Friday, August 24, 2007

In Whose Yard the Dog Sits

This essay was written by Kate Fraser, Foundation Director of the organization where we adopted our dog, the Animal Farm Foundation. I thought she expressed perfectly the plight of the pit bull breed as a result of their misuse in the dogfighting world. I know she would not mind me posting this here, as the more people know about our dogs, the better it will be for them.

In Whose Yard the Dog Sits

Animal lover or not, it would take someone with a heart of stone to read the details of crimes Michael Vick committed against the pit bull dogs in his “care” and not feel sick. While the media talk about how much “time he’ll do” and whether or not he’ll ever play in the NFL again, there is one vital piece of information missing from the equation…this isn’t about Michael Vick, it’s about the dogs.

Michael Vick is not the only dog fighter in the United States, not the only man who has made money off the dog’s backs while feeding his own warped ego. Not the only one who has tortured and killed innocent dogs on a regular basis. Michael Vick is just a symptom, a blip on the radar screen, of a cancer in desperate need of a cure. While the Pundits debate and the NFL Public Relations Machine wrings its hands, thousands of other "Michael Vicks", black and white, rich and poor, in neighborhoods urban and rural, are committing the same crimes against pit bull dogs that Vick did.

The question remains, will the Feds come for them too or will the presently very public fight against the crime of dog fighting end with Vick? And if they do continue, who will speak for victims who can not speak for themselves, the dogs? What will become of them? Will their lives be better for our intervening on their behalf or will it be more of the same. Death, not death in the pit, but death on the end of a snare pole perhaps, death without compassion, death just the same. Will all of the dogs continue to be victimized twice? Killed by their masters because they wouldn't fight, killed by those who rescued them because they might? The dogs are left with nowhere to stand, pawns in a cruel game of guilt by association.

So I ask you, when does the dog in the fight, the innocent pit bull dog who has not asked for any of this, when does he finally get to win? When does he get the same care and compassion as any other pet? When does the pit bull dog, get be to be viewed as simply what he is, a dog, who like all canines, desires a warm hearth, plenty of food and a person to call his own?

Michael Vick’s story and the tragic story of his dogs will reach its not-so-fairy tale ending in due course. But what of the stories of all of the nameless, faceless victims of the crime of dog fighting whose masters don’t play in the NFL? What of those dogs? Who will say this doesn’t end here? Who will ensure that their stories have a happier ending than that of the Vick dogs?

I look at both of my pit bull dogs, but particularly my dog Isaac who was left to die in a dumpster, and think there but for the grace of god go they. It occurs to me that the only difference between their lives and the thousands of pet pit bulls like them and the lives of all of the pit bulls suffering in dire circumstances, is the hands into which they fell. A cruel twist of fate or a blessing from above, depending on in whose yard the dog sits.

-Kate Fraser
Animal Farm Foundation


Animal Farm Foundation has a number of dogs available for adoption, including this one!

The following photo courtesy of League of Animal Protection (LAP) of Huntington, NY. This dog is available for adoption. See more information on


Anonymous said...

I hope I haven't made this comment here yet, but I wanted you to know that it is rumored that dog fights apparently go on, underground, in my Boston neighborhood. It is disgusting.

Mauigirl said...

Rhea, sadly I am not surprised. I think any big city, and even smaller ones such as East Orange (next to us) probably have underground dogfighting.

Larry said...

Good article, but sadly the media continues to say this isn't so bad, what about the football players who abuse their wives.

Neither is acceptable, but a woman can often leave and seek help but an animal is confined and helpless.

Perhaps it's time to put a real end to spousal abuse and animal abuse.

Our governments really want to do neither. That's why there is a problem in both areas.

Mauigirl said...

Larry, you are right, more attention should be focused on all of these abuses. But as you say, the chief difference is, people have choices; dogs don't.

One thing that always gets me is that whenever people who care about animals protest some terrible abuse that is happening, someone else always comes back with the "but what about the people (or worse yet, children) who are being abused?" Why does it always have to be either/or with these people? It's all bad, and all of it should be stopped.

And the thing that those who come up with these things don't realize is, animal abuse is often linked to abuse of people. It's about a personality.

TomCat said...

Dogfighting is a long and rancid tradition in the US. The only reason it's getting the attention it is now is Vick's notoriety. Once it loses its infotainment value, the issue will slip quietly away, a sad truth.

Mauigirl said...

Tomcat, I'm afraid you are right. And it's very sad.

Animal Chaplain said...

Wonderful blog...

If there is anything good about the Michael Vick story, it is that there is an emerging increased awareness about animal cruelty and animal fighting. There is so much anger about this issue. If we channel it into a positive direction, hopefully, something good can come of it. However...

I watched Vick's public apology with my little son who USED TO wear Michael Vick jerseys to school. It is disturbing to think a certain percentage of the population is honestly going to be swayed by Michael Vick's "enlightenment" carefully crafted by his overpaid attorneys. Call me a cynic, but I don't believe a man who has been allegedly torturing animals since childhood coincidentally has a religious epiphany as a result of getting caught and losing his job. I hope I am wrong.

I think it is a sad commentary that we, as a culture, are using the Vick story to compare "What's worse?" "What's worse", we ask, "carelessly fathering illegitimate children, or dogfighting?". "Dogfighting or gambling?" "Dogfighting or rape?" "Dogfighting or racism?" "Dogfighting or hateful nationalism?" "Dogfighting or (fill in the blank)....?" The comparisons to dogfighting have been endless.

Dogfighting is one more piece of evidence our country is in need of a spiritual transformation (please note I said spiritual and not necessarily religious). Animals are sentient beings - they feel pain, and they suffer, just like we do. They are not more important, or less important than human beings, but like human beings, they are important, too.

Dogfighting pits one dog against another until one of them dies. The survivor gets his flesh torn off, ears ripped off, eyes pulled out, etc., and the reward for being "a winner" is to writhe in pain until the next fight. Enough said. The pictures make my flesh crawl. The losers are tortured, beaten, starved, electrocuted or drowned. For what? Because these poor creatures were unlucky enough to be born a dog!

Every major faith teaches its followers to be responsible stewards of animals and the Earth. Please help us get the word out that caring for animals, just like caring for people, is an important part of just being a decent person and citizen. If we make this a priority, there will be no more dogfighting horror stories, and no more pointless comparisons of evils. Let us all rise, together, to be better people than we are today, shall we?

Chaplain Nancy Cronk