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Question of the day: Should Michael Vick be able to own a dog?

December 17, 2010 |  8:28 am


Michael Vick, who served 18 months in prison after being convicted in 2007 for his involvement in an illegal dog-fighting ring, said he wants a dog and believes it would be good for the rehabilitation process.

What do you think? Writers from around Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to leave a comment of your own. 

Steve Rosenbloom, Chicago Tribune

Not only should Michael Vick be allowed to own a dog, he ought to be forced to, via court order. And let me tell you, that dog had better be healthy when he takes it to a court-appointed vet every month as part of his probation. His kids ought to be able to experience the joys of a pet --- in fact, they ought to be the ones to pick out the exact dog or dogs they want at a local shelter or pound --- while Vick is forced to display the respect and kindness towards dogs that he professes to have learned in the slammer. Oh, and Vick has to pick up after.

[Updated at 9:41 a.m.

Bill Kline, Allentown Morning Call

Recovering alcoholics should never again belly up to the bar. Recovering gambling addicts must delete bookies’ phone numbers from their phones. Recovering drug addicts must bypass all parties where guests get their “Michael Phelps on.”

But a former dogfighting operator is somewhat different. Unlike the others, Michael Vick has little or no physiological craving to get back into the ring, so to speak. He needed no detox, so he’ll have no inner temptation to err again. Vick backed the dogfighting operation because he was in with the wrong crowd –- not to get high or drunk. He deserved punishment, to be sure, and served his prison time. But after Vick’s probation expires in 2012, he should be allowed to get a dog for his daughters, perhaps rescuing one from an animal shelter. There is no chance that Vick will ever send the family pet -– or any dog -– back into the circle of death.]

[Updated at 10 a.m.

John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times

Those who think horse racing is cruel must face this fundamental question. Is it better to have never been born or to get three years of life and then risk breaking down and being killed on the track? Because, without horse racing, those horses would have never existed. Such a moral dilemma can also be placed on the Michael Vick question. Is it better to rescue a dog from a shelter and give it to this heinous dog fighter (knowing full well that this dog is going to be well cared for) or to risk that somewhere down the line one less dog will be adopted and eventually be put to death. My wife and I rescued a dog that had been abused and it was a decision that pays us back in love every day. Vick can do the same. So, why is it I still think the answer to him getting a dog is no? Some things just don’t make sense.]