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Animal Person Solution for Vick’s Dogs

As you may know, Michael Vick’s dogs will most definitely be euthanized, perhaps even today. As you might not know, I had a potential solution that would have had a different outcome. When the story first broke, I sent an e-mail to Animal Planet, Wayne Pacelle of the HSUS, PETA and Cesar Millan regarding using the dogs as the centerpiece for an Animal Planet series, starring Cesar Millan.

The series would obviously include the backstory about Vick. But the focus would be the medical treatment of the dogs, the assessment of them, and the rehabilitation of them by Cesar Millan, who has said that there have been only two dogs he could not rehabilitate. The show could bring to light dogfighting, the history of pit bulls, and even breed specific legislation. It could educate about the number of pit bulls already in shelters in urban areas (and the number of dogs in shelters, in general, as well as the percentage that are purebreds).

I saw it as a win-win for the network, the dogs and the viewers (and Cesar Millan if he could pull it off, and if he couldn’t, we’d see that a human being like Vick can damage a dog so severely that the poor dog found it impossible to see anyone as anything but a threat to his life. And by the way, this is in no way an endorsement of Millan’s tactics. But to get the most advertising dollars and the largest audience, I think he would be a necessary part of the show.). Maybe this was a stupid idea that would be impossible to execute because the dogs are so aggressive. But even that could’ve been educational. And if some dogs could be rehabbed, I’m sure they’d get adopted quickly after all the publicity about what they went through.

I have no idea what went on behind the scenes. But it seems like the dogs never had a chance. Wayne Pacelle (in the NPR interview linked to above) said there were three options: euthanasia, warehousing, or assess the dogs to see if they could be rehabilitated, which would be expensive. I guess he doesn’t think the dogs are a good investment for some of the HSUS’ hundred million dollars of reserve funds.

I write this today because a friend of my husband’s (who, like Pacelle, went to Yale) said:

Let me get this straight. Vick was killing dogs and might do jail time for that, and the people who confiscated the dogs are going to kill them anyway? Isn’t that ironic?

Tragic is more like it. And maybe even avoidable.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. For what it's worth, I think your idea was fantastic.

    How horribly sad.

    August 24, 2007
  2. I agree with you, Stephanie. What a fantastic idea, and terribly sad that it wasn't done.
    Mary, have you seen the film "Your Mommy Kills Animals?" I personally had quite a few issues with it, but one of the interesting points that is made in the film, is that HSUS – with their multi-million dollar budget – was less than helpful in the wake of the emergency situation with all the animals who fell victim to Katrina. Yet, they were the first to stand up and take the credit. According to the film, it was the small rescue groups and volunteers from all over the country who really did all of the work.
    This is yet another reason why I no longer will support welfarist groups like HSUS.

    August 24, 2007
  3. Wow..too expensive for H$U$ to deal with ~50 dogs….

    So what is considered a 'good value' to them these days then?

    August 27, 2007
  4. kim #

    I just received an email saying the ASPCA will be evaluating the dogs.

    August 31, 2007
  5. Kaelinda #

    I thought Cesar Millan was to evaluate and then rehabilitate those dogs that could be rehabilitated. I also heard that only two of the dogs were not 'fixable' and so were euthanized. The rest of them eventually found permanent homes.

    October 22, 2011

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