May 27, 2007

Sickening stuff

Dogfighting: history and [graphic] photos.

Police informant on NFL quarterback Michael Vick:

"He's a pit bull fighter. He's one of the ones that they call 'the big boys:' that's who bets a large dollar. And they have the money to bet large money. As I'm talking about large money -- $30,000 to $40,000 -- even higher. He's one of the heavyweights."

Read more at USA Today, or see a few of the hundreds of related stories at Google News. Here's an excerpt from a terrific commentary by sportswriter Josh Moon:

In all seriousness, if the charges are true and Vick was involved in this sickening stuff, I hope he never sets foot on a football field again. In fact, I hope he never sets foot outside of a prison again.

To me, harming animals isn't much of a step down from harming humans. In some instances, it's worse. A dog is completely reliant on its owner. It's completely trusting and loyal to its owner.

To take that trust and loyalty and use it to cause that dog or another pain is one of the most twisted, despicable things imaginable to me. I have no desire to interact with someone who is so lacking of conscience that they could even condone something like that. I don't want to see that person on my TV. I don't want to know about that person making millions of dollars and living a good life.

I can't imagine I'm alone in this. And that's a huge problem for the NFL and Goodell -- one that can't be swept away with press releases and apologies. There's no apology for this.

I read an account of a "great fight" a while back. During the last "scratch" --- a dog that can't, or won't, cross the pit and tackle the other dog loses --- one of the pit bulls heard a spectator shouting his name. Blinded and near death from his injuries, the dog turned and stumbled toward the voice. The other dog had just enough strength left to move in for the kill.

One of North America's better-known dogfighters has admitted, "There isn't a [pit bull] on earth that wouldn't prefer lying on your sofa to being a champion in the square." I share my sofa with two splendid pit bulls, and you can imagine what I think of dogfighters.

"Scum" doesn't even come close.

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