I Want to bite Mike Vick!
Here's my mom's article from Dog Living Magazine (on stands now) where she really gets mad at Mike Vick for torturing dogs.
Fighting the dog fighters
By Carole Raphaelle Davis
Mike Vick and his thug friends are in a bloody mess. Sick Vick has admitted his guilt to the Feds and will now face state charges as well. Sadly, football fans will have inadvertently paid Vick to perform atrocities on dogs. Because Vick participated in the fighting, bludgeoning, hanging, drowning, shooting, slamming to the ground, and electrocuting of dogs, it would mean that every ticket sold to an Atlanta Falcons game helped finance a despicable business, Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels, where dogs were raped, bred, tortured and murdered. It means that every kid who looked up to Mike Vick as a hero and bought a shirt with Vick’s name on it will toss that shirt in the garbage and wonder why a guy with a hundred and thirty million dollar contract would be depraved enough to want to make even more money off of dogs suffering a slow and agonizing death.
Under pressure from outraged animal rights activists around the world, the Atlanta Falcons management and the NFL have forced Vick off the field this season and maybe forever. Nike, the athletic apparel giant, has suspended the release of the Mike Vick shoe. There’s nowhere to run other than in a prison yard in that shoe.
Long before this story saturated the media, Chris DeRose was hard at work trying to put a stop to the barbarity of dog fighting. He is the founder and president of Last Chance for Animals (www.LCAnimal.org), a national, non profit animal rights organization based in Los Angeles. DeRose, a Hollywood actor and ex New Jersey cop, is known as the Ghandi or Martin Luther King of the animal welfare movement because of his mission to abolish cruelty to animals through non violent, direct action. His accomplishments in exposing and prosecuting cruelty to animals have won him the respect of law enforcement, legislators and animal lovers around the world.
DeRose is conducting investigations all over the country—placing his undercover special investigative units deep in rural areas, infiltrating the secret underground dog fighting community. The years of hard work and determination to put an end to this brutality has finally garnered a big case—the Mike Vick case.
DeRose agreed to do an interview with Dog Living Magazine in an effort to stir up activism in the public. It is the vigilance of ordinary dog lovers that is vital to the authorities to crack down on this brutal sport. Every person engaged in this criminal activity is someone’s neighbor, friend or relative. It’s up to us to help the animals and demand that the authorities take action. These poor dogs have no voice but ours.
“The Feds have stuff that can really nail Mike Vick,” says Chris. “What a lot of people don’t know about is the ‘bait dogs.’ These are people’s pets. These dogs are stolen and they are used for that reason and they’re sold to these people. They (the criminals who steal the pets) get twenty, thirty or forty dollars a dog. Fifty dollars is nothing to Mike Vick and the other garbage bags who are doing this. The bait dogs are all stolen pets—there’s no doubt about that. Shepherds, Collies, little dogs…some of them are ten, twelve years old. Some of them are puppies and they’re given to the fighting dogs to rip them apart—to give them the feeling of victory—to train them to fight. We found out that in training pit puppies to fight, they’ll take a kitten and hang it in a bag and they’ll have the dogs try to reach for it. They’ll pull the claws out of the kitten first so it doesn’t scratch the young pup and deter it from being aggressive. It’s a progression. Eventually, they’ll do the same thing with a cat. They’ll throw the cat in there and let it mutilate the cat and kill it. They’re monsters. Anyone who would involve themselves in this kind of thing—to sit there and watch an animal ripped apart for enjoyment, is absolutely sick. There is no excuse for this. It’s a macho thing. I call it the small penis syndrome. It’s really about these guys trying to prove their manhood and there’s a big Pit Bull out there doing their biting for them.”
Asked what kind of people engage in dog fighting, DeRose tells us, “A lot of people in positions of power, law enforcement, politicians, judges—there’s gambling involved in this. All kinds of people—Latino, white, black, Asian, everybody and from all socio-economic levels. There is a sadistic thing going on here. They enjoy watching animals get hurt. I’ve confronted some of these people and they’re downright mean.”
There is a subculture of dog fighting among professional athletes and Rap stars. Former NBA forward Qyntel Woods faced charges of dog fighting before pleading guilty to animal abuse in 2005 and former NFL running back LeShon Johnson pled guilty to three charges related to dog fighting in 2005 as well. Johnson is currently serving a five year deferred sentence. One of LCA’s undercover investigators told this reporter, “Roy Jones Jr., the pro boxer, is a big time dog fighter and good friends with Mike Vick. On Roy Jones Jr.’s property, he has around a hundred Game (killer) Pits.” Rap star DMX was convicted of thirteen counts of animal cruelty in 2002 for abusing his Pit Bulls.
In a dim-witted op-ed piece, football star Deion Sanders wrote, “I believe Vick had a passion for dog fighting. I know many athletes who share his passion. The allure is the intensity and the challenge of a dog fighting to the death. It’s like ultimate fighting, but the dog doesn’t tap out when he knows he can’t win.” Maybe Neon Deion would like to tell the Feds the names of these dog fighting athletes so they can get off the field and go where they belong— prison.
A Web search of Pit Bull sites demonstrates the pervasive influence of Hip Hop and Mob “culture.” Sites are artfully Web-mastered to have the look and feel of a Hip Hop and Mafia environment. On these sites, one can browse for “breedings” Game bred pups which are “on the ground,” meaning born and ready to be sold and trained for victory or death. The more “Game bloodline” they are, meaning that they are bred with the willingness to fight to the death, the higher the price. If one delves deeper into the Pit Bull fighting Web world, one can access some very scary people who write in code and warn each other on message boards that the “Feds are watching you, watch your noisy asses!” If a dog is described as Dead Game, it means the dog is poised to kill/win in the next match.
The letters Ch., (Champion) as a prefix before a dog’s bloodline name means that the dog has won a contracted match, killing another dog. The prefix GR. Ch. (Grand Champion) before the name signifies that the dog has won five or more matches, killing each time. These dogs are sought after for stud services and breeding services for the purpose of creating a population of disposable dogs made to kill with spectacular, lucrative and bloody results. With names like Razor’s Edge, RedBoy, Hittler, Jocko and the Notorious Juan Gotti, these dogs are posed menacingly, their ears hacked off crudely down to the skull and shackled in enormous chains —chains that are strong enough to pull a truck. The photos are enhanced with flourishes that are identical to the art work from Hip Hop CDs and magazine covers.
The dogs in the photos look joyless, which is unusual for a dog. Dogs in loving homes are naturally happy. In contrast, these poor beasts are beefed up on steroids and sadly, tethered to a large gage chain in a dirt yard. Naturally, the faces of the Dogmen (what dog fighters call themselves) are always cropped out of the picture. They don’t want you to know who they are—not because they are ashamed but because they are hiding from the cops. Of course, none of the animals displayed have scars—that would be evidence that could tip off a raid by the “Law.” These dogs live in Spartacus-like conditions. They are there for three reasons:
1: To enhance the macho image of the brutes who own them.
2: To make money.
3. To breed and fight and die.
Shamelessly, these Web sites have a disclaimer that states that “No dogs will be sold for illegal or fighting purposes.” The site builders even claim that the content of the sites is “fictional and for entertainment purposes only.” Right. And a Ferrari is only intended to be driven under the speed limit. And semi-automatic weapons are just for recreational use. Unfortunately, the Web sites, like the dogs and the blood and the cruelty are all too real.
To most people, the purse for a Game dog match is a lot of money. On the street fighting level, which is not considered professional, the purse can run around $1500. A professional match can bring in as much as $150,000— chump change for a rich guy like Vick.
According to an undercover investigator who works for Last Chance for Animals, no one wants to keep an injured dog. “You’re gonna kill that dog because bringing that dog home is stupid,” he says. “It’s evidence. So you kill it. Most of the time, shoot him. Gun shot to the head. You don’t want any injured dog on your property because that is evidence. They (dog fighters) have the most healthy dogs in the world because they treat them like athletes—until they’re injured. They start fighting them at one and a half. It might live three years max. They seem to get attached to their breeding dog. If a dog does something spectacular in a fight, they might breed it. He will not go back to the property. He’ll go to a private vet or a friend’s house.”
Shockingly, there are veterinarians who work in this business, pumping up these dogs with testosterone and other drugs to enhance aggression.
“Dog fighting is the cruelest thing I’ve ever seen and I’ve worked in a slaughter house,” says the LCA undercover investigator. “If the dog is people-aggressive, it gets killed. Automatic loss in a dog fight. These dogs are havin’ to trust these people. They wanna please the owner. These people are bonding with these dogs. They’re playing ball with them in the yard. They (the dogs) don’t know what’s comin’. It’s mentally cruel to the dogs.”
Dog lovers can only hope that the prosecution team is made up of Pit Bull lawyers, who are Game enough to win. In his only statement so far on the charges against him, Mike Vick acknowledged that he is sorry for the pain this has caused his mother. He apologized to his team mates for not being there at practice. But on the subject of man’s best friend being torn to pieces for entertainment and profit, he is as silent as the dogs who died in agony at his house.
Carole Raphaelle Davis is an actress, animal welfare advocate and author of “The Diary of Jinky, Dog of a Hollywood Wife.” Website: http://www.hollywoodjinky.com/