Column: NFL players punishment not harsh enough

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The other day I was watching an NFL pre-season game. The talk was not about football, but rather Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback Michael Vick and his dogfighting case.

I will admit, I am not a huge football fan and I am not that familiar with NFL rules, but it seems like the commentators keep focusing on issues like the gambling and drug involvement in the case. To me, the big issue is the fact that he admitted to torturing and killing dogs.

This is a hideous crime, that in my opinion, only the lowest type of person would commit. I can understand the mentality behind gambling and drug use – not that I condone it – but I can see why it’s done. Gambling is a compulsion that some abuse and others do for fun. Drugs are addictive and readily available. It would be easy to fall into that trap. What I cannot grasp is how a person could take an innocent animal and continuously train it to fight and kill, then watch the mayhem for money or entertainment.

When you get a canine companion, that dog looks to you for shelter, food and above all – love. You become part of their pack, they will love you unconditionally, and yes, they will even fight to please you. Some people sadly take advantage of that love. When you get a dog, you have a responsibility to give it the best life possible.  What kind of life do these poor fighting dogs have?

This crime seems to be growing in popularity – that or it is more widely reported. It seems every day on the news we see a dogfighting raid. The punishment should be far more severe. Currently dogfighting is a felony but it carries little jail time. It does not seem fair that the dogs involved die or are euthanized and the person responsible gets a slap on the wrist.

Can dog fighters be rehabilitated? To have so little compassion and such a disregard for life, it does not seem likely. As I see it, you have to be one heartless scumbag to do such horrible acts to an innocent dog.

Perhaps a more fitting punishment would to be to lock the perpetrator in a jail cell with a dog trained to kill. Then they might get a clue as to what they did to any number of animals. This is highly unlikely, but it’s exactly what the dogfighters have done.

I also do not understand the entertainment value in two dogs ripping one another apart.

Surely, there are other violent activities to satisfy the most vicious appetite. There is ultimate fighting and cage fighting. These people get in the ring and go to town on each other. There is boxing where contenders pummel one another in the head. There is kickboxing where blows are delivered to all body parts. Of course, there is always good old-fashioned professional wrestling. I am sure watching someone being pile driven through a table can give your appetite for aggression a quick fix. The best part, these are willing participants. Dogs are not.

I keep hearing how unfortunate this all is for Michael Vick and his fans. He is a grown man capable of making his own choices and, for whatever reason, he chose to participate in the brutality of animals. I say, how unfortunate for the dogs.


Andrea Cordle is editor of the Southwest Messenger

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