Unconscionable. That is the only word for NFL star Michael Vick’s participation in a cruel and inhumane dogfighting ring in rural Virginia, aptly name Bad Newz Kennels.

Animal fighting is barbaric, disgusting and sick. In this case, animals were electrocuted, shot, drowned, hanged and most killed, of course, during the fights in the makeshift rings. If this is some kind of macho rage, breeding pit bulls for “sport,” then maybe the NFL and Nike should wash their hands of Vick sooner rather than later. Nike should certainly not be marketing shirts that say “Michael Vick: Hero” on them. If Vick is guilty of involvement in this activity, the NFL should ban him and Nike should drop him. 

For over 15 years we have been involved with the Humane Society of the United States to stop such activity. HSUS has won ballot initiatives across the country to ban cockfighting and dogfighting. Congress passed a law just this year that makes the interstate transporting of dogs for fighting a felony.

The speech Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) gave on the floor of the Senate was so moving and so true. Read it. Watch it on YouTube. Think about it. As he said, “Over the centuries of time these creatures of God have made a place in our hearts as well as in our homes. The affection that a dog supplies is unlimited, unqualified, and unconditional. I am confident ... that the hottest places in hell are reserved for the sick and brutal who hold God’s creatures in such brutal and cruel contempt.” Well said, Senator, well said.

Maybe it is time for Congress to pass legislation that prohibits such animal fighting and imposes stiff penalties once and for all.