Earlier this summer, while on a promotional tour for his book Finally Free, Mike Vick told Piers Morgan that he wanted to get a dog, for his kids. At the time of the interview, his parole terms did not allow for him to have a dog in his possession. Vick, if you remember correctly, served 18 months in federal prison on dogfighting charges. On Thursday, he confirmed that he is now a dog owner, after someone noticed a box of milk bones in a photo he tweeted.
“I understand the strong emotions by some people about our family’s decision to care for a pet,” Vick said in a statement. “As a father, it is important to make sure my children develop a healthy relationship with animals. I want to ensure that my children establish a loving bond and treat all of God’s creatures with kindness and respect. Our pet is well cared for and loved as a member of our family. This is an opportunity to break the cycle. To that end, I will continue to honor my commitment to animal welfare and be an instrument of positive change.”
Since his release from jail, Vick has worked with The Humane Society of the United States and has spoken out against animal cruelty. He takes part in speaking to students at schools, warning them about dogfighting and other acts of cruelty done to animals.
Although Vick has completed his required parole terms, many people feel that he’s the last person that should be allowed to have a dog. Many animal rights activists expressed concern earlier this year when he expressed interests in owning a dog again.
“I’m not a psychopath. I’m not crazy. I’m a human being,” Vick once told The Associated Press about wanting to own a dog. “What happened in my past and what I did in the culture I grew up in doesn’t shape and mold me as the person I am now.”
In a statement to Ecorazzi, The Humane Society, which has worked with Vick’s efforts to rehab his image and educate youngsters about the absurdity of fighting animals for pride and cash, appeased the many vocal opponents of Vick’s family caring for an animal, basically stating that there are bigger concerns that need attention in regards to animal welfare.
“We received confirmation from the media that Michael Vick’s family did acquire a dog,” she writes. “That happened without The HSUS’s knowledge or participation. Vick expressed an interest in getting a dog two years ago for his children once his probation ended — five years after his terrible crimes came to light. We knew he’d be legally allowed to acquire an animal after his period of probation elapsed, and if they were going to bring an animal into their family, we urged him and his wife to go to a shelter or rescue group to save a dog and give an animal a second chance. We expect that Vick will continue to be in the media glare, and there will be a focus on his family’s proper care for the dog.
“We are paying attention to this too, but it’s not a major animal welfare issue. Instead, when it comes to the protection of dogs, we are focusing on further strengthening the legal framework against dogfighting, building community-based programs that instill respect for animals and deter young people from going down the dead-end road of dogfighting, promoting adoption and driving down euthanasia rates, and cracking down on puppy mills. Those are the urgent battles that need the full attention of animal advocates.”
Do you think people should forget about Vick’s past & not make a big deal about him having a dog?