Friday, September 05, 2008
life, documented: God Backwards Is Dog
If there is a God - and at this point in my life, I seriously doubt that there is - how can He (or She) explain the likes of Michael Vick and the animals at his notorious dogfighting compound?
I'm not talking about the four-legged animals that were routinely exposed to horrors there, but to the alleged humans that performed these horrors on innocent creatures - babies, really - on a daily basis.
The picture above is of Georgia, a female pit bull that was rescued from Vick's disgusting Bad Newz Kennels by members of Best Friends Animal Society, who are profiled tonight (at 9 p.m., est.) in Darcy Dennett's new documentary, "Saving the Michael Vick Dogs," airing as a two-hour episode of National Geographic's DogTown series.
Doesn't Georgia have wonderful, trusting eyes?
She was forcibly bred on a daily basis, with her tormentors using what Vick called "rape stands" to keep the females stationary while they were being... Well, you know. Georgia also had all of her teeth pulled, presumably by a professional vet (and reprehensible human being) so that she would not bite the males sexually mauling her.
Yes, the ugly idea of dogfighting is just the tip of a really treacherous iceberg. What precedes it is truly grotesque and has rarely been documented - until now. This is a story that even Oprah, an avowed dog-lover, ignored.
These poor, unsuspecting creatures, unlucky to be adopted by animal abusers, were enslaved and tormented 24/7 for their fights - in genuinely horrific training programs. I've always been rather disturbed by the arbitrariness of animals' fates - some end up as pampered pets, some as food. In the case of dogs, they can be fortunate enough to become someone's companion - Man's Best Friend - or arbitrarily (there's that word again) condemned as cheap cash cows for the greedy and inhumane.
The females, like Georgia, are literally bred to death producing puppies that are then (1) strapped onto treadmills for hours at a time, (2) conditioned to hate their own species, (3) starved for days at a time and (4) punished in unspeakable ways when they fail to "perform."
And other animals – cats, kittens, puppies and other dogs – are sacrificed as "training bait."
I think it’s safe to assume that these animals weren't cuddled or played with, or walked, brushed or even patted on the head. Instead, they have their ears cut off, probably while still conscious. And then, as we've read, they are "executed" via hanging, drowning, body slams and worse when they are no longer useful – i.e., profitable.
I can’t even begin to imagine the constant stress that all these animals experience during their short, sad lives. It still goes on - in other "kennels." And I truly believe these poor animals are driven insane by this treatment.
Dennett's documentary profiles Georgia and three other unfortunate, traumatized dogs that Best Friends is trying to rehabilitate.
The odd thing - what's so touching - is how forgiving these animals are, how gentle they are. I find it hard to wrap my mind around a God who would put these innocents at the mercy of thugs.
As Anita Gates points out in her excellent review in The New York Times today, it is unlikely that Vick needed the money brought in by this cruel, dubious business. He made millions tossing a ball. He had it made.
No, this is simply a matter of pure, mean-spirited cruelty for the sake of cruelty - cruelty almost gleefully executed. And that a black man, whose ancestors more than likely experienced approximately what Vick's dog endured, would participate in this torture is truly mind-blowing.
Vick, still serving his 23 months in prison, apologized to the kids he let down. He never bothered apologizing to the animals he casually abused.
So much for Man’s Best Friend, right?
Note in Passing: Check out the hugely affecting Peace for Dogs video. Sweet. Not at all graphic.
(Artwork: Two views of Georgia, saved from a life of forced breeding and other assorted daily cruelties in the documentary, "Saving the Michael Vick Dogs," presented as part of National geographic's "Dogtown" series; two dogs tear apart Vick - only in effigy unfortunately)
Posted by joe baltake at 2:09 PM