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Dog Eat Dawg

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I’ll have much more in this week’s paper version of Unfair Park, but in the wake of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick's officially pleading guilty to dogfighting charges this morning in Richmond, Virgina, I thought I’d pass along this interesting nugget: Chihuahuas are meaner than pit bulls.

Huh? True, according to Dallas Animal Shelter Commission chairman Skip Trimble. You’ve cringed at the dogfighting videos, and you’ve locked your doors when a stray pit rounds the corner. But, according to Trimble, pit bulls are naturally mild-mannered animals initially bred in England to protect the offspring of royalty.

“They’re not mean, we only make them mean,” says Trimble. “The difference in a pit bull and a Chihuahua is that the Chihuahua will bite you first, but the pit bull will do serious, even fatal damage.”

Nothing about this case is funny … except, for some reason, the image of Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels organizing and gambling on dogfights between two 4-pound runts. Not funny? OK. Moving on.

With protesters from PETA and supporters from a church Vick built warring on the courthouse steps this morning, it’s ever more clear than we’ve stumbled upon another issue divided by race. But KXAS-Channel 5 sports anchor Newy Scruggs says it’s time for the black community to stop excusing Vick and start blaming him -- for his actions, and for hanging with the wrong crowd.

“Look, I’ve struggled cutting ties with old friends too,” says Scruggs, who admits to learning about dogfighting while growing up in Alabama and the Carolinas. “I had to go to a jail to visit a guy I’d known since I was 12 and just let him go. I told him, ‘I can’t take your calls, I can’t have you in my house.’ With the money and responsibility heaped on Michael Vick, like it or not, you’re not the same guy. You can’t hang around the same old guys doing the same old things.”

Vick, by the way, just made his first public statement and, honestly, it was genuine, even touching. He apologized, he didn’t use notes, he seemed remorseful. He also, of course, invoked God. The first step to rebuilding his life and his career was a success. Unfortunately, most of those steps will be spent behind bars. Admitted Vick, “I have a lot of down time coming." --Richie Whitt

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