Let me get this straight: Michael Vick, former quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, who admitted to bankrolling horrendous dogfighting operation out of his home in Virginia has been forgiven by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodall. Vick will be allowed to participate in all preseason games and meetings and in October, at Goodall's discretion, can potentially play in regular games. Meanwhile, Dakota, a dog who allegedly took a newborn baby out of his crib and carried him off with no malicious intent but more than likely was driven by protective maternal instincts, sits on "death row." Can we forgive a human for intentionally harming and killing dogs but not a dog who unintentionally harms a human?
Michael Vick was just released from federal custody. He served most of his 23 months in federal prison and the last two in federal custody (at home with an electronic monitor). As we all know by now, his participation in a major dogfighting operation came to light a couple of years ago. The story was shocking. The details sickening. Dogs brutalized, beaten, killed for "entertainment," for money. He was supposed to be a role model. He was a man who seemingly had it all: fame, money, status. But, this was a despicable enterprise. And now he has been officially forgiven by the NFL Commissioner -- maybe his colleagues, maybe his fans.
Then there is Dakota, the Native American Indian dog, who made headlines recently when she supposedly took a newborn baby from his crib at the family's home. After frantically searching for the baby and the dog, the father, Michael Smith, found Dakota holding the baby "gently" in her mouth. Smith actually suspected Dakota took the baby as it was common for her to take items out of the home and bring them to a place in the woods on their property perhaps for safekeeping. She's been called mild-mannered, sweet, not vicious and yet immediately she was taken from her home and talk of euthanizing her was discussed.
Now, the official word is that she will not be put down, but her fate still hangs in the balance. The Smith family has not yet officially released her to the custody of the Jessamine County SAVE Shelter where she was taken. Until they do, anything can happen. She has been yanked from her family, from her home, from her sibling who lived with them and has been apparently traumatized by the ordeal. Fortunately, the baby is recovering from the injuries he sustained. But there was that rush to judgment. If you saw the headlines, she "snatched," "kidnapped," "stole," and "dragged" the baby.
So how do we equate or not equate the two? And have we humans not evolved enough to forgive other species (who do not have a voice to tell their side) as we choose to forgive ourselves?