While it’s debatable whether Michael Vick has been genuine with his efforts to train his Belgian Malinois, Angel, by regularly attending classes at a PetSmart store in New Jersey, it’s clear that the people of Los Angeles County aren’t his biggest fans.
According to Fishbowl LA, the NFL player and convicted dog fighter’s upcoming book-signing events at three Barnes & Noble bookstores in the L.A. area have been canceled by Vick’s book publisher.
After it was announced that Vick would go on a small book tour to promote his book “Finally Free: An Autobiography,” animal lovers started an online petition asking Barnes & Noble to cancel the signings at its stores. The petition, which already has more than 5,000 signatures, states, “Barnes & Noble has scheduled multiple book signings in support of this convicted perpetrator of animal cruelty. Tell them this is not acceptable!”
Before the book signings were canceled, people also flooded the Barnes & Noble Facebook page with angry comments pleading with the company to stop supporting Vick. Many pledged to boycott the chain and shop elsewhere.
Meanwhile, three Vick appearances in New Jersey, Atlanta and Pennsylvania were canceled due to threats of violence.
Byron Williamson, president of Worthy Publishing, the publisher of Vick’s book, told PhillyMag.com, “While we stand by Michael Vick’s right to free speech and the retailers’ right to free commerce, we cannot knowingly put anyone in harm’s way, and therefore we must announce the cancellation of Mr. Vick’s book-signing appearances… (These) threats of violence have been reported to the police, and are being taken very seriously by local authorities.”
Some Facebook commenters are upset that Vick’s book-signing events were canceled by the publisher instead of Barnes & Noble.
When Vick adopted Angel last summer, many animal lovers were skeptical of his claim that he had turned over a new leaf and would be a responsible pet parent. Between the negative reaction to Vick taking dog-training classes — many believe it’s just a publicity stunt — and now the canceled appearances on his book tour, it’s clear pet parents won’t be giving Vick a second chance any time soon.
PHOTO: Matthew Straubmuller