As 100 to 150 sign-carrying protesters stood outside, convicted dogfighter Michael Vick received the Ed Block Courage Award at a Baltimore banquet hall tonight.
Vick, who served a 21-month prison sentence for dogfighting before getting signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, has said he feels he deserves the award. He was the unanimous choice of his teammates.
“I think everybody has a right to their own opinion. I feel like I’ve done everything I said I would do,” Vick said in an interview with WBAL during the ceremony. “My peers felt like I was doing the right thing … that I displayed courage and sportsmanship and leadership.”
Protesters began gathering at Martin’s West in Woodlawn before 4 p.m., carrying signs that said, among other things, ”No awards for dog killers” and “Cowards abuse animals.”
“I am here to protest that the Eagles have given Michael Vick a Courage Award and everyone else has gone along with it,” said Darlene Sanders Harris, an organizer of the protest. “I don’t think he exudes courage or any of the qualities they are looking for in an Ed Block recipient.”
Animal advocates have voiced their dismay at Vick being named to receive the honor since last December when his teammates chose him for the award.
When Vick confirmed he would be attending, the foundation had to boost security for the event and scrap the long-standing tradition of having the athletes mingle with fans to sign autographs.
Every year 32 NFL players receive the honor, which is named after a longtime Baltimore Colts trainer who also worked as a physical therapist at a hospital for disabled children. The award honors players who are “role models” and “exemplify commitments to the principles of sportsmanship and courage.”
Maryland SPCA’s Executive Director Aileen Gabbey released the following statement about the decision to give the award to Vick:
“The Maryland SPCA remains shocked and disappointed that Michael Vick will, indeed, receive an award for courage from the Ed Block Foundation after being nominated by his team. Mr. Vick does not deserve this honor. He has been convicted of horrific crimes against living creatures; he has served jail time; he has somehow been re-employed. His attempts to speak on behalf of animals have been half-hearted and disingenuous. None of this warrants a special award.
“No truly courageous or honorable person would say ‘Yes, I deserve an award.’ Yet, this is precisely what Mr. Vick has done, defending his nomination and claiming that he has suffered hardships. He has never suffered the hardships, or torture, that his poor dogs did at his hands. The honorable thing for Mr. Vick to do would be to not accept this award. This would actually show some courage and that he is serious about being on the road to atonement for his terrible actions against innocent lives.”
Posted by jwoestendiek March 9th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal advocates, animal cruelty, awards, baltimore, banquet, darlene sanders harris, demonstration, dog fighting, dogfighting, ed block courage award, michael vick, news, philadelphia eagles, pit bulls, prison, protest, protestors, sentence, vick
News that Michael Vick is expected to attend the 32nd annual Ed Block Courage Awards dinner in Baltimore Tuesday has led to a change in the ceremony’s format and an increase in security.
Vick, who was convicted in 2007 of running a dogfighting ring, is one of 32 winners to be honored with the award, which singles out one member of each NFL team for his courage, sportsmanship and inspiration to his community.
Vick’s unanimous selection by his Philadelphia Eagles teammates triggered angry e-mails to the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation, a petition drive and a planned protest by dog lovers and animal welfare activists at the award’s ceremony, to be held at Martin’s West, 6817 Dogwood Road, from 4 to 10 p.m.
More than 100 people have already signed up to protest at the event — a number that could grow as a result of the news that the quarterback will be attending.
In addition to scrapping the long-standing tradition of having the athletes mingle with fans and sign autographs, organizers say they are boosting security, according to the Baltimore Sun.
“We’ve put in place enough [guards] to make sure that our players are safe and that everything runs smoothly.”said Ed Block Courage Award Foundation spokesman Paul Mittermeier.
The Block Award is named for a former team trainer of the Baltimore Colts, who worked for years to help abused children.
Criticism for bestowing the award on Vick has come from groups ranging from animal rights activists to the American Kennel Club. “It is unconscionable that a man who tortured and abused helpless animals be honored by an organization dedicated to ending abuse,” the AKC said.
Vick will be accompanied to the event by Michael Markarian, chief operating officer of the Humane Society of the United States, a group for which the quarterback has made public appearances in recent months, attempting to steer youth away from dogfighting.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 5th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, award, baltimore, ceremony, convicted, conviction, courage, courage award, demonstration, dogfighter, dogfighting, ed block, foundation, honor, increased, inspiration, martin's west, michael vick, news, petition, philadelphia eagles, protest, quarterback, security, sportsmanship, vick, vick protest
Sadie, a four-year-old Scottish terrier, was named best in show at Westminster, beating out 2,500 entrants at the 134-year-old dog show.
“She’s the total package,” said Elliot Weiss, of Eagle, Idaho, who judged the Best in Show round before a cheering, capacity crowd at Madison Square Garden. “This is the complete dog … That’s what you want a Scottie to look like.”
Sadie went into the competition as a favorite of both oddsmakers and experts, having won both the National Dog Show in suburban Philadelphia in November and the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship in California in December.
Unlike in recent years, when relatively unknown crowd favorites Uno, a beagle, and Stump, an aging Sussex spaniel, captured top honors, this year’s best in show was no surprise.
On Tuesday, the loudest cheers were for a sleek Doberman Pinscher and a French Bulldog whose mugging won the crowd over, Reuters reported.
The final round of judging was disrupted when two female protesters strode out to the winner’s circle and held up signs, including one reading “Mutts rule,” a reference to the “Dogs rule” ad campaign that has run throughout the competition. The protesters were removed by security.
Terriers are the winningest group in WKC history, having won nearly half the events throughout the club’s history. Sadie also made last year’s Best in Show round. The WKC was her 112th Best in Show and the eighth Westminster Kennel Club victory for a Scottie.
This year’s competition saw 2,500 entrants representing 173 breeds and varieties. Other breeds vying for the big prize on Tuesday were a toy Poodle, a Puli, a Whippet and a Brittany.
Handler Gabriel Rangel said Sadie was “a very happy dog. She always enjoys herself. Nobody ever tells her ‘no.’
Posted by jwoestendiek February 17th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 134th, 2010, animals, best in show, breeds, competition, contest, disrupted, dog, dogs, favorite, judges, judging, new york, pets, protest, sadie, scottie, scottish terrier, show, top dog, westminster, wins
Michael Vick received a rousing ovation from Philadelphia Eagles fans last night when he took the field for the first time.
Only a handful of protesters gathered at the stadium before Thursday night’s exhibition game against Jacksonville, including three women who held a sign outside Lincoln Financial Field that said, “Murderers are not role models.”
Inside the stadium, though, Eagles fans, some clad in Vick jerseys, defended the quarterback, saying he had been punished for his crime and deserved a second chance.
Prior to the game, as fans tailgated outside the stadium, dog lovers were holding a competing tailgate party on the other side of town.
It was part of the Pennsylvania SPCA’s “2nd Chance Dogs” campaign to increase awareness of dogfighting and encourage adoption of rescued pit bulls. The initiative was launched after the Eagles signed Vick, upon completion of his 18 month term in federal prison for running a dogfighting ring.
“As a lot of people have pointed out, the animals never got a second chance,” the SPCA chief executive Sue Cosby said. “We need to speak for them.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 28th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 2nd chance dogs, debut, exhibition, football, game, michael vick, nfl, ovation, pennsylvania, philadelphia eagles, protest, protestors, pspca, spca, tailgating, video
Protests were held in Seoul yesterday — the International Day of Action for Dogs and Cats in South Korea — calling for an end to using dogs and cats as food.
In Seoul, members of the group Coexistence for Animal Rights on Earth wore dog costumes and climbed into cages in a downtown plaza to draw attention to the issue.
“Dogs and cats are not livestock, but they are our partners. They are not food, but they are our friends,” one protester told New Tang Dynasty Television (click the link for a video). “We should abolish the bad habits of eating dogs or cats.”
Other demonstrations were planned at South Korean consulates and embassies around the world.
Although the practice is illegal under South Korean law, an underground industry continues to flourish, with thousands of restaurants in Seoul alone serving dog. Some studies have estimated as many as one in three South Koreans have eaten dog meat.
Animal advocacy groups argue that eating dog — whether its part of the country’s culture or not — is a practice that should be ceased. Others disagree. “It’s my country’s own food culture, so South Koreans will continue to eat dog meat no matter what other countries say against it,” Park Seo-ho, who owns a restaurant that sells dog meat, told the BBC.
An international online petition campaign at has been launched in 10 languages world wide to stop the consumption of dog meat , where some groups estimate more than 2 million dogs are raised and killed for food at dog farms in South Korea every year.
United Dogs and Cats is hosting an online petition campaign to draw the world’s attention to the cruel treatment of many dogs in South Korea despite animal protection laws that have been in place since early 1990s. During the first week of the campaign, over 50,000 signatures were gathered world wide.
“This is probably the cruelest thing that could happen to companion animals – many are tortured and end up on dinner tables. And the strangest thing is that it is happening right under our noses in one of the most rapidly developing countries in the 21st century,” said United Dogs and Cats head Ragnar Sass.
(Photo: Dogs awaiting butchering at the Moran Market near Seoul, by John Woestendiek; not to be used without permission)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 15th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: cages, care, coexistence for animal rights, costumes, culture, demonstrations, dishes, dogs, eat, eating, food, international day of action for dogs and cats, korea, moran market, petition, protest, restaurants, seoul, serve, south korea, united dogs and cats, worldwide