Professional football player Michael Vick, who spent time in prison for convictions surrounding his infamous involvement in dogfighting and animal torture, now says he would like to have a dog as a pet someday.
Vick, who was reinstated into the NFL in spite of a public outcry at the time, says he now spends a great deal of his time working with the Humane Society of the United States and explaining to young people why dogfighting is wrong. Michael Vick says he is working with HSUS and mentoring kids not because of a court order, but because of his own desire to help others.
Michael Vick told the website theGrio, “I would love to get another dog in the future.” He stated, “I think it would be a big step for me in the rehabilitation process. I think just to have a pet in my household and to show people that I genuinely care, and my love, and my passion for animals.”
Michael Vick pleaded guilty in 2007 for his role in running the dogfighting ring Bad Newz Kennels, a place where dogs were tortured in unthinkable ways. Dogs were trained and forced to fight for the amusement of spectators who also placed bets on the animals. Some dogs were chained to car axles and used as “bait” for the fighting dogs. Dogs that showed little or no inclination to fight were shot, electrocuted, drowned, hanged or beaten to death.
According to a USDA investigative report, Michael Vick personally had a hand in hanging three dogs with a nylon cord tied to a tree, drowning three other dogs in a 5-gallon bucket of water, and repeatedly slamming another dog onto the ground until it died, breaking its neck and back in the process.
HSUS president Wayne Pacelle, who has toured schools with Michael Vick since his release from prison, believes that Vick has changed and would now be a good dog owner. Pacelle told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “I have been around him a lot, and feel that he would do a good job as a pet owner.”
A federal judge sentenced Michael Vick to 23 months in prison and ordered that he serve three years probation after his release during which time he is prohibited from buying, selling or owning dogs. So, until his probation is complete, there is no possibility for Michael Vick to own a dog.