Friday Dogblogging: Redemption for Vick's abused dogs
(You may have heard of the tradition of Friday catblogging. Well, in honor of our region's special passion for the canine, we here at Facing South have decided to launch a special Friday feature devoted to dogs. Enjoy!)
They're known as the "Vicktory Dogs" -- 22 pit bulls seized from suspended Atlanta Falcons football star Michael Vick, who's serving a 23-month prison sentence for his role in a Virginia-based dogfighting ring.
The dogs are now living at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah, where staff are working to rehabilitate them into pets. More than 20 other dogs seized from the operation have been placed elsewhere for rehabilitation, with one other animal euthanized due to demonstrated aggression toward humans.
While the Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wanted all the fight-trained dogs put down, rescue operations sought to give the dogs another chance.
While some may be adopted out to experienced handlers, others will probably spend their lives at the sanctuary. (If you'd like to contribute to the dogs' care, click here.)
The animals suffered horrific abuse by Vick and his associates, visible in the scars covering their bodies, their teeth filed down or pulled out to prevent injuries during forced breeding, and in the psychological problems that veterinarians have likened to post-traumatic stress syndrome in humans.
Curiously, Sanctuary staff report that the black dogs show the highest levels of fear in tests -- almost 40 percent higher than the other dogs. Since black coat color hasn't been linked to higher fear levels in dogs, could it be that the black animals were treated worse as a result of our culture's negative associations with their color?
(Photos courtesy of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary)
Sue is the editorial director of Facing South and the Institute for Southern Studies.