Alisa Manzelli, Global Animal
After NFL quarterback Michael Vick was recently caught tweeting a picture of himself and his daughter with a box of opened Milk-Bone dog biscuits sitting in plain view, he has finally said squarely that his family now has a dog.
Vick was asked to explain the Twitter photo several days later. Refusing to respond to rumors, he initially declined to answer whether or not he had, in fact, obtained a dog since his release from prison.
“I’m here to strictly talk about football,” Vick said at the NovaCare Complex on Wednesday. “What goes on in my personal life is not to be talked about. What’s most important right now is the Philadelphia Eagles and getting the win Sunday.”
The tweet was later deleted and replaced by a similar photo sans the dog biscuits.
Many question whether Vick, who was charged with brutally killing multiple dogs, should be able to have a dog ever again.
After his release from federal prison, Vick was not allowed to have a dog during a three-year probationary period. He served 19 months for owning and operating a dogfighting ring and an additional two months of home confinement following his release in May.
Vick has spoken openly about his desire to have a dog once again. In July, he told CNN’s Piers Morgan that he did not want to deprive his daughters from having a dog because of his previous crimes.
In an interview with website TheGrio, Vick stated, “I would love to get another dog in the future,” he says. “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.”
Finally, last Thursday, Vick released a statement confirming he does actually have a canine of his own.
In a statement released by his publicist, Vick stated, “I understand the strong emotions by some people about our family’s decision to care for a pet. As a father, it is important to make sure my children develop a healthy relationship with animals.”
He added, “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. This is an opportunity to break the cycle. To that end, I will continue to honor my commitment to animal welfare and be an instrument of positive change.”
After Vick’s release from prison in 2009, he began working for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to speak out against animal cruelty and educate young people about the importance of treating dogs humanely.
While it is legal for Vick to now have a dog, many animal advocates have voiced their contention and resentment toward the football star who admitted to drowning, electrocuting, and beating dogs to death.
“I’m not a psychopath. I’m not crazy. I’m a human being,” Vick once told The Associated Press about wanting to have a dog. “What happened in my past and what I did in the culture I grew up in doesn’t shape and mold me as the person I am now.”