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article imageMichael Vick works with Humane Society's dogfighting campaign

By Nikki Weingartner     May 21, 2009 in Sports
Michael Vick, the suspended NFL Atlanta Falcons' quarterback, was released from federal prison on Tuesday. Although he still has 2 months of house confinement, he is said to be on the road to rehab, starting with an anti-dog fighting campaign.
After paying his debt to society, being suspended from the NFL Atlanta Falcons and losing high dollar sponsorships for his role in dog fighting including the killing of inadequate fighting dogs, Michael Vick will be heading to his Hampton, Virginia home to serve out the last few months of he sentence.
As part of his repentance, Vick will wear an ankle monitor and is reported that he will be working with the same institution that fought to hammer the criminal actions of the suspended NFL player, the Humane Society and its anti-dog fighting campaign.
On the Humane Society of the United States President and CEO's blog, the move to help Vick in his rehabilitation process was presented in a realistic manner. Wayne Pacelle stated that he thought he would be "the least likely guy to end up sitting at a small table and talking calmly with Michael Vick" in regards to working with the Humane Society. However, he seems to believe that having Vick, who was allegedly raised in a family where dogfighting was the norm, as a role model in the prevention efforts against the horrible practice will serve as the impetus for change.
As explained by the Pacelle:
He said this experience has been a trauma and he’s changed forever. And he said he wants to show the American public that he is committed to helping combat this problem. He asked for an opportunity to help. I want to give him that opportunity. If he makes the most of it, and demonstrates a sincere, long-term commitment to the task, then it may prove to be a tipping point in our campaign to eradicate dogfighting. If he demonstrates a fleeting or superficial interest, then it will be his own failing, not ours.
Pacelle also stated that Vick's contribution to the society must be more than simple public service announcements, and will require in-the-trenches action. The act of organized dog fighting is a felony offense in all fifty states in the United States and the campaign is setting forth to stop it, with or without Michael Vick.
Vick's representatives had met with PETA in an effort to help him rebuild his image and allegedly show he was remorseful for his actions. However, PETA claimed that psychiatrist consults led them to rescind any agreements with Michael Vick and actually recommended him undergo a brain scan and psychological eval for anti-social personality disorder.
A blogger for PETA further explained the actions by saying anyone who:
"trained dogs to torture and kill one another for sport, who drowned and hanged dogs who wouldn't fight, and who laughed while watching his own family dogs fight for their lives as they were maimed and finally killed does not deserve to be rewarded with a multimillion-dollar contract or be given the privilege to serve as a role model to millions of children. PETA will not take anything off the table when it comes to any team or league that may sign Michael Vick."
But the Humane Society does not feel the same and seems to be operating under the belief that redemption is possible if the offender is truly dedicated. Had the same type of programs been available when Vick was a young boy witnessing the cruelty of animals as the norm, maybe he would not be in the situation he is today.
Michael Vick was released yesterday from the Leavenworth, Kansas federal prison after serving 21 months of his 23-month sentence. The final months will be carried out under house confinement due to there no space available at the halfway house where Vick was suppose to go. It was reported that he also plead guilty to state charges, where he is said to face those charges upon official release from the federal confinement. Earlier this year, his bankruptcy court case plan was denied.
It is not clear whether or not the NFL will reinstate the former player; however, he is expected to begin a $10 per hour construction job and will be working with the Humane Society of the United States.
More about Vick, Humane society, Prison release
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