And how. Because, as Nicholas Kristof ($) notes in today's Times: You can monetarily support all the apocalyptic horror in the world you want to, but you never, under any circumstances, eff with ASPCA:
...Good, conscientious people... aren’t moved by genocide or famines. Time and again, we’ve seen that the human conscience just isn’t pricked by mass suffering, while an individual child (or puppy) in distress causes our hearts to flutter.Now, the article points out that the key here is to wrap your narrative around a single person/dog. Few people favored taking action to help the thousands of Rwandan kids getting tossed into wells and outhouses over a decade ago. But everyone cared about Baby Jessica in Midland, Texas. (And don't tell me Texas is any less foreign to your average American than Rwanda.)
Even the right animal evokes a similar sympathy. A dog stranded on a ship aroused so much pity that $48,000 in private money was spent trying to rescue it — and that was before the Coast Guard stepped in. And after I began visiting Darfur in 2004, I was flummoxed by the public’s passion to save a red-tailed hawk, Pale Male, that had been evicted from his nest on Fifth Avenue in New York City. A single homeless hawk aroused more indignation than two million homeless Sudanese.
Today, Vick looks to have only one thing left going for him: He is charged with keeping almost 70 dogs, and that's a heck of a lot better, PR wise, than maltreating just one dog. But at some point, pictures may come out, after which the media would settle on a dominant picture of one of these canines. Let's call him Chuck.
If people in Atlanta (which I hear has a 24-hour news network with a lot of time to fill) see how a dog named Chuck had to fight for his life and no one even cared enough to scratch his belly afterwards, Vick is stewed.
(Note: I am not being superior here. I hated those people trying to evict Pale Male from their own private property.)