Friday, July 20, 2007

Dog Fighting

I have heard of dog fighting for years, it's not a new phenomenon. Dog fighting has suddenly become more noticeable because of a high profile individuals alleged involvement. Michael Vick, the tremendously talented athlete paid millions to quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, has been indicted along with three others, for "conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture" known as "Bad Newz Kennels", operating over a period of six years from a base at a 15-acre property he owns near Smithfield, Virginia. They face $350,000 in fines and six years in prison if convicted of the federal charges. If he is guilty, I hope he gets every bit of 6 years in prison.

Dog fighting is explained by Wikipedia in the following way:

Dog fighting is a fight between game dogs, involving the actual pitting of two dogs against each other in a pit or a ring to fight for the entertainment of the spectators, and for the purpose of gambling. In addition, respected dogs generate income for their owners from stud fees. It is commonly considered a blood sport, as the dogs literally bite and rip the flesh off of one another while the onlookers root and place bets on which dog will win the match. Dog fighting is illegal in most countries and has been linked to organized crime and gangs.

After the fight, both dogs are usually critically wounded, often with massive bleeding, ruptured lungs, broken bones, and other life-threatening injuries. Generally, the loser of a match dies or is killed, unless he has any salvage value to his owner. When dogs are killed after a match, they are often shot and not euthanized. The animals that survive generally never see a veterinarian.

The Michael Vick case is shedding needed light on this horrible practice, which is a good thing.

It's no secret- I'm not a fan of dogs. Generally, in their domesticated form, I think they are nasty, smelly, gross mongrels. I do, however, appreciate the apparent need some people (indeed, many of my good friends...) have to own a dog as a pet. I don't share that need, but I acknowledge the legitimacy of others to pursue such a form of dominion (even if I think keeping a large carnivore in a relatively small environment stretches the dominion mandate).

The matter of dog fighting is upsetting on a very basic level as it offends simple human sensibilities (even despite our inherent depravity), yet, it also rails against man's God-ordained mandate to exercise dominion over the creation.

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

God has given mankind dominion over the creation, I believe this means we are the caretakers of creation, not plunderers or pillagers of the same. To pinpoint further, I think dominion means managing the creation, indeed managing the animal population for God's glory and attendant human benefit. There is a sense in which God's creation is man's sacred trust. Would God want us to be cruel to His creation, that is, to inflict undo pain upon them? I think not. Obviously, on some level, it "hurts" an animal to die when they are taken for food, but when harvested humanely, such hurt or suffering is drastically limited. Such management, in my biblical opinion, is allowable (for food) and necessary (for population control in many areas).

Cruelty, on the other hand, is what something like dog fighting is and I believe it to be sinful. It runs counter to the dominion mandate described in Genesis 1 (and again in Genesis 9). I'm teaching my boys to hunt, but not to be cruel. If they are going to take a creature's life, it has to be inside the bounds of the laws of the state, it must be done so humanely, and they must eat it. I do my best to live by this. I think it is in line with God's intention regarding our relationship with creation. It is in this light that I voice my opposition to dog fighting and hope for a stiff penalty to be meted out against those who promote such a practice.

In closing, to switch gears- I wish the media (and certain congressmen-like Sen. Byrd of W.Va)would be as outraged at the barbaric practice of human abortion as they are about dog fighting. Both are sinful, but one is exponentially more so.


Anonymous said...

It seems obvious that Mr. Vick is struggling in many ways, both professionally and personally. I don't want to judge him, but it is difficult to see how he is innocent, seeing as how he owned the property on where these atrocities occurred. If he is guilty, maybe a long jail sentence would be a good thing for him. His personal life has been in shambles for quite sometime. I am sure there are massive archive articles in the Atlanta Constitution showing him flashing obscene gestures at the Falcon fans (who pay his salary), his womanizing resulting in STDs, and this latest fiasco. If I were the Falcons owner, I would say 'enough is enough' and cut my losses and lighten my payroll expense, especially for this non-performer.

Frontier Forest said...

As if the atrocities and the barbaric practice of "dog-mangling" is not enough, now we got a high profile, professional “thug” making money and promoting such deplorable acts of violence! Vick should be fined to the max and forever removed from professional sports. Sadly, the thug will probably be back on the field in August! I certainly won't be watching.