightening, swimmers can return to the water.

The skies were dark and the rain came down consistently for about 45 minutes. But, there was no further lightening.

I was considering "giving up" and going home as most other swimmers had done, but then I noticed a small break in the skies and even the peek-a-boo of a setting sun!

Could it be? Was there hope of the rain finally ceasing and the weather clearing?

It indeed seemed there was!

Sure enough, the rain stopped, the skies suddenly seemed to clear and once again the lifeguard took the chair and signaled it was OK for (all three of) us to go back in the water!

It was a few minutes after 8PM and there was only a half hour left of the swim session.

But, what an incredible half hour it was!

How fantastic is it to have a huge, 60 meter pool practically to one's self under a soft, moonlit sky?

It's sheer heaven!!

When the whistle finally sounded for the end of the session, I had swum almost a mile. But the joy was not so much in actual laps swum, but in the fact, we were able to swim at all!

What just a half hour before seemed it could not happen due to storms, lightening, dark angry clouds and rain pouring down, actually did!

One just needed to wait it out........

Well, this summer has been like one long and seemingly hopeless thunderstorm for the animals.

Dark skies and rain coming down relentlessly in the forms of horrifying and seemingly endless "Euth lists" from our city shelters and almost a total absence of adopters (or "sun").

More than once over this summer have I considered just "giving up" on this "hopeless cause" and accepting what appears to be the grim daily machine of animal abandonment and killing, as well as all the lies and "spin" that keep this well oiled machine mostly hidden from the public.

But, last night's storm and swim experience gives one pause for thought.

After all, if one could "wait out the storm" to later experience a clearing sky, beautiful blazing, red sun and cool embracing waters, why not wait out the dark storms of callous animal treatment, abandonment and killing cloaked in obfuscation, secrecy and cotton candy fluff?

Hopefully, "this too, shall pass."

There will be a new Director coming soon to the AC&C (or, really an old one returning.)

This is not yet cause for celebration. It doesn't mean the rain has stopped or the skies have cleared.

But, there is perhaps that first crack in the blackened skies to show there might be some sun not far behind.

That only the skies would open up to expose and finally release all the toxic secrets, lies and "spin."

"Let the sunshine in!"

But, for the moment, to simply wait out the storms.......PCA


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Cruel Joke -- On Us (New York City)

"We have an 8-year-old cat who we need to put up for adoption because we're relocating."

The call came in the other day, ironically, mere moments after I had just been discussing this type of situation with another woman working in a shelter.

"You know, Ma'am, I just got off a call with a colleague and we were discussing the dilemma of those people who move and look for shelters or rescues to dump their pets. When did it become acceptable in our culture to move and not take our animals with us?"

The woman was clearly insulted and indignant with my use of the term, "dump."

"You don't understand! We're not looking to DUMP our cat! We are seeking a loving home for her!"

"I apologize, Ma'am, but regardless of what term we use....'Put up for adoption, surrender or dump,' the reality is that 'moving' is the number one reason pets die in shelters. We just don't have the all the 'loving homes' to send these animals to."

This is a call that did not obviously go well.

After it ended, I asked myself if I could have been a little more empathetic to the woman or, at the very least, offered her some suggestion or remedy?

Well, not really.

I don't believe in trying to "dump" these calls on other rescues or no kill shelters who I know are in the same boat I am in.

Nor, do I believe in trying to sugarcoat the realities to people.

Could I have been a bit more "sensitive" or "diplomatic?"


But, the reality IS, that "moving" is indeed, the #1 reason why abandoned pets die in shelters.

How does one in fact, "sugarcoat" that FACT?

Moreover, why should we?

Last week, I was reminiscing with a good friend about how, "when we grew up" shelters were primarily places one went to look for a lost pet. They were not perceived as dumping grounds for animals when our families might move.

When did cultural attitudes change on this?

Now, admittedly things can appear much rosier in retrospect than they actually were.

Nor, were we, as children or teens fully aware of actual shelter realities during the 50's or 60's when we grew up.

Truthfully, millions more cats and dogs were killed in shelters during these periods because, primarily, we didn't have spay/neuter in the "good old days." The sheer overpopulation of cats, dogs and strays caused our shelters to be little better than slaughterhouses for pets.

But, did people routinely (yes, I am going to use the term) "dump" their pets in pounds for things like "moving" and "no time for?"

I don't recall anyone doing that who I knew. Rather, I recall my own family and the people in my neighborhood keeping their animals for life.

City shelters were perceived as yes, places to seek out a lost pet or institutions that took in strays. --- Nothing more.

But, modern animal shelters are seemingly perceived as a great deal more. They are places that "hold" the animals (at least for a while) of the arrested, the ill, the evicted, the cruel or the deceased.

They are places that "evaluate" and "Behavior Test" animals and are expected to offer accurate "predictions" and guarantees on how any animal will behave in any situation (Not, in fact, possible.)

They are places that now fully vaccinate and neuter animals (because we can't trust the public to do these things) and are expected to give guarantees for eternal bliss, health and long life spans for adopted pets. (This despite the fact most people don't keep pets for the natural lives of the animals. )

I recall the first time I adopted a dog from the city pound. The shelter told me nothing, did almost nothing with the animal and guaranteed nothing. "If it doesn't work out, bring the dog back" was all I was told. -- I had Sheppie for the next 16 years.

Yet, despite all the new and greater responsibilities of shelters (and rescues), about 6 million pets still continue to be killed in shelters each year. This despite spay/neuter availability, advances in veterinary medicine and greater understanding of animal behavior and training.

What's gone wrong?

Could it be that in accepting and taking on so much responsibility for animals, we have, in essence, relieved the public of seemingly any and all responsibility for its pets?

Could it be that in trying to make or keep everyone "happy" or even giving fully vetted animals away for "free," we have created a situation in which little true happiness is found? -- or at least that happiness and fulfillment that occurs when people truly love, sacrifice for and commit to something in life -- including their pets?

Last night I was speaking with a colleague in cat rescue who related a story to me.

"I got my first cat adoption inquiry in months today!" Christina said.

"Congratulations!" I said sincerely. "I can't even remember our last cat adoption offer!"

"Well, the congratulations is premature, " Christina added. "I rescued the cat last year. He's a wonderful cat who has only one eye. The woman insisted that she should not have to pay any adoption fee for what she referred to as a 'deformed' animal. Can you imagine that? It was like she was seeking 'damaged goods' marked down in a bargain basement!"

"Oh my God," was all I could answer to that. "That's like some sort of cruel joke."

The question is: Is this "cruel joke" now played on us, something that we in fact created the day we said to the public that it no longer had to feel any responsibility for pets -- including taking their animals with them when people "move?" ---PCA

Friday, August 7, 2009

Emerald City it is Not (New York City)

Not only is the ASPCA consistently raking in millions of dollars from across the country, but it also has an abundance of volunteers.
Considering that many dogs are busting bladders at our Animal Care and Control shelters (often coming down with Urinary Tract Infections as result) or sitting in dirty cages while the few volunteers scramble to walk and clean out cages, is too, a disgrace. (There is shortage of salaried Kennel Staff to walk or deal properly and humanely with the number of animals arriving at AC&C shelters.)

Yesterday, I spoke with a very knowledgeable woman who works at another shelter. She too, expressed dismay that considering all the monies of the ASPCA (and NSAL) there is not sufficient spay/neuter van to cover the entire city. If we make spay/neuter services easy, affordable and convenient for people, more pet owners WOULD neuter their pets (or the stray cats in their yards). Considering that 80% or more of the animals coming into the city shelters are NOT fixed, obviously, this is a huge, unaddressed problem.
Until it is properly addressed, forget all the crap about NYC EVER going "no kill."

It is no small irony that we have a beautiful, state of the art "no kill" (ASPCA) shelter on East 92nd Street where cats lounge leisurely in kitty condos and dogs are walked 4 or 5 times a day and a windowless, converted warehouse on 110th Street where water pours down the sides of the building, sunlight or fresh air never enters its confines and thousands of animals become sick, "euthanized" and dismissed, due to the depressing, stressful and unhealthy conditions.

As noted, this building was never constructed as an animal shelter in the first place.

The ASPCA signed off on it years ago, (and thus, seemingly "sold out" the animals) because 110th Street in Harlem was MEANT to be the place where animals quietly go to die.

Almost 20 years later the AC&C is STILL the place where most animals go to die and the building itself is still the warehouse that a thousand "renovations" can never a shelter make.

"Put lipstick on a pig, it is still a pig."

But, in the case of AC&C, the city and powers that be are not even trying to put "lipstick" on it.

The so-called "Adoption Wards" are a garage with cages in it.

And matters will only get worse once they go back to doing still more "renovations" on the first floor!

Am I the only one seeing the injustice, deception, irony, cruelty, waste of taxpayer money and most of all, misrepresentation to the public of all this?

Its seemingly like the "Wizard of Oz."

A beautiful ("no kill") Emerald City (as represented by the ASPCA). And a mighty wizard who grants all things and wishes to all people (all the false promises of perfect animals and eternal bliss). But, behind the curtain is a weathered, tiny little man with no power at all.

In the late 90's we were promised by the powers that be, "new shelters" in the boroughs of the Bronx and Queens.

That did not occur. (We, however did build two new baseball stadiums!)

We don't even have a real and whole, All Admittance animal shelter in Manhattan. (In its present form, the Manhattan AC&C is HALF a functioning building that is operating under the guise of "animal shelter.")

That needs to change.

You see, the "power" is within all of us to do what we have to in order to demand and create the real changes and the real shelters that the animals and the people of NYC need and deserve

"Emerald City" we are not. -- PCA

Thursday, August 6, 2009

"Buddy, Can You Spare Some Leashes?" (Reply) New York City

Abagale has left a new comment on your post "Messengers of Bad News":
I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Reply: Thank you for your supportive comment and for caring about animals.

Some regular readers might wonder why I have not been writing lately about the shelter situation in NYC or recent rescues.

Contrary to what might be presumed, there is, in fact, much going on, but most of it is under the radar screen and cannot be written of at this point.

City shelter Intake numbers, as well as Euthanasia stats, unfortunately rise dramatically during the summer months. That is especially true for cats and kittens this time of year and tragically, is to be expected.

What is not to be expected however, is the "sanitizing" (denial) way our city shelter officials (or PR people) apparently have chosen to respond to and deal with the problem.

In recent weeks disturbing and misleading press statements have come to light which give many of us familiar with shelter realities pause for great concern.

Without going into details, suffice it to say it is not unlike the "marshmallow fluff" way Michael Vick was dressed up, "handled" and his words carefully scripted in order to look and sound good to the public.

Situations like these cause one to wonder if our country isn't in fact mostly being run by PR Agents and "handlers" these days rather than competent, responsible people capable of dealing with and communicating tough realities?

Its no small wonder that so many millions of Americans are on medications these days for "depression."

We don't know who and what to trust or believe anymore.

Yesterday, I was at the Manhattan shelter with Carrie, one of our foster volunteers to pick up a sweet, Shepherd mix dog named "Adidi" (Pictured above)for rescue.

While there, we noticed water pouring down from the sides of the two-story building as if construction or repair workers might be installing a swimming pool on the second floor of the Manhattan animal shelter!

For more than one year now, the entire second floor of the Manhattan "shelter" has been closed for so-called "renovations." ("Renovations" have been occuring on this building since the day it opened in the early 90's.)

Two spanking new Manhattan high rises on the Upper East Side have been built in less time than that.

I put "shelter" in quotes because the fact is that the building located at 326 East 110th street in Manhattan was never built as an animal shelter in the first place!

It was some kind of windowless warehouse before being purchased by the city in the early 1990's to serve as an "animal shelter" when the ASPCA got out of its Animal Control contract with the city of New York.

It seems, killing tens of thousands of pets a year wasn't good for the ASPCA's "PR image."

For sure, the decision to get out of Animal Control was indeed fruitful for the ASPCA's "image" as it has gone on to raise hundreds of millions of dollars, while not having to worry over picking up the city's grungy strays (although the ASPCA likes to use these animals in tear-jerking commercials in order to raise even more money!)

Let's hear it for great PR firms!

It is a fantastically strange twist of irony that the organization that does not officially deal with "strays" (ASPCA) raises millions of dollars off the misery of these animals while the shelter (AC&C) whose official duty IS to take in strays seems to deny the very existence of these animals!

"Intake is down!" "Euthanasia is down!" (though not true for cats). "....not euthanizing healthy animals for space!" (The latter statement represents not only "spinning" of the truth but downright mangling of it.)

The gut wrenching pictures (of downtrodden strays) are thus presented by the state of the art organization with its fancy buildings, millions of dollars in assets and slick PR firms, while the marshmallow, "Disneyworld" fluff is presented by the City shelter system with its run down, disease-producing, decrepit buildings and hundreds of "strays" and dumped pets in its shelters any day of the year.

Last week, the city Animal Control shelters were scrounging around for dog leashes. This, while millions of donation dollars continue to pour into the large, lucrative, well heeled organizations such as represented by the ASPCA and North Shore Animal League.

Dare Animal Control to ask the wealthy shelters to "spare some leashes?"

Or, perhaps some buckets to collect the raging waters pouring down the sides of of the 110 th Street "swimming pool?"

Or, to borrow singer, Sarah McGlaukin to sing the true woes and miseries of those thousands of animals entering -- and dying in our city Animal Control shelters.


Monday, August 3, 2009

A Message of Perpetual Despair -- Reply

In a message dated 8/2/2009 3:05:22 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, Laurie writes:
The words chosen by countless bloggers and editors are shameful attempts to manipulate the debate, and this technique would never be tolerated unless the victims themselves were seen as inconsequential.

Reply: You bring up an excellent point. That is, that the technique would not be tolerated were it not for the victims being viewed as inconsequential.

Who, after all cares about Pitbulls?

Vick expressed regret for letting people down.

Corporate sponsors will find other athletes to endorse. No harm to them, other than possible, momentary embarrassment.

The Atlantic Falcons have already found another Quarterback.

The real victims of Vick's sick aberrations were, of course the dogs, untold numbers of whom died or were deliberately killed and others who were saved, but at tremendous costs -- especially to other dogs.

But, there are other victims, as well.

And no, the editors and sportswriters don't like to talk of these things.

In picking up the banner to defend someone, it is important to not only sanitize the bad deeds (as noted) but seek excuse for them, as well.

Such as:

"He had a rough childhood or grew up in a tough neighborhood." "He watched a movie or video that made him do strange things." He had a few drinks." "He ate a Twinkie."

In Vick's case, its the "rough childhood, tough neighborhood" that seems to serve as the main excuse. (We're not sure if he ate Twinkies or not.)

But, the bottom line is that it is perhaps the kids from tough neighborhoods, who, (almost as much as the dogs that Vick and cohorts tortured and killed) are also, real victims here.

What Vick's defenders seem to be really saying is that, "You can take the kid out of the tough neighborhood, but you can't take the tough neighborhood out of the kid."

Or, "Once a victim, always a victim."

In other words, if growing up in a ditch, so to speak, there is no real hope one can ever really rise out of it and lift him or herself up -- even if later finding fame and fortune.

But, as said yesterday, it is Vick himself who chose to throw himself back in the ditch.

And even after almost two years in jail and loss of millions of dollars in corporate sponsorships, Vick still cannot seemingly admit to the barbarity, violence and wrongness of his actions against other living beings.

What does that say to the countless young boys (particularly those from impoverished backgrounds) who might look up to Vick as a sports star or one to emulate?

He may put on a slick suit, read words off a Teleprompter or even don a football uniform again.

But, he is still Michael Vick from the impoverished, "dog fighting" ghetto (where he grew up) who has apparently, never really left it.

The kids, thus have nothing genuine and inspirational to look up to. They become "victims" almost as much as the dogs.

The message of perpetual despair is, "
You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave." -- PCA


Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Sanitization of Michael Vick (Reply)

In a message dated 8/1/2009 4:50:48 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, xxxxxxx writes:

Recently, someone posted on the list that Michael Vick was sorry for what he had done.I have never heard him apologize for what he did to those poor dogs.I have read statements where he apologized for letting people down.He said what he did was "immature".Does anyone know of any statements he made expressing remorse for the sadistic way he treated the animals?

Reply: I have read and seen the same things you have. And yes, you are correct to observe that no where in his communications does Vick even mention dogs, let alone the egregious crimes he and his cohorts committed against these gentle and human-loving animals.

What seems to be happening is what some might call, "The Sanitization of Michael Vick."

Totally orchestrated by lawyers, handlers and perhaps one or two people from HSUS, Vick's words are carefully measured and calculated to present a man "sorry" for unknown and unmentioned "mistakes" and one who can make the housewives of Marin County and elsewhere "feel good."

That some in this movement and even on this list *buy* this slick public relations ploy (admittedly at its very best) is disturbing.

Referring to Michael Vick's crimes as "mistakes" is like referring to the acts of rapists and pedophiles as "mistakes."

Recruiting Michael Vick to be any kind of "spokesperson" against the abuse of pitbulls is like recruiting OJ Simpson to be a spokesperson against spousal abuse.

Vick has had more than two years to reflect upon and speak (or write) about his crimes.

But, so far all we see is a sanitized and PR created version of his former self.

The blood of uncounted animals has been carefully and meticulously washed off of Vick's hands. The mention of forcing dogs to fight or the beating to death or hanging of dogs has been stricken from all communications.

But, make no mistake.

Just as there are chemicals that detect blood even when carefully washed off of walls following murder scenes, the blood is still on Vick's hands as the stain of non-remorse seems still to be in his heart.

Show me the book Vick has written decrying his former acts of violence and the viciousness of dog fighting or show me the videos of Vick talking to young people in the ghettos about his crimes and perhaps I will change my tune.

But, for now we need to see through all the PR slop and attempts to sanitize Michael Vick for the sake of self-aggrandizement and money-making and do whatever we can to see to it that this "fallen from grace sports hero" remains in the dirt and muck where he put himself and where he still belongs despite the polished suits and "cleaned up" hands. --PCA