Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Michael Vick Facing Bankruptcy, by Mary Neal

According to news reports released today, Michael Vick is imprisoned for animal abuse and facing bankruptcy.

Michael Vick files for bankruptcy
Tue Jul 8, 11:28 AM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Michael Vick, the former star National Football League quarterback serving a 23-month prison sentence for his role in a dogfighting ring, has filed for bankruptcy protection, court papers show.

The swift justice America demanded regarding Michael Vick's dogs is truly impressive. Animal abuse laws have been strenghtened and are vigorously enforced, just as they should be. My family remains hopeful that some day, the rights of mentally ill citizens will enjoy equal protection to our canine friends. However, this seems unlikely to occur soon. Recently I was sent a petition to sign regarding animal rights that had been circulating only a few weeks, and already it had more than 2,500 signatures. Contrarily, I started a petition requesting an investigation of the death of my mentally ill brother, Larry Neal, while under secret arrest in Shelby County Jail, Memphis, Tennessee, which occurred on August 1, 2003, and Larry's petition now has only 120 signatures after six months.

Whether Larry's life is worth less than a pit bull's according to the United States Justice Department and his fellow human beings because he was black, handicapped, or indigent, I cannot say. Perhaps it is even the NATURE of Larry's handicap that makes his death irrelevant: mental illness.

See the petition calling for DOG JUSTICE FOR THE MENTALLY ILL at this site: http://www.petitiononline.com/Neal/petition.html

I was so impressed with the efforts to enforce justice for Mr. Vick's dogs that I penned this poem, which is available in three languages at this site: http://www.nowpublic.com/culture/dog-justice-mary-neal

DOG JUSTICE, by Mary Neal

Too bad you weren't a dog, my brother
In my heart, I cried
Many more people would care about you
And wonder why you died
You had no spots or floppy ears
You never fetched a ball
Instead, you were a human being
But poor, black, and flawed

You died in jail for mental illness
I know down in my heart
Your death would be investigated
If only you could bark

Dog deaths get swift justice
Their abusers are sent to jail
Poor Mama would have closure now
If you'd had a wagging tail

But you were made in God's image
And some day, I have no doubt
The mentally ill and American dogs
Will have at least equal clout

~ by Mary Neal
All rights protected

Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill
Website: http://wrongfuldeathoflarryneal.com/