urx unit loader 'Rescue Ink Unleashed': Guys With Tats Save Cats (and Dogs)

Here’s my syndicated piece from this week about some great guys doing great work …

RescueInk_Joe_Panz.JPGThere’s a
lot of talk these days about whether the NFL’s Michael Vick – recently released
from prison after serving time for running a dog-fighting ring, and now signed
on with the Philadelphia Eagles – can ever redeem himself in the eyes of the
pet-loving public.

If anyone
knows a little about that, it’s 6-foot-2-inch, 250-pound Joe Panz (left) of the
animal-welfare group Rescue Ink, members of which are the stars of a new
National Geographic Channel series called “Rescue Ink Unleashed,” premiering
Friday, Sept. 25.

His group
includes guys who love tattoos and motorcycles, and more than a couple of them
have also redeemed themselves from rough backgrounds and now work to rescue and
rehabilitate abused animals.

“We believe
in second chances,” Panz says, “that’s why we give the animals a second chance.
However, it is a shame that somebody with the notoriety of that person, with
all the kids that followed him, would choose to do something that he did.

“It’s just
very unfortunate, and it shows people that it doesn’t mater how much money you
have, if you do these types of things, you will be brought to justice, and you
will be punished.

“So it is
something that shows everybody that the society we live in today is not going
to tolerate this anymore. And he is a person that couldn’t get out of it, even
though he tried as hard as he could, and he had to pay his penalty.”

(Photo right: Rescue Ink member Batso and his dog, Inka)

Rescue Ink,
based in the New York
metropolitan area, came to national prominence after an August 2008 profile in
The New York Times. Despite their sympathetic, compassionate interiors, these
tough guys use their imposing exteriors to pry animals out of bad situations
and convince the abusers to change their ways.

does what they do,” Panz says, “and we do what we do. We don’t leave a note on
your door or give you a ticket. We stayed there until the situation was
resolved. We have different tactics, let’s put it that way.”