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The Day I Spent With Michael Vick

Written by PETA | January 22, 2009
kiki072895 / CC
Michael Vick

On September 18, 2007, I spent eight hours with Michael Vick at PETA headquarters. He was there to participate in PETA’s “Developing Empathy for Animals” course as part of an education process that PETA hoped would ultimately lead Michael to speak out publicly against dogfighting.

In one segment of the course, Michael watched a police training video about the link between violence against animals and violence against humans. It contains graphic footage shot at a dogfight. I watched Michael grimace while watching this footage, in the way that any normal person would. At another point, the video shows a young person hanging a live cat from the ceiling and stabbing the animal to death with a knife. At this point, Michael closed his eyes and turned his head from the screen, seemingly disturbed by what he saw.

Michael also watched a slide-show of photos taken of neglected dogs. He was asked to describe what each animal must have felt in their situation. He aced this part of the course, pointing out that starving dogs living in garbage with heavy, rusty chains around their necks must be “lonely,” “sad,” and “terrified,” and pointed to such indicators as the dogs’ tails curled between their legs and their heads bowed in submission. You can see Michael’s hand-written responses to the empathy test questions here.

I came away from that meeting encouraged. Even though I felt uncomfortable to be in the same room with a man who had tortured and killed so many animals, Michael seemed like an intelligent and thoughtful person who had made horrible decisions in his life but who regretted the consequences, both for himself and others, and who was genuinely trying to change.

However, despite pledging to become an “ally” in the fight against dogfighting, Michael and his camp have done little more than mouth assurances that he’s learned his lesson. Since this meeting, they have only surfaced when Michael has been scheduled for court appearances—until now, when he is asking to get his old job back.

And there is more. Despite the hopes I had for Michael during our meeting, we now know that not only did he lie to the NFL in direct questioning about his activity, he also lied in his lie detector tests after his arrest—something that the recently released USDA report revealed for the first time. We need to know if Michael’s post-arrest contrition was part of a flawed human being’s genuine growth and development or just part of the machinations of a man with a clinically diagnosable anti-social personality disorder.

Until Michael agrees to submit to a brain scan and psychological evaluation, we have no way of knowing. And until then, PETA will refuse to be a part of a public service announcement that may simply be a public relations ploy from a convicted felon trying to manipulate his way back into the NFL. We hope that the NFL will take the same approach.

Written by Dan Shannon

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  • j-saint says:

    What am I seeing here? Almost everyone wants to see Michael Vick burn in hell but what I would ask is Is this not America? Some of the most violent acts this world has ever bore witness to has happened here! Noone ever says a thing about men who hunt deer bears ducks etc. Everybody says forget about slavery and lynchings but they can’t get the image of these dogs out of their heads? As a pet owner I don’t condone what Mike Vick did but i also realize that violence is this country’s stock and trade. This country was founded on the dead bodies of thousands of native americans and on the bloody backs of enslaved africans. I wonder if anybody thinks that men like Thomas Jefferson George Washington and Patrick Henry who practiced the the heinous act of slavery should have been given psychological evaluations. By the way weren’t dogs used to hunt down and maim runaway slaves on the plantations? Weren’t dogs used by racist cops to attack black folk in the ’30′s 40′s50′s and 60′s? just a thought.

  • Jinny says:

    What would Jesus do? Well the bible says you reap what you sow…that’ll teach ya Michael

  • Zane says:

    What he did was wrong Cruel and mean. I love dogs and i think wat he did was wrong and he sholdnt have done it But we alll make mistakes and things happen and sometimes we wish we hadnt did it but we did and we have to forgive. What would jesus do? Go michael Vick!!!!!!!!!!

  • Deanna says:

    I am sickened that Michael was reinstated by the NFL. He should have spent more jail time and never be able to play ball and earn millions. He makes my stomach turn and all his pathetic and twisted friends. GROSS!!!!! Beyond

  • Danielle Clark says:

    Some of your fans think that you made a “mistake.” But what I am curious to know is if someone did something equally as cruel to your mother or maybe one of your children do you think they should ever see the light of day? Do you think you could ever consider that a mistake? I am currently writing a paper for my psychology class on what the hell is wrong with you. And I have to say the research done on the link between animal cruelty and human violence is pretty disturbing. You mingling with society is PRETTY DISTURBING. You should probably put YOUR tail between your legs and step into the ring with the dogs you have trained since you feel like top dog because the public will never forget what you have done. Your name will always be thought of when people think of animal cruelty. The only hall of fame you will ever go down in is the history of the world’s most wastes of space.

  • marcus says:

    you guys ruined his extremely bright football future when it was his sellout friends who were doing the actual dogfighting now he’s broke and spent the last 2 years of his life in jail so i think it’s time to forgive him and move on

  • Jay says:

    I understand what Vick done was wrong but my question is this! Why is deer hunting dove hunting duck hunting wild pig hunting ect…considered a sport when all of these innocent animals are be killed? Its because the government makes money on these type of things. It can be controlled and monitored so It is legal. People pay money for hunting licenses deer leases and half of these things are televised. The government is able to control these things so It’s ok. I think its discussing to walk in a store are the home of someone only to see a deer head handing on the wall but apparently this is not a problem. Dog fighting is something that is done behind close doors so It is deem illegal. I think allot of these so called sports should be illegal. Micheal Vick was not intellegent for the decision he made so I believed he had to pay the price. I don’t think he should suffer for the rest of his life if he works hard to clean up his act.

  • unknown says:

    this is tooooooooooooo much…..let God judge him……enough is enough.D. Stallworth doesnt have this much attention and he killed someone…..

  • Allie says:

    I do not wish death upon him but he should have had a longer time in prison. Taking an animals life is just as bad as taking a humans. Just because they can’t take up for themselves doesn’t mean you can abuse them or take advantage of them. What would happen if he did this and wasn’t famous? He would probably still be in prison. HOPEFULLY he has changed. At least his former dogs are in good homes now!

  • RJ says:

    Some of you people are crazy. What he did was completely wrong but he does not deserve jail for life. That is 100 ridiculous. I have two dogs at home and I love dogs but he does not deserve life in jail and he deserves a second chance in the NFL. He is not evil crazy or anything he’s just an idiot with too much time and money on his hand and he won’t make the same mistake again. Some murderer’s don’t even get life in jail. I don’t care what you guys think a person’s life is more important than an animals and I don’t think Vick should have to take the test. Who would you rather have die your dog or your friend sibling or parents?

  • Linda Evenrude says:

    If the NFL brings him back they have no moral values. It’s all about money making as much as possible for all of them! A second chance? Of course how about pumping gas for a living? Driving a truck? Life is about choices he made his he had it all he destroyed innocent animals he should never be rewarded with his previous life. He certainly is entitled to one but not the rewards and riches of that one.

  • bobbyct says:

    The man is serving his time that was given.how can you claim compassion for animals and not humans its opposite of what you claim you are.As jesus said let him without sin cast the first stone.To try and keep this guy from going back to the nfl is certainly wrong at the best and vindictive at worse .Everyone needs some forgivness for something.The only true way to judge this his actions going forward time will tell if he is truly remorseful.Let him live his life folks.

  • Susan says:

    How can so many people who have a regard for any living creature’s life have no regard to human life. Have all of you read what you wrote above? So many of you would like to see him die or tortured. This is crazy. So if your requests are answered then whoever is responsible for his death should die as well right? It’s a vicious cycle. He served his time we sent him to prison. Let God and fate do the rest! We did our job! This world has lost love and forgiveness and the comments I see above makes us no different than VICK. The comments above sound sick and instable isn’t this the same reason we want Vick tested. Come on folks let’s be logical. I hope the blog manager is strong enough to post this message. We all need to evaluate ourselves. We love evaluating others. I love every living creature. Things wrong are wrong and should be punishable. However if someone is sentenced and serves let that person start anew. We ALL have made mistakes no one is perfect and no sin is bigger than any other sin. Just stop and think sometimes put yourself or a family member in the same position. We must forgive we don’t have to forget but we must forgive and move on!

  • Rob says:

    I understand that what Vick did was wrong but for some of these people to sit here and say he should be locked up for the rest of his life and he should be killed like the dogs he killed thats just ignorant. I love dogs but i dont believe a person should be killed for killing one. It’s a dog and i dont care what anybody says taking a dogs life should not constitute good reasoning to kill Vick. People get killed by other all too often and very rarely do you see these people sentenced to death. so how could it possibly be right to kill a man for killing dogs.

  • Kate says:

    I agree with Brandie stop posting him he doesn’t deserve his name in print. Peta is a wonderful ali for the animals. Consencrate on helping the dogs and all other innocent animals. I love animals they make me feel closer to my God.

  • SLC says:

    Michael who? Michael SICK!

  • brandie says:

    One could only hope that Vick has had a change of heart but I doubt it. Rome wasn’t built in a day and just because he watched animals being tortured doesn’t mean he truly cares whatsoever. I hope he does not get his “old job” back. A normal Joe Schmoe wouldn’t get their job back if they lied or probably even if they had been honest. So Vick deserves the SAME EXACT treatment as a normal Joe Schmoe. Athletes and Celebs alike have such audacity to think they deserve better treatment than the rest of the population. They do not and should not recive anything more or less than what a normal citizen woudl recive when committing a crime! I am sick of Vick and I am sick of PETA bringing his name up. Do yourself a favor and stop posting about him. He deserve zero attention. He’s upset he got caught. Boo hoo. Go away Vick.

  • gen says:

    wow wow wow. This man is amazingly dim. Reading his answers to the quiz shocked me he doesn’t even know basic spelling and grammer. Writing ‘u’ instead of ‘you’ shows such a lack of effort that it seems he doesn’t care about this program at all. This guy is just plain stupid. If I didn’t know better I would have assumed these answers were that of a 10yearold child. It’s just a shame that we live in a world where people like this have the ability to become wealthy and powerful.

  • JC says:

    ok Shannon please dont bring god into this conversation. This is about animal rights not anything to do with your view on religion… and if he does his time in jail and doesnt become a repeat offender i have no problem with him reentering the NFL. and of course if he wanted so badly back into the NFL of course he would take the test and why does it seem that you think that even if he did have a disorder they wouldnt let him play in the NFL that would be workplace discrimination…

  • Saucy says:

    Clearly Michael Vick has something seriously wrong with his head his mind his brain and his heart. It is said that the mind is the battlefield and that an injured head brain is the devils playground. Michael Vick should never be able to return to the NFL I believe as punishment for his crimes but also for his own good. Michael Vick does not need more head injuries and the world does not need more Michael Vicks and OJ Simpsons. The pencil pushers at the NFL know the perils of head injuries and the damage they cause in the lives of the players and their families and in this case animals. It is unthinkable to me that the NFL would stoop that low.

  • HMN says:

    Michael Vick should spend the rest of his life chained up sleeping on a cold cement floor eating only scraps of food. He should then be placed in a pit so dogs can attack him as opposed to attacking other dogs.

  • Rosita De Keersmaeker says:

    This is a very disturbed individual that would say anything to get the big money back a normal person would do non of the things he did. He a danger to any normal society if you ask me I think he would kill someone without hesitation if he know he would get away with it or nobody would know about it. there are less cruel people in jail.

  • tom furey says:

    Well said Mike PizziI totally agree.

  • Derek, MD says:

    Roxanne Actually Michael Vick would be more Antisocial personality disorder as opposed to Borderline. For Borderline think Britney Spears’ behavior. Antisocials do things like…torturing animals. On another note in regards to Michael Vick’s remorseful statements even a parrot can be taught to repeat words.

  • tom furey says:

    This creature Vickand his gangster rap friends are as evil as they come.Any talk of some form of understanding why he did it is obsurd.The only justice this guy deserves is a good going over by Joe Peshiand friends.

  • Kim says:

    I agree with Maggie. People who mistreat animals should be sent to a lab and used as lab rats. Pardon the pun. Then our tax dollars will be put to good use!!!

  • elise says:

    Vick does not need a psychological test. Anyone who continues to go after the man who is currently in prison lost his job lost millions has no way of making money has apoligized for his actions multiple times has donated money to animal rights and most of the time was not directly involved with the dog fighting needs a psychological evaulation. He has asked for forgiveness and vowed to REDEEM himself it is my belief that the lesson has been learned and maintained this experience no doubt has molded him. However it is you that continue to demean and go after him that need a psychological evaluation. Why not focus on current events that includes harm done to animals. The PETA also needs to learn that in order to gain more support you must be careful with the way that you communicate with those that don’t support your beliefs. Follow the saying you catch more with honey than with vinegar. I would also like to mention that I am a student who currently studies psychology.

  • mike pizzi says:

    mike vick you are a low life dirtbag and i hope the nfl has brains enough not too allow you back you deserve too go through what those dogs you destroyed went thru i hope nothing but the worst for you in life you were supposed to be a role model too kids i really hope nothing but the worst in your future your going too hell vick where you belong you piece of dirt

  • Roxanne says:

    At the very least Michael Vick would appear to be Borderline Personality Disorder. They are people without a “conscience”. Think of what you might do if you didn’t have a conscience! You can not be “cured” because you don’t even get what the problem is. Without a conscience you lack feelings emotionsetc. Vick is just smart enough to to talk the talk WE want to hear and because he doesn’t have a conscience he is a very convincing liar and it doesn’t bother him to do it. Don’t fall for his “revelation” to be an animal lover and advocate. I’m not buyin’ it! Oh and it doen’t have anything to do with the color of his skin but “the content of his character”

  • Joanna says:

    Only Love can overcome the violence and fear that is present in MV and all the other monsters on the planet. Spreading violence on this blog about how you’d like to see another human being abused does not do anything to end the violence towards animals. The animal brain is very capable of changing. If MV has brain patterns typical of pyscopathes that does not mean he cannot change. However changing the human brain is not easy. A person must be motivated by positive rewards for retrianning their mental responses. It’s hard work. If anything MV should be told he can only rejoin and stay with the NFLhis motivation if he learns and demonstrates ongoing compassion for other living things. If we cannot accept that MV could change then there is really very little hope that the millions of meat eating and leather wearing people on this planet can change.

  • nancy mcnamara says:

    This story saddens me soo much. Dogfighting is an awful event. There aren’t words to describe the horrible nature of this. I was reflecting and remembering when my children were very young thankfully I caught wind of an event taking place in my yard. the neighborhood friends and my boys were batting frogs! i was horrified. Immediately flew outside the older boys flew out of the yard leaving my boys56 and 10. I must’ve displayed a face that they hadn’t seen before. one of horror and disappointment one of “man we are in trouble now”. Needless to say they received a long lecture of how to treat helpless beings and that nothing is to ever be killed or treated badly on our property or anywhere ever ever again.Not even an ant! Later at a party at our house I overheard my son’s best friend telling another friend” Don’t ever hurt an animal or kill even an ant when you’re here or anywhere! Mrs. McNamara gets really scary when she’s mad.”I chuckle now and i edited this for not to be too wordy but each of those boys are still in our lives and my second oldest is an animal rights activist. They still remember that day and they are teaching their kids to be kind to animals. Parents please educate your kids to be kind and responsible with animals. I wonder how Michael Vick”s parent’s feel about his hobby?

  • EAS says:

    You know that are so many other people who also they there heads examined. Did you know George W. Bush used to torture frogs when he was younger. There is a lot of instability out there. It scares the sht out of me.

  • Ashley says:

    You know I have no words…well atleast nothing nice to say. I think he’s lying. He doesn’t feel bad he’s not sorry. He’s only sorry that we got caught. THATS IT. He’ll lie to whomever to get back into the NFL. This guy is a virus an infection that should be vaccinated. If this were up to be I wouldn’t send him to jail I would sentence him to the same fate he chose for those dogs. I’d make him suffer and fear for his life everyday starve him and then I would make him fight for his life IF he survived this cycle would continue until he was killed. A life is a life no one gets to decide that the life of a dog is ANY less valuable then the life of a human. This guy is a piece of shit. He doesn’t deserve the sweet release of death he should suffer. Plain and simple.

  • pj says:

    Perhaps his answers and responses were too perfect? He may be sorry he got caught is all.

  • Deanna Dylan Scott says:

    I am just not convinced that he has remorse without further action on his part. I completely agree that he should be evaluated.

  • Reverend Phillip Adams says:

    I pray for Michael to come to his sences and realize that animals any animals are God’s creatures created by Him. They deserve indeed they have a God given right to be treated humanely. Reverend Phillip Adams +

  • Derek, MD says:

    In response to the assumption that Michael Vick is “intelligent” I would like to reference his NFL combine Wonderlic score of 20. This roughly translates into an IQ of 95100. While this is considered an “average” IQ remember that the Forrest Gump character had an IQ of 75 according to most websites 65 on some others. His brother Marcus scored an 11 on the Wonderlic a 10 is roughly equal to an IQ of 70 or “moderate mental retardation.” Stupid is as stupid does?

  • maggie weis says:

    I THINK THAT WHO EVER IS DOING THAT STUFF TO ANIMALS NEEDS TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE TESTING ON HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Debbie Stone says:

    I must agree that Michael Vick probably is an intelligent human. So intelligent that he knows what strings to pull and exactly what to say that is what he pays his lawyers for to get himself back into the life he is accustomed to living and doing the things that he enjoys?. I think he is smart enough to not do any more dog fighting but my question is simply “What type of animal abuse will he be doing when he gets out of jail?”

  • codi maddox says:

    i dnt think this has any thing to dio with race i am a black amrican myseelf i just think this guy is sincerly ill and needs so serious freaking help there somthing wrong no person should just want to hurt or put a harmless linving thing though any type of pain and suffering when i read what he did i nearly gaged on my keeyboad….sickening..really put this guy in a mental intitution

  • Jessica says:

    Vick is now serving his time and paying his debt to society. Why can’t PETA forgive and allow him to move on with his life. Why would you want to stop the man from doing what he loves because he made bad decisions. I too love animals but not at the expense of hating PEOPLE. Afterall it’s PEOPLE who are made in the image of God and are God’s first love.

  • Gill says:

    I agree with Kelly. He is evil pure and simple…i do not call that a mental illness.

  • Gail Berdahl says:

    I am a psychiatric nurse. It seems all but certain that this man has a personality disorder. To test him most likely would not do more than confirm something obvious. He needs to be court ordered to ongoing therapy to treat his condition. Even someone without a personality disorder who does this to a vulnerable live thing needs therpay. And a lot of it.

  • Jerome says:

    As an African American I would like to say that the simple thing Peta is asking for evaluation is something the public should also want. Individuals who torture animals have a direct link to doing the same thing to humans.It has been extensively proven with solid research to back it up. Nobody is judging nobody.These are just the facts. Oh yeahMichael Vick served his suspension from the NFL at the same exact time he was in jail.Sorry Homey you Vickgot less time than you deserved.I will never see you the same way again.You are sick for doing what you did…and to the family dogs?!?!

  • KELLY says:

    This man is evil. He knew what he was doing and he knew it was cruel. Nowhe is trying tosay he is sorry and acting like he has changed. He is only doing this to make himself look good and be in less trouble. I wish he had got years in prision!!!! I really hope this man has no children God forbid. I do not believe for a moment he is at all sorry. What he did to these poor helpless animals makes me sick. Someday he will have to answer to a higher power. All I see is evil.

  • Candice Lazarus says:

    Someone who does this to innocent animals NEEDS to be evaluated and then kept locked up forever for the sake of other helpless animals.

  • william burgess says:

    Hopefully Vick has changed and now has compassion for all living things. Give him the test.

  • Sharon McCarson says:

    Micheal Vick plese know that what you are doing is so cruel and wrong. You should not torture innocent animals for a cruel sick joke. Please remember vengance belongs to GOD. Please stop.

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