The pit bulls that were saved from quarterback Michael Vick’s despicable dog fighting house of horrors endured the worst of humankind. But now, many are flourishing in happy environments, thanks to dedicated people who embody the best of human qualities. Check out this moving photo gallery that celebrates these dogs’ indomitable spirits. – Global Animal

The Huffington Post, Jim Gorant

On April 26th 2007 police raided a house at 1915 Moonlight Road in Surry County, VA, a home belonging to Michael Vick, who was then the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons and one of the highest paid players in the NFL (10 years, $130 million). The officers found evidence of dog fighting and had soon taken 66 dogs off the property. Within four months Vick would plead guilty to charges related to the dog fighting operation known as Bad Newz Kennels. He served 18 months in a federal penitentiary, entered personal bankruptcy and upon his release was reinstated by the NFL, where he has just begun his second season as a back-up for the Philadelphia Eagles.

The dogs faced a bleaker future. The usual outcome for animals recovered from fight busts is euthanasia. But an unprecedented behind-the-scenes effort to spare them–supported by an enormous public outcry–was brewing. A dedicated mix of investigators, prosecutors, ASPCA officials and pit bull rescue groups came together to try to give some of those dogs another chance. They been saved from Bad Newz, but could they be saved from the government? An outpouring of dedication and compassion led to string decisions that set precedents, changed the way dog fighting and pit bulls are viewed and provided at least some of those lost dogs with a path home.

Harriet’s blue coat means that she’s likely from show-dog stock, although she, like many of the others, battled with the remnants of her neglect—fear and uncertainty. Jim Gorant.
Uba (black coat), like many of the dogs, now shares a home with another animal, with whom he has bonded. Letti de Little.
Even though Hector’s chest, neck and head are covered with deep scars, he’s been happy from the start and is now a certified therapy dog, visiting the sick and making appearances in schools.
Cris Cohen had a feeling from the outset that Jonny Justice had great potential, but the little guy with cow spots and pig ears exceeded even his highest expectations. Amado Garcia.
Marthina McClay already had three other pit bulls before she took in Leo. She believes her other dogs helped him quickly recover from the stress of nine months in a government shelter. Photo credit: Stephanie Lam.
Leo not only fit right into Marthina’s busy home, but he excelled in his training so well that within five months of being freed he had been certified as a therapy dog and began making regular trips to schools (above), hospitals and nursing homes. Photo credit: Stephanie Lam.

For more on these remarkable dogs: UPDATE: Vick’s Dogs Fight For Happy Lives