After he tweeted a photo last week in which a dog treat box could be seen on his kitchen table, animal lovers were concerned that Michael Vick – who was convicted of operating a dog-fighting operation in 2007 and was directly involved in the killing of poorly performing dogs – may have a new family pet.
The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback quickly removed the picture and evaded questions about his dog ownership, but according to TMZ today, he has admitted he does have a dog.
“I understand the strong emotions by some people about our family’s decision to care for a pet,” Vick said, according to TMZ. “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.”
According to Vick’s indictment, he and two others killed about eight dogs “by various methods, including hanging, drowning and slamming at least one dog’s body to the ground.” He was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
In December 2010, Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) President Wayne Pacelle wrote in his blog that it was “too soon” for Vick to have a dog.
“Pet-keeping is a privilege and he lost that privilege when he committed atrocious acts of cruelty in the months and years before his arrest in 2007,” Pacelle wrote. “As part of his federal sentencing, the court rightly determined that he should not be allowed to have a dog until his probation ends. All of that said, I do think that if his rehabilitation progresses and he handles the probation period flawlessly, it could be a good thing for Michael Vick’s family to have a pet at the end of that process.”
Vick’s probation period ended on July 20.
“Our pet is well cared for and loved as a member of our family,” Vick said, as reported by TMZ. “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.”
PHOTO: Ed Yourdon