Michael Vick is rewriting his sadistic history
And he has help doing it. But we must never forget what he did and who he really is.
Frodo, surrounded by loved ones, before his death this week.
Frodo, “The last surviving pit bull rescued from Michael Vick’s massive dogfighting operation has died.” “When I got Frodo, the world was a scary place,” his adopter said. Frodo was “very, very shut down,” was plagued by nightmares and “would let out cries.” Eventually, however, he “went on to blossom into a ‘cheerful dog’ in near-constant search for human attention.” That is no small consolation given what Frodo was forced to endure.
Tributes to Frodo — and the other victims including Jonny Justice who died just two days earlier — have poured in from across the country. The Washington Post wrote that as these dogs “went on to live as family pets or at sanctuaries, their everyday lives became a testament to the power of rehabilitation. For years, leaders in animal welfare have praised how these dogs, once viewed as damaged beyond repair, changed the perception of animals seized from dire circumstances.”
Jonny Justice died two days before Frodo.
Like The Post, other publications have focused on how the surviving dogs showed remarkable resilience, becoming beloved, happy family pets despite the abuse they were victim to. This is as it should be and proves a central tenet of the No Kill movement: what we owe traumatized animals who arrive on our doorsteps, in our shelters, into our movement’s care is time — time to abandon fear, to forget a haunted past, and most important of all, to learn that humans can be trusted. With the right amount of love, kindness, compassion, positive conditioning, and, when needed, veterinary care, psychologically wounded animals have a remarkable capacity to thrive.
What do we owe the neediest animals who arrive in our shelters looking for a second chance? Time, love, kindness, compassion, positive conditioning, and veterinary care.
But I want to focus on the person responsible for the trauma because despite the enormity of his crimes, Vick has never taken full responsibility and has never fully acknowledged what he did to those dogs. Instead, he laments what he lost after getting caught — the largest paycheck of any NFL player — and blames others, saying those “who didn’t have my best interests at heart” were the ones “to take all that away from me.” These are not just the sullen grumblings of a fallen celebrity who got caught. A growing number of academics are also rewriting history, casting Vick as “victim” rather than perpetrator.
These claims are dishonest and cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.