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A happy ending for some of Michael Vick's rescued fighting dogs

Handsome Dan the Vicktory dog
Handsome Dan the Vicktory dog
Aleksandra Gajdeczka

Ever wonder what happened to Michael Vick's mistreated dogs?

You may recall the sad headlines which began in 2007, when it was discovered that a dog-fighting ring was being headed by Michael Vick, the Atlanta Falcons star quarterback at the time. Vick was indicted by the federal government in connection with the dogfighting operation that was allegedly based on the property he owned in Southeastern Virginia. Many news articles detailed the terrible abuse that was inflicted on Vick's "fighting dogs." Vick's dogfighting ring consisted of mostly pit bulls, a breed of dog that is known for its exceptional strength and resiliency.

Pit bulls are often given a "bad rap" because some misguided individuals train them to be "guard dogs," training that involves severe beatings with objects, kicking, punching, and otherwise abusing the dogs, making them learn to fear and attack humans often without provocation. They learned to be mistrustful of humans, because of what these particular individuals did to them. Other cruel individuals train the dogs to fight other dogs (i.e., to become fighting dogs),using the same methods, but involving other dogs in the "training."

The truth is that pit bulls are not BORN to fight, they are TRAINED to fight by these misguided and cruel individuals. These people enjoy watching these dogs "fight to the death," just for their sheer entertainment. Often gambling is involved, with observers betting on which dog will win a fight, and making a profit if they pick the winning dog. The dog that loses the fight usually loses his or her life in the process. These abused dogs live their lives "learning" how to fight, and are forced to exhibit their "skills" in dog-fighting events, which observers pay money to see the dogs fight to the death.

Back to Michael Vick himself: Upon Vick's indictment, all of the dogs on Vick's property were confiscated when federal officials became aware of the dogfighting operation. Many of the dogs had to be euthanized because of severe injuries, and a myriad of health issues. But, as the title of this article states, there were happy endings for many of Vick's confiscated dogs. Happily, many of them were able to be placed with rescue organizations around the country. One of these rescue organizations was Best Friends Animal Society, a non-profit animal sanctuary, located in Kanab, UT.

Best Friends rescued 22 of Vick's dogs, nursing them back to health, and getting them to trust humans again, in the hopes of placing them with their "forever homes." Homes where they were no longer subject to the cruel mistreatment they endured while being part of Vick's operation. Homes where they could just be dogs, and finally enjoy the experience of being loved by humans. "Forever homes," where they could live out the rest of their lives in a happy and loving environment.

Best Friends has been diligently keeping the public aware of the group of Vick's rescued dogs, whom they affectionately call the "Vicktory Dogs." Best Friends publishes their own recurring newsletter, which not only covers news about the Vicktory Dogs, but also includes other stories with happy endings for many types of animals, not just dogs. They also provide updates and new developments on their website.

In January 2011, Best Friends reported the one-year anniversary of the placement of "Handsome Dan," one of the many dogs they rescued from Vick's operation. Catch up with Handsome Dan and other rescued dogs at the Sanctuary and in their forever homes!

You can donate to Best Friends Animal Society to help all animals in their care get the help they need to find their forever homes.

Join the pit-bull initiative from Best Friends to learn more about how you can get involved.

Catch up with some of the Vicktory dogs at Best Friends.

Latest Developments on Michael Vick's conviction:

  • On May 21, 2009, Michael Vick was released from prison after serving a 19 month confinement, even though he was sentenced to 23 months in prison. However, he remained under house arrest for another two months.
  • On December 10, 2007, a part of Michael Vick's legal issues ended when he was sentenced to 23 months in prison.
  • Vick checked himself into jail on November 19, 2007, three weeks before his scheduled sentencing, because he allegedly hoped his early arrival would result in some leniency from the court.
  • On August 27, 2007 Vick pleaded guilty to federal charges related to dogfighting, and faced a sentence of 1 to 5 years in prison.
  • All of Vick's co-defendants reached plea agreements with federal prosecutors, including pleading guilty to all charges against them. At the time, Vick's defensive team was deciding if they should follow suit with the co-defendants, pleading guilty to all charges.
  • On July 26, 2007, the day the rest of his Falcons teammates reported to training camp, Vick made his first appearance in court. A trial date of November 26, 2007 was set.
  • Days before the beginning of training camp, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell banned Vick from the Falcons' training facility until the NFL reviewed the dogfighting charges against him. In a letter addressed to Vick, Goodell wrote, "While it is for the criminal justice system to determine your guilt or innocence, it is my responsibility as commissioner of the National Football League to determine whether your conduct, even if not criminal, nonetheless violated league policies, including the Personal Conduct Policy."

Where Michael Vick Stands:
After Vick served his 19 months in prison followed by two months under house arrest, he went under contract with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, for whom he is currently playing football for.

Read/Review other examiners' articles on this subject:

Should Michael Vick have been allowed back into the NFL?

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Michael Vick Dogfighting Scandal
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