The Michael Vick dogs: Five years later

Wednesday April 25th, 2012

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Former Michael Vick dog Uba, as photographed by Melissa McDaniel.

On April 25, 2007, a search warrant was served on a residence on Surry County, VA. At that location, the police found evidence of dog fighting, along with several neglected and injured Pit Bull dogs.

The owner of the property was Michael Vick, then quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons.

In the media frenzy that ensued, grisly tales of dog abuse surfaced. Vick was charged and eventually pled guilty to dogfighting conspiracy. He was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison.

When Vick was sentenced, he was told by Judge Henry E. Hudson: "You may have thought this was sporting, but it was very callous and cruel. I hope you understand that now."

Rather than focus on the character (or lack thereof) of Michael Vick, DogTime takes a look at his victims, the ones who have no voice. Jonny Justice, Ernie, Hector, Uba, and other dogs suffered horrendous treatment and walked a long road to recovery. While these dogs serve as an unfortunate reminder of human cruelty, they are also sobering icons of human compassion and caring, as without such facilities as Best Friends Animal Society and BADRAP and the dedicated volunteers that run them, their rehabilitation would not have been possible. We’ve picked six stories that illustrate their recovery:

It seems ironic that the “Michael Vick dogs” were brought to light five years ago on April 25, 2007; as we’ve stated repeatedly, April is Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month