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Two Star Athletes’ Very Different Approaches to Animal Abuse

Written by PETA | March 30, 2009

In a recent Houston Chronicle article, Rockets small forward Ron Artest openly admits that he doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to animal care. In the article, he confesses that because he spends a lot of time traveling, he once left one of his dogs vulnerable to neglect. In a refreshingly candid admission, he says, “I was an irresponsible pet owner.”

What sets Artest apart from other “irresponsible pet owners,” though, is that he is man enough to admit that he’s made mistakes, and he’s now doing all he can to educate others so that they don’t make the same mistakes he did. “PETA came and showed me how to be a better pet owner,” he says. “I loved my dogs. You just need to be more mature and accountable for how you treat your animals. I had to be educated.”

These days, Artest can be found volunteering his time to help the Houston Humane Society or lending his star power to PETA’s campaigns. “I’ve told my people that whenever [the Houston Humane Society] need[s] me for something, they’ve got to make it happen,” he says. “I’ve always loved animals. Now I’ve learned how to be responsible.”

In a video that was shot behind the scenes at the photo shoot for his PETA spay-and-neuter ad, Artest talks about his passion for helping animals, and he also condemns dogfighting. (He has even placed a plea right on the front page of his personal Web site to urge people to spay and neuter their animal companions.) Check out the interview b-roll here:


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Speaking of dogfighting, another star athlete who has had run-ins with the law over his treatment of dogs isn’t exactly jumping through hoops in an effort to show that he’s learned the error of his ways. Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback and convicted dogfighter Michael Vick did attend PETA’s “Developing Empathy for Animals” seminar, but he has not gone out of his way to show the public or his fans that he feels any remorse for torturing and killing dogs.

Now, just as he is on the verge of being released from federal prison, Vick is reportedly shopping around for a book deal. It’s pretty unlikely that his book will be subject to the “Son of Sam” law (which is a type of law that aims to prevent criminals from profiting from their crimes) because Vick’s victims were dogs. Unless the book basically consists of the words, “I was a sick, cruel, despicable jerk, and I’m sorry,” and all the proceeds go to animal protection charities, we ain’t buyin’ it.

Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky

Commenting is closed.
  • Emily says:

    If anyone has the nerve to try and make this into a racial situation and not about the animals then they are uneducated and racist themselves! Who was there to stop Vick from drowning hanging and killing these poor animals by electricution? He has absolutely no right to do any of these things. It has NOTHING to do with race and stop trying to make it. It does not matter if he was asian american indian greek or purple for that matter what he did was wrong and he didn’t get enough of a punishment in my opinion!

  • Pe Evan Turner Alan is gay says:

    dont bad mouth vick dude learned his lesson. just because he didnt attend a seminar doesnt mean anything. and his book isnt about him going to prison or the dogfighting its called a biography which is about his life not just the past few years.

  • The Bu says:

    I want to know from the writer of this article what more does Michael Vick have to do? Get on camera and cry about what he has done? He has stated that what he did was hidious and he did not use his best judgement. He has also said that he will speak out against dogfighting especially when it comes to urban areas. And he has agreed to that with the U.S. Humane Society. So again I ask what more does Mr. Vick have to do to prove to America I guess that has has in fact learned from his past????? Can ANYONE answer that???

  • Bill says:

    Regarding the comments on April 3rd about trying to understand the others’ point of view… What does M.Vick torturing and killing dogs have to do with the racially biased Justice System…Nothing. Are you suggesting we put everything aside until the issues you feel passioniate about are resolved? If so when do you think it’ll be alright for us to get upset with a man who tortured and killed dogs for his personal entertainment?

  • Logan says:


  • Linda Kay Daniel says:

    Michael Vick is a sleazeball. An ignorant person can be educated to right and wrong. He choses to remain ignorant. I pray he has no future in the NFL nor any future that pads his wallet. JFK said it best years ago “to educate our people and especially our children to humane attitudes and actions toward living things is to preserve and strengthen our national heritage and the moral values we champion inthe world”. LindaKay Reno NV

  • David says:

    Just let Michael Vick try to get his book deal as soon as the publisher finds out his “track record” with the dogs he so viciously cruelly destroyedphyscially emotionallythey will turn around run in the opposite direction because no self respecting book publisher will want that much bad publicity following them around forever. Michael Vick should NEVER BE ALLOWED TO OWN AN ANIMAL EVER AGAIN! As for Mr Artest the fact that he “owned up” to his actions makes him a far better person than Michael Vick WILL EVER BE!!!

  • patrizia says:

    Mr. Artest rocks! There should be more people like him converted people who chose the path of being compassionate to animals and his pets. Ditto what the article said about Michael Vick.

  • Mike says:

    The divide in this country between the narrow minded antianimal rights folks and the narrow minded animal rights folks will not be bridged unless people try harder to see the others’ point of view. How many of you railing against Michael Vick even bother to give a moment’s thought to the fact that our socalled prison system is so racially biased that a black man has six times the chance of a white man of going to prison? I would think that Michael Vick could be forgiven if the lesson he learned in prison is that it was filled with black men whose voices are not heard which is true and not that animals are victims of a brutal system of exploitation and neglect which they are. Further meat eating dog breeding people are not all evil I don’t do either for the record if we don’t face up to that we can’t begin to move people.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    I don’t know if this is still available but PETA offered a shirt that I believe had this on it Here’s your 7 Michael Vick with pictures of seven of his victims before treatment. If Michael Vick goes back to playing football perhaps a large banner version of that shirt could be made on game day PETA protesters could stand near the entrance of the stadium holding up that banner for all the world to see. Also have some PETA members smuggle one into the stands and when that camera swings in their direction pull out that banner and make sure it gets on national television. In the tradition of funny colored wigs and John 316

  • Tammy says:

    Even if I saw Vick in a commercialI would not believe him at all….He hasn’t shown any remorse for the dogs that were fought tortured and killed by his hand.He isn’t sorry for anyone but himself… Who wants to read about how these animals suffered? I don’t. or does he plan to leave that part of it out? I really dislike this man. He sucks and will forever suck in MY book!

  • Amy Thompson says:

    For you Nascar fans know that Sprint Cup driver Ryan Newman is a huge supporter of animals funding humane societies spayneuter clinics adoption drives etc. through the Ryan Newman Foundation. Check it out on his website.

  • Brien Comerford says:

    Tony La Russa is one of the most animal friendly people in sports. He’s an animal loving vegetarian who helps to oversee a nokill shelter for dogs and cats.

  • Sheina says:

    I wish that PETA would adjust their marketing and campaigns in a similar fashion to PAC’s. The delivery is more impacting. I would love to see a PAC type commercial on Michael Vick showing that not only is dog fighting cruel to the animals but it is also connected to gang activity guns and drugs. Unfortunately the majority of sports fan who support him aren’t empathetic of animals but they’d look at the gang related activity.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    The best way to show Michael Vick how the public feels about what he did is to completely ignore him. Don’t buy his book boycott the team he plays for etc. On second thought about boycotting the team when the players are called out on the field and everybody screams when their names are called this is what Michael Vick shoud hear when his name is called dead silence. Not one sound not one word…no matter what he does on that field when it comes to something he has done the only sound he should hear is the sound of his career and popularity being flushed down the toilet.

  • Dolly Austin says:

    No the only thing that will hurt michael vick is in the wallet..don’t allow him to play sports again..ever!!

  • Ricky says:

    If Vick gets a book deal…then the publisher will be flooded with emails and phone calls and when Vick does a book signing…well that will be a fun day for the cameras!!!

  • Canaduck says:

    Wow Ron Artest is cool.