Bullmarket French Bulldog Breeders

Riding on the Vick Train


I’ve noticed a few blogs lauding California t-shirt company ‘Big Dogs’ for launching a new line of Michael Vick slamming t-shirts. I assume they all got their info from the same press release, the one put out by the aptly named ‘Pacific Coast Business Times’.

Dogster, Itchmo and a few other well regarded pet blogs have all written entries patting Big Dogs on the back for doing such a fine job of lampooning Michael Vick.

Personally – as you’ve likely guessed by now – I’m unimpressed.

Read more after the break.

An excerpt from the California Business Times article reads:

On Sept. 1, Big Dogs released four “humorous but thought-provoking” T-shirts with an anti-Michael Vick, anti-animal cruelty theme. Within a week and a half, Big Dogs had sold more than 10,000 of them in its stores nationwide and online.

But the clothing firm emphasizes that it’s not exploiting Vick, a former Atlanta Falcons quarterback, to boost sales. A portion of the profits made from the new shirt designs will be funneled into the Big Dogs Foundation, which gives money to animal welfare organizations locally and nationally.

“When we feel like we can help and make a difference through the graphics on our T-shirts and through the proceeds, we’re happy to take a shot at it,” said Mike Walker, Big Dogs vice president of marketing. Although Vick and three associates were slapped with federal dog-fighting charges in July, Big Dogs waited until Vick’s Aug. 27 admission of guilt before producing the shirts.

The four designs include one in which a crying Vick is splayed over the knee of a big dog with its paw raised for a spank. The type above and below reads “Who’s Yer Daddy?”

Walker said the company knew it might face criticism over the shirts. “Like most things you do where you take a stand, there are people who either don’t agree with you or feel like you’re capitalizing on it for publicity,” Walker said. “Our graphics have always commented on current cultures and social issues. Most of them have a little more fun and humor than this one.”

Well, that’s dandy, especially the part about them not “not exploiting Vick”. Personally, I could a tinker’s damn if Michael Vick is exploited for gain by every company in the known world. This isn’t about exploiting him, though. Just as with HSUS’ fund raising campaign, this is about exploiting the victims who’ve already suffered the most – this is about exploiting the dogs.

After all, what’s a “portion of the proceeds” mean, anyways? Does it mean a nickel from every sale? Does it mean a dollar from all of the sales? Who knows – because Big Dogs isn’t telling. Until they do tell – until I read the words “100% of the profits go to”, I’m going to feel free to regard them as just one more company hopping on the Vick-ploitation train.

Out of curiosity, I did a quick search on eBay for “Michael Vick Dog Fighting“. I turned up 35 different items, all of them variations on the “Vick Sucks” theme, and one of them being sold as “SACK VICK dog fighting Michael mike SUCKS peta shirt”. No mention of PETA in the actual item description, of course, so it’s good to see PETA getting screwed along with the Vick dogs, at least for once.

How much money do you think could have been raised for the care, housing and training fees of the dogs by now, if every company out there making a buck off of them was giving that buck back? I can only guess it would be enough to keep them all in Kuranda beds and kongs for a long, long time.

2 replies
  1. Patty Dogster
    Patty Dogster says:

    Hi Carol –

    This is really well-written and well argued. We certainly love our dogs at Dogster, and I was enjoying laughing about products like these because so many companies seemed to be taking a stand against him, but noww I really see your point about all of these products exploiting those poor dogs and the events surrounding them.

    Thanks for your perspective!

  2. frogdogz
    frogdogz says:

    Thanks, Patty. I admit that when I saw the Vick chew toy, I thought it was pretty cute. Then I heard how many they’d sold, and I thought “wait a minute, where’s all that money going?”.

    Meanwhile, Bad Rap and the ASPCA trudge along, under funded, asking for donations just to get enough beds and toys for the dogs while they’re being evaluated. How unfair is that?

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