When the Nazis were about to be overtaken by the allies at Auschwitz Death Camp, they implemented their scorched earth policy—in which evidence of their war crimes as well as resources were destroyed so they couldn’t be utilized by opposing forces. The photo above, from “The History Place“, shows crematory II, blown up by the SS seven days before the death camp was liberated.
An estimated 2,000,000 people died in Auschwitz alone, and attempts to destroy the evidence of these heinous crimes against humanity was a given once the Nazi offensive crumbled.
The Nazis were, as you know, not successful in destroying all of the evidence from death camps like Auschwitz and Dachau, and today millions of people visit each year to learn, memorialize, and understand the true atrocities committed there. These sites, although not pleasant, are invaluable social landmarks and serve an educational purpose for future generations.
The photo you see above is a view of Michael Vick’s dogfighting sheds, on the property he formerly owned in Surry County, Virginia.
In 2011, Dogs Deserve Better, the nonprofit organization I founded in 2002 in order to advocate for and free chained dogs, bought the property and moved our headquarters and our rescued dogs there to begin the process of transforming it to the Good Newz Rehab Center for Chained and Penned Dogs.
Our primary goal was to retrofit the house as a temporary home for our rescued dogs while we trained them for loving families; later we planned to build an extension onto the existing house to rescue more dogs, and eventually build a state of the art rehab center on the same 16-acre property which would house and train 50 dogs at a time.
Our secondary goal in the purchase of this particular site for our facility was to preserve the history and remaining evidence of the cruelty of dogfighting left behind in the Michael Vick case.
And by evidence I’m talking about the dogfighting sheds.
I left Dogs Deserve Better after 12.5 years at the helm less than a year ago, at the end of March 2015. I was assured by the new board of directors and board president that the organization would hold to our vision, that the sheds would be preserved, and that they would move forward with all the plans we hadn’t yet been able to accomplish since moving there in 2011.
This has already proven untrue.
In a recent article, it came to light that the rumors I’ve been hearing are correct. Dogs Deserve Better, under the direction of Denise Cohn, is planning to destroy the sheds and plant trees in memory of the dogs who fought and died there instead.
My heart is sickened by the destruction of this important tool in the animal activist crusade against dogfighting.
These sheds, these American landmarks, should be preserved and made into a memorial museum of Vick’s case history and the history of dogfighting—not destroyed by the very organization who bought the property in part to prevent this destruction of evidence.
In destroying this piece of dogfighting history, Dogs Deserve Better will indeed be doing Vick’s dirty work for him, and making him and his fellow dogfighters happy. Well done, DDB.
In a Nazi scorched earth comparison, note this event log from The History Place: October 14, 1943 – Exterminations then cease at Sobibor, after over 250,000 deaths. All traces of the death camp are removed and trees are planted.
What is most disturbing about this comparison between the destruction of death camps in Nazi Europe and the destruction of Michael Vick’s dogfighting sheds is that the wrongdoer in this case (Vick) doesn’t have to scorch the earth himself…the organization which holds the high ground, the nonprofit who SHOULD be standing firmly on the side of the dogs (DDB), plans to do it for him!
I believe that Michael Vick’s sheds and property were indeed a dogfighting death camp. And now Dogs Deserve Better plans to do just what the Nazis did at Sobibor and countless other places—remove the evidence and plant trees.
I stand against this miscarriage of the organization’s stated goals when we bought this property with funds from our donors. Will you stand with me?
I’ve hosted tours of hundreds of visitors through those sheds; I’ve cried and I’ve watched others cry, as they were so touched by the plight of the fighting dog and so moved by what occurred in those sheds that their emotions overtook them.
Not a single person who went in there came out unaffected. That is the power of those sheds.
In 2014 a Boy Scout named Tyler Ducar chose Dogs Deserve Better for his Eagle Scout project, and brought his troop with him to paint and fix what was formerly the fighting sheds as step one in our memorial process for those who lost their lives from the abuses of dog fighting, both here and around the world. These boys worked diligently all weekend, and even brought their fathers and other friends to help.
The turnout was amazing and heartening.
Tyler chose Dogs Deserve Better and the preservation of these sheds as his eagle project because he recognized the value of this memorial landmark to all dog-loving Americans.
His reward for this hard work and for the teens and adults who helped him will be the destruction of that which he sought to help preserve. DDB gave our word to Tyler that we would continue to make these sheds into the landmark and museum they deserve to be.
And now that word means nothing?
Americans as a whole should be deciding whether these sheds stand or fall, not Denise Cohn and a DDB board who has already, within the space of a year, destroyed the promises made to me and to the DDB supporters to continue the vision put forth for the Good Newz Rehab Center for Chained and Penned Dogs.
I believe, and I suspect most dog-lovers believe, that any decision which makes Michael Vick and his dogfighting buddies happy is the wrong decision.
I’m told that Denise Cohn wants the sheds destroyed because they are ugly.
Yes, they are ugly. They are a stark and brutal reminder of what happens in the dogfighting world.
And that’s exactly the point.
If you agree that these sheds should stand and the stated goals and promises to myself, to Tyler, to the DDB supporters, and to dog lovers around the world should be carried out, e-mail Dogs Deserve Better at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell them to stand by their word. Anything less is unacceptable.