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A Happy Ending for Michael Vick's Pit Bulls ...


I read a heartwarming story about Michael Vick's pit bulls in Sports Illustrated while at my dentist's office this week.

The story, available here, had the most gorgeous pictures of some of the rescued dogs currently in foster homes (be sure to have a look at the photo gallery).

Of the 51 dogs rescued from Vick's kennels, 47 of them are alive and well, and being rehabilitated. Many are going to be put up for adoption. While all of them are experiencing various states of trauma, none are exhibiting any violence toward human beings.

One of the things I learned about pit bulls after reading this article is that, as much as they have been bred to fight other dogs, an artifact of that breeding is that they are exceptionally gentle with humans. This is because "breeders" (if you can even use that term for the scumbags that breed these animals to fight) select for dogs who are ferocious with other dogs but do not turn on their handlers when being separated during a fight.

As Sports Illustrated says: "In truth these dogs are among the most people-friendly on the planet. It has to be. In an organized dogfight three or four people are in the ring, and the dogs are often pulled apart to rest before resuming combat. (The fight usually ends when one of the dogs refuses to reengage.) When separating two angry, adrenaline-filled animals, the handlers have to be sure the dogs won't turn on them, so over the years dogfighters have either killed or not bred dogs that showed signs of aggression toward humans. "Of all dogs," says Dr. Frank McMillan, the director of well-being studies at Best Friends Animal Society, a 33,000-acre sanctuary in southern Utah, "pit bulls possess the single greatest ability to bond with people."

The SI story asks a provocative question: given the number of unwanted dogs and other animals in shelters all over the country, was it reasonable to devote so much time, attention and resources on these 47 high-risk dogs?

What do you think?
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