Back in December 2010, Michael Vick expressed interest in owning a dog again one day.
"I would love to get another dog in the future," he said in an interview. "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."
With less than a year under his belt after serving 18 months in prison on a dogfighting conviction, Vick has plenty of detractors who say he should never own a dog again. But Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, backs up the Philadelphia Eagles QB. "I have been around him a lot, and feel confident that he would do a good job as a pet owner," he said, referencing Vick's work with the organization to curb the cruel sport of dogfighting.
Fast-forward nearly two years, and Vick has made it official that he and his family are dog owners. The 32-year-old had been keeping the new family member under wraps, but had his cover blown last week after he tweeted (and then deleted) a photo that revealed a box of Milk Bones on the kitchen table. Yesterday, he came clean.
‘‘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.’’
While the Humane Society of the United States has yet to comment on Vick's new dog, plenty of other people have — both positively and negatively.
"If Vick is truly honest about what he is saying, then I wish him and their new family pet the best," wrote one commenter on ESPN. "All children should learn to love and respect animals; they should also love and respect others."
"Michael Vick is a sociopath who tortured animals by smashing them, electrocuting, drowning, shooting, and burning, them he watched them die painful, slow deaths," condemned another on BleacherReport. "He enjoyed this and did it for six years until he got caught. This is not a role model."
Where do you stand on Vick's decision to own a dog? Let us know below!
Related stories on MNN:
- Michael Vick records Humane Society PSA about dogfighting
- Heineken denounces year-old dogfighting photo