Since Michael Vick has pleaded guilty to dog fighting conspiracy charges, some animal rights groups are hoping the NFL will take action to fight against animal cruelty and dog fighting.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is calling on the NFL to add cruelty to animals “in all its forms” to the list of offenses in their code of personal conduct.
PETA’s website refers to three previous cases of animal cruelty involving NFL players: Falcons tackle Jonathan Babineaux accused in February of inflicting blunt trauma on his girlfriend’s dog, Kilo, which later died; ex-Packers/Cardinals/Giants running back LeShon Johnson found guilty in 2004 of involvement in a massive dogfighting ring; and former Eagles running back Thomas Hamnerwas convicted twice of beating his dog and animal cruelty.
PETA is also offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in dogfighting.
“Since the Vick case ripped the lid off dogfighting, law enforcement and PETA are getting tips and leads on other cases across the country,” said PETA spokesman David Perle. “PETA is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in dogfighting, and we are working with law enforcement in a number of different jurisdictions.”
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (APSCA), also sees Vick’s plea as a way to spread awareness about this horrible crime. ASPCA President Ed Sayres said the agency salutes the US Attorney’s Office and USDA in pursuing the case. This sends a message to those involved in animal cruelty that what they are doing is cruel and unacceptable.
Despite Vick pleading guilty, the American Kennel Club is concerned that Vick’s punishment will not fit the heinous nature of his crimes.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) said the situation is sad, and it is unfortunate that Vick has inflicted this on himself and others.
“The resolution of this federal case is no cause for celebration - many dogs suffered terribly and a gifted athlete and his bright career have been perhaps irreparably damaged,” Wayne Pacelle, president of HSUS, said. “The only good that can come from this case is that the American people dedicate themselves to the task of rooting out dogfighting in every infected area where it thrives.”
Photo: Associated Press