Sad news: Earlier this month one of the Vicktory Dogs, Little Red, died a natural death at her home in Utah. Little Red’s passing comes 10 years after the bust of the Bad Newz Kennels dogfighting ring, owned and operated by Michael Vick. This dog’s lease on life was made possible by caring advocates—despite the best efforts of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
Both groups advocated that the dogs, like Little Red, be euthanized when they were initially seized. While this is nothing new for PETA, which kills the vast majority of dogs and cats in its animal shelter, it was troubling for the supposedly high-road HSUS. Even more troubling was that HSUS sent out fundraising material saying that they would “care for the dogs seized in the Michael Vick case.”
Thankfully, actual humane and ethical groups stepped up and took care of the dogs’ rehabilitation and home placement. Many eventually led long, normal lives.
But while Little Red was recovering at a sanctuary in Utah and eventually in her “forever home,” Wayne Pacelle, the CEO of HSUS, spent his time rehabilitating the world’s most famous dog killer’s image after receiving $50,000 from the Philadelphia Eagles following Vick’s release from prison in 2009. Ostensibly Vick and Pacelle were advocating against animal fighting, but effectively it provided public relations cover for Vick who was desperately trying to salvage what little time he had left playing football.
If Pacelle and HSUS had spent less time helping Vick and more time helping the animals he tortured, maybe Philadelphia wouldn’t have seen a spike in dogfighting while Vick was playing for the Eagles.
We’ll never know, but we do know that when it comes to animal vs. animal killer, HSUS sided with the latter.