And what of those who still feel outrage that the Philadelphia Eagles signed the player named Vick? They aren’t exactly shutting up and going away. In fact, they are urging fellow dog lovers to boycott — not just the Eagles, but the products and services of the team’s high-profile corporate partners (founding partners include Budweiser, Pepsi, and Verizon). Yet more Facebook groups have sprouted: Dog Owners Against Philadelphia Eagles, My Dog Hates Michael Vick, Mike Vick Hates Your Dog.
The Humane Society of the United States has high hopes that Vick will be an effective spokesperson against animal cruelty, and the 60 Minutes segment revealed Vick advising school kids to “love your animals.” However, the board of the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the largest animal-welfare organization in the City of Brotherly Love, wants nothing to do with Vick and refuses to work with him.
“I personally believe that redemption is possible,” Kohl says. “I’ve seen it as a psychologist and I saw it when I worked for the Wiesenthal Center in the case of a neo-Nazi, on a mission of hate, who went through a gradual transformation that ended in true redemption. It was a long and painful process for him to confront the issues in an in-depth way. This, in contrast,” she adds, referring to Vick’s televised profession of remorse, “is a farce. … Abusers weep for themselves, not for their victims. Unless they undergo intensive therapy and experience a major catharsis that pertains very specifically to the acts they committed — which means confronting the torture head-on, and that which preceded it earlier in their life — there’s no genuine growth or insight; only the masquerade of being rehabbed. They are rehabbed on the surface, but deep down inside the sickness remains. There’s no shortcut to redemption after being a torturer. And Vick hasn’t even begun the process.”
More important, Kohl adds: “Unless Vick turns over all the names and locations of other dog fighters to the Feds — and you bet he knows plenty — he hasn’t paid his debt to society. Unless he’s willing to participate in the arrest of those who are still torturing dogs in the fight ring, this business is far from over and will haunt him, as well as taint those who have helped rehabilitate his image for personal greed, corporate greed, or as a means to raise funds for their charity.”
In the end, nothing will bring back the dogs that were cruelly killed by the newest Eagle and his former cohorts. But that doesn’t mean those animals should be forgotten, either. Next month, Philadelphia’s non-profit Main Line Animal Rescue will unveil a very public memorial for those voiceless Vick-tims; the group plans to put this message on a billboard not far from Eagles stadium:
How great that Michael Vick is once again able to throw a ball. Too bad his dogs aren’t alive to catch it.