Matt's Blog: Why We Can't Forget Michael Vick's Dog Fighting Past

Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 4:45pm
Dog fighting victim

ASPCA President & CEO Matthew Bershadker responds in a NY Post op-ed to the Jets’ signing of Michael Vick.  

On Friday, the New York Jets signed Michael Vick to a one-year contract worth $5 million. His return on that investment is unknown, and frankly I don’t care.

Vick is free to do as he pleases both on the football field and off. But one thing he can’t do is absolve himself of his direct participation in horrific and fatal animal torture and abuse. And whether he takes our home team to the Super Bowl or spends the season riding the pine, we’re not obligated to forgive, and it’s essential we don’t forget.

History bears repeating: The Michael Vick investigation began in April 2007 with a search of Bad Newz Kennels, located on Vick’s Virginia property. We at the ASPCA were involved early on, assisting in the recovery and analysis of forensic evidence from Vick’s property, including carcasses and skeletal remains of numerous dogs.

The ASPCA also led a team of certified applied animal behaviorists in behavior evaluations of the rescued dogs, making recommendations to the USDA and US Attorney's Office regarding the dispositions of the dogs.

It became clear over the course of the investigation that this was not a crime of passion or a case of obliviousness. Michael Vick was fully involved in a six-year pattern of illegal activity that included dogs being savagely electrocuted, drowned, and beaten to death.

We fully acknowledge Vick has "done his time" and even participated in some public outreach, but that does not erase the crime.

Read Matt’s full statement in the New York Post.

Dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Please help us stop this barbaric form of cruelty.

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Michael Vick actively supported the sadistic torture and murder of helpless animals. The dogs were body slammed into concrete, electrocuted, drowned, hung from wires, starved, beaten, mutilated and maimed, used as bait, etc. Michael Vick read phoney apologies that were written for him by his well-paid lawyers. He should have been banned for life from football. The dim-witted football guys say that he did his time, so forgive and forget. I can't and I won't. Michael Vick is a monster.


I fully agree. You mentioned some things I wasn't even aware of. What a shame that so many animals had to suffer because of his selfishness and cruelty. Although he may have served his fucking time, he still doesn't get a pass from me. In my mind I will always associate him with being an abuser of dogs. All dogs have a special place in my heart. It's really hard to understand how anyone could hurt such loyal and loving animals. Michael Vick should definitely NOT be allowed to be in the same room with another dog not to mention owning one!!!!


I believe that the legal time in which he was not allowed to own a dog has elapsed and he now does have a dog, a pet he bought for his children. It makes my skin crawl. The law has lots of loopholes and he has climbed right through them.


Give it a rest. As a dog lover, I was appalled by the evidence that M Vick had against him. It was wrong on every level. But, now that he has done his time, paid society for his sins-forgive him. His ultimate judgement will come-as it will for all of us-in time.
BTW: This is SO NOT ABOUT footlball, I love the game, but could care less if HE EVER played again.

Have you never done ANYTHING REALLY bad? I will bet you have. :-) And I am forgiving you.


Yes, we've all done "bad things," but I doubt that they were on the same level as the torture and killing of helpless animals. Your logic is flawed and simplistic. Not all transgressions are the same or merit the same punishments and considerations. His judgement comes right now from his fellow human beings. It is called scorn.


Well said!


Well said!


Michael Vick does NOT get a pass. He's a vicious animal abuser who used these helpless animals to make money. What I'm concerned about, and no one has mentioned, is that he has actually been given a "pass" to own another dog. What's up with that? Doesn't anyone else find that outrageous? And who's watching him now to make sure he does not abuse that dog? And who's watching him to make sure he doesn't go back into the dog fighting business, albiet through a friend or associate? This guy is unscrupulous and dangerous.


I don't really follow any sports but I think it bears mentioning that to this day the NFL maintains a non-profit status, which means that while they rake in millions of dollars each year in profits, they pay $0 taxes. The fact that they turned a blind eye to the whole Michael Vick incident and then welcomed him back shows their true colors which are primarily red and green (blood and money).


Thank you for this article. He may have done time but I couldn't care less. People like this don't belong anywhere, let alone getting $5 million to play a game.