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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Best Friends Animal Society’s Official Statement on Michael Vick’s return to professional football

Editor’s Note:

Best Friends Animal Society, which took in 22 of Michael Vick’s fighting dogs in January of 2008, today released the following statement regarding Vick’s announced contract signing with the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League.

“Michael Vick has served his time and satisfied the requirements of our legal system. But if he is truly as remorseful as he claims, then he must know in his heart that what he did cannot be undone. In fact, the only true expression of remorse that he could possibly make would be to dedicate the rest of his life to relieving the suffering of animals and helping to bring all dog fighting to an end.

“This being said, Best Friends feels that perhaps the cart is being placed before the horse. Wouldn’t it have been better if, before he was given the privilege of returning to the NFL, he had spent at least one year working for the good of animals? He could have worked as a shelter volunteer, visited community centers, and delivered messages to at-risk children, totally free from the glare of the pro football spotlight. Surely this act of dedication would help us see what truly is in his heart.

“As it is, we’re left to wonder if his expression of repentance is genuine or just part of a well-orchestrated plan to return him to multi-million-dollar, sports megastar status.

“Through our work with the “Vicktory Dogs,” we hope to improve the image of all dogs that are the unfortunate victims of cruelty, such as the American Pit Bull Terrier and dogs that resemble pit bulls. Our “Pit Bulls: Saving America’s Dog” campaign is an example of how we are committing time and resources to end dog fighting for good.

“We sincerely believe that our work for the good of the dogs is the best single statement we could possibly make about Vick and dog fighting in general. Our focus remains fixed on helping animals and educating the public until the horrible practice of dog fighting can be eliminated once and for all.

“We hope that people concerned about Vick’s return to football will channel their frustrations into something positive. Take a pit bull for a walk. Volunteer at your local shelter. Better yet, skip an Eagles game and donate what you would have paid for a ticket to the animal welfare organization of your choice.”

About Best Friends Animal Society
Best Friends Animal Society, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2009, is a nonprofit, membership organization building no-kill programs and partnerships that will bring about a day when there are No More Homeless Pets®. The society's leading initiatives in animal care and community programs are coordinated from its Kanab, Utah, headquarters, the country's largest no-kill companion animal sanctuary. Best Friends’ work is made possible by the support of a grassroots network of members and community partners across the nation.