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Rapper DMX faces time in the clink for animal cruelty

By pams
Saturday, January 3, 2009 3:25 EDT
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I’m so sick of low-lifes treating dogs like disposable items. The rapper known as DMX (real name Earl Simmons), built his bad-ass image by filling his videos with four-wheelers, motorcycles and pit bulls; he’s one of so many losers out there clearly overcompensating for some severe personal shortcomings — and giving American Pit Bull Terriers a terrible, undeserved reputation as some sort of macho, dangeous dog. Well, now DMX can’t use dogs to pump up his ego anymore because of the cruelty charges that he has plead guilty to. See ya, DMX; hope you enjoy your 90 days in the Arizona pokey.

The report from an Arizona courtroom on Tuesday about rapper DMX sounded oddly familiar to the raid on Michael Vick’s home in 2007 for dog fighting and animal cruelty. The 38 year-old rapper, plead guilty to drug, theft and animal cruelty charges during his day in court. He will serve at least 90 days in jail for his offenses and has agreed not to own any animals in the future.

The report from an Arizona courtroom on Tuesday about rapper DMX sounded oddly familiar to the raid on Michael Vick’s home in 2007 for dog fighting and animal cruelty. The 38 year-old rapper, plead guilty to drug, theft and animal cruelty charges during his day in court. He will serve at least 90 days in jail for his offenses and has agreed not to own any animals in the future.

The rapper, whose real name is Earl Simmons was, arrested in August 2008 when police raided his home in Maricopa County after someone reported possible animal abuse. They found the bodies of three dead dogs that had been buried in a shallow grave and another twelve malnourished Pit bull terriers at the house. The starving dogs had been left in the hot desert sun without food or water.

…DMX has featured the Pit bull dogs in his music videos, but there was also a question in the mind of the court whether some of the dogs had been used for dog fighting. In the past the rapper has supported the illegal and inhumane activity and some of the deceased dogs found at his home had bite marks on their bodies.

Speaking of animal cruelty the dogs confiscated from NFL player Michael Vick are discussed in the cover story in the December 29, 2008 issue of Sports Illustrated by Jim Gorant, “The Healing Touch: What happened to Michael Vick’s dogs?” What happened was that they were rescued, rehabbed, and many rehomed, others had to go to sanctuaries, others are struggling to trust humans again after being so abused.

47 of the 51 Vick dogs were saved. (Two died while in the shelters; one was destroyed because it was too violent; and another was euthanized for medical reasons.) Twenty-two dogs went to Best Friends, where McMillan and his staff chart their emotional state daily; almost all show steady improvement in categories such as calmness, sociability and happiness. McMillan believes 17 of the dogs will eventually be adopted, and applicants are being screened for the first of those. The other 25 have been spread around the country; the biggest group, 10, went to California with BAD RAP. Fourteen of the 25 have been placed in permanent homes, and the rest are in foster care.

One of the sad things about this story is that organizations that purportedly work for fair treatment of animals wanted the Vick dogs destroyed. More after the jump. While PETA has been on the right side of a host of issues, the organization sided with the Humane Society — the Vick dogs should have been put to death — without any prior evaluation.

PETA wanted Jasmine dead. Not just Jasmine, and not just PETA. The Humane Society of the U.S., agreeing with PETA, took the position that Michael Vick’s pit bulls, like all dogs saved from fight rings, were beyond rehabilitation and that trying to save them was a misappropriation of time and money. “The cruelty they’ve suffered is such that they can’t lead what anyone who loves dogs would consider a normal life,” says PETA spokesman Dan Shannon. “We feel it’s better that they have their suffering ended once and for all.” If you’re a dog and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals suggests you be put down, you’ve got problems. Jasmine has problems.

It’s horrible that the APBT, originally bred for the capacity to gamely fight other dogs — never to be human-aggressive — is being destroyed by the likes of Vick, DMX, and greedy backyard breeders. The APBTs are not man-eating dogs, it’s about bad owners, not bad dogs.

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.”

Perhaps that’s why for decades pit bulls were considered great family dogs and in England were known as “nanny dogs” for their care of children. Petey in The Little Rascals was a pit bull, as was Stubby, a World War I hero for his actions with the 102nd Infantry in Europe, such as locating wounded U.S. soldiers and a German spy. Most dog experts will attest that a pit bull properly trained and socialized from a young age is a great pet.

…The pit bull’s p.r. mess can be likened to a lot of teens driving Porsches — accidents waiting to happen. Too many dogs were irresponsibly bred, encouraged to be aggressive or put in situations in which they could not restrain themselves, and pit-bull maulings became the equivalent of land-based shark attacks, guaranteeing a flush of screaming headlines and urban mythology.

Some contend that this hysteria reached its apex with a 1987 Sports Illustrated cover that featured a snarling pit bull below the headline beware of this dog. Despite the more balanced article inside, which was occasioned by a series of attacks by pit bulls, the cover cemented the dogs’ badass cred, and as rappers affected the gangster ethos, pit bulls became cool. Suddenly, any thug or wannabe thug knew what kind of dog to own. Many of these people didn’t know how to train or socialize or control the dogs, and the cycle fed itself.

And the of breed-specific legislation out there only exacerbates the problem. Punish the deed, not the breed.

There’s a wonderful photo gallery of people with the rehabbed Vick dogs on the SI.com site.

Related:
* Why Does The Michael Vick Case Hurt Hip-Hop?

 
 
 
 
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