Michael Vick Owns a Dog — Bad News or Chance for Redemption?

The Internet is ablaze now that infamous Michael Vick has admitted that he is once again a dog owner.  As you no doubt remember, Vick went to prison over charges related to a dogfighting ring that he helped run and allowed to operate on his property.  One of the more damning revelations from the federal investigation including losing dogs being electrocuted.  Michael Vick instantly became one of the most hated figures in America, as dogs are such a central part of so many American families.  Since then, Vick served more than a year and six months in federal prison.  That was bad enough, but it also sidelined his NFL career, although he has successfully regained a spot as a starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.  He has done lots of community service deals related to animals, and now we find out that he owns a dog.

Vick released a statement saying that he understands the “strong emotions” about this move, but he feels like it is important for his children to develop a healthy relationship with animals.  He claims that this is a special opportunity for him to demonstrate his turnaround and that he remains 100% committed to animal welfare.

On message boards and forums, the reaction was overwhelmingly negative.  Tons of people were commenting that Michael Vick should never be allowed to own a dog, or any other animal for that matter, again after what he was found to be guilty of participating in.  But it brings up an interesting dilemma.  Michael Vick was sentenced to prison and served his time.  Now, he has made every appearance to have reformed.  Is the slate now clean?  Many draw comparisons to instances of child molestation.  Someone convicted of abusing children carries that stigma forever in their required sex offender registration status.  Even though they may have paid their debt to society in the form of incarceration, the punishment never really completely ends, because they carry that scarlet letter with them for life.  Should this situation be the same?  Then, you have to look at Vick’s children.  Should they be punished by missing out on one of life’s most enriching experiences because of the actions of their father?

The irony in this is that the dog that now lives with the Vick family is probably living the greatest life imaginable for a dog.  Chances are Vick wouldn’t dare do anything to harm it, if not for his own personal feelings, because he is probably watched. Bet that PETA and other organizations are keeping tabs on Vick.  If he does anything that might be construed as the slight bit abusive or neglectful where anyone can see it, no doubt there will be another round of bad publicity.  Vick’s Fido is probably living the good life for real this time.

So, do you think Michael Vick should be allowed to own a dog again?  Do you think there’s a chance he might abuse an animal again, or has he truly reformed and this is a basic right he now has as someone that has paid their debt to society?  Is the slate clean in your eyes?  It’s an interesting topic and we want to hear your opinions.
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