Michael Vick, the American football player who served 21 months in prison for dog fighting, is scheduled to appear on a Capitol Hill to speak about legislation which would penalize those who support animal fighting.
The Morning Call reported that a bill, titled H.R. 2492, was recently introduced by U.S. Reps Tom Marino and Betty Sutton. It is designed to penalize those who finance and/or attend dog and cock fights and impose additional penalties on those who bring children to such events.
Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) president and CEO Wayne Pacelle is also scheduled to be on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
When Vick's prison sentence was almost completed, his representatives approached Pacelle with the idea of having them take part in some work together. A decision was made to allow him to contribute time to do what he could to prevent more dog fighting from taking place.
The HSUS said that Vick is not a spokesperson for the organization or their anti-dogfighting campaign, but they felt he could help because "Vick was a role model for many young people, and he lost everything because of what he did to dogs. His story is the strongest possible example of why dogfighting is a dead end."
Earlier this year he added his voice to Pacelle's in speaking out against an Android app called "Dog Wars."
“I’ve come to learn the hard way that dogfighting is a dead-end street,” the Calgary Herald quoted him as saying. “Now, I am on the right side of this issue, and I think it’s important to send the smart message to kids, and not glorify this form of animal cruelty, even in an Android app.”
Best Friends has information on its website about several of the dogs who arrived at their sanctuary terrified and scarred after being rescued from Vick's dogfighting ring. Some of these animals are still struggling with issues resulting from the abuse they suffered.
Writing on Pet Examiner, Howard Portnoy expresses doubt about Vick's motives, but supports the proposed bill, saying that, "Perhaps if Michael Vick had been unable to attract other people who share his sickening blood lust and lack of compassion for animals, dozens of innocent dogs would have been spared."
In a press release about the bill Pacelle said: “Spectators are participants and accomplices who enable the crime of animal fighting, provide a large share of the funding for the criminal enterprise through their admission fees and gambling wagers, and help conceal handlers and organizers who try to blend into the crowd when a bust occurs."