August 28, 2009
Those caring for some of the animals rescued from his dogfighting ring still wonder about the quarterback’s sincerity.
By Francis Battista
Opinion, Philadelphia Inquirer
Twenty-two dogs rescued from Michael Vick’s dogfighting operation were brought to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary last year. They arrived at our Utah facility in various states of trauma. While we’ve had many breakthroughs with the dogs, some have yet to recover. And some may never recover from the abuse and neglect they suffered in Vick’s care.
To our knowledge, neither Vick, his handlers, nor the NFL has called to ask how the dogs are doing. And these very real, living victims of the crime are nowhere to be found in the continuing debate about Vick’s rehabilitation.
Vick’s handlers had shopped him around to various national animal organizations, including Best Friends Animal Society, while he was still in prison. We were interested, but we did not want to involve Vick in our work and effectively give him our endorsement unless he actually demonstrated his remorse by taking on some unheralded volunteer work. Perhaps it would be spending six months or a year doing helpful chores at some animal shelter, or visiting community centers to talk to kids without any fanfare or expectation of personal gain.
August 25, 2009
By Matt Gelb
Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer
When the Eagles signed Michael Vick, owner Jeffrey Lurie said the quarterback would be measured not by his success on the field but by his contributions to the community.
By bringing Vick to Philadelphia, the Eagles have been forced to deal with social issues beyond football, mostly the lingering problem of animal cruelty. That prompted a scene such as yesterday at the NovaCare Complex, where the Eagles invited about 20 animal-welfare groups for a two-hour roundtable discussion.
“You want to take this terrible case and squeeze what good you can out of it,” said Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States. “I’m encouraged that the Eagles say they want to help address this problem. That’s another ally in our fight against animal cruelty.”
Eagles president Joe Banner and senior vice president for public affairs Pamela Browner Crawley represented the team at the meeting. Crawley called the meeting a first step to determine how the Eagles can use their resources to help.
Vick, who served 18 months in prison for running a dogfighting ring, has agreed with the Humane Society to participate in two events a month across the nation. The Eagles organization believed it was important to take local action in addition to Vick’s work, Crawley said.
“We absolutely intend to partner with organizations here in Philadelphia,” Crawley said.
August 23, 2009
Tonight, Tom Hickey was a guest on CN8′s “It’s Your Call With Lynn Doyle.” Tom was on to talk about the Eagles’ signing of Michael Vick and his letter to Jeff Lurie suggesting the Eagles match Vick’s salary with donations to dog rescues and shelters. Please watch the three segments of the show below:
August 22, 2009
The Philadelphia Eagles have called for a meeting with area animal welfare groups Monday to discuss dogfighting in the wake of their signing Michael Vick.
When asked about the format, the Eagles said they would “just listen,” said Gail Luciani, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania SPCA.
She said the Eagles were going to invite a lot of animal welfare groups, seeking to be inclusive, including the Chester County SPCA, Delaware County SPCA and Main Line Animal Rescue.
Michael Vick will not attend the meeting, Luciani said.
The Humane Society of the United States – with whom Vick is working to combat fighting across the country - also is participating in the meeting.
“It’s really the Eagles’ meeting and not HSUS’s,” said president Wayne Pacelle. “It’s really the Eagles meeting and not HSUS’s. Our trajectory is clear. We want to get Vick in front of at-risk kids, and do so in Philadelphia and in other urban centers around the country.”
Tom Hickey, founder of DogPac political advocacy group and a member of the state Dog Law Advisory Board, said he hopes the meeting will produce “an action plan” to help victims of dog fighting.
“We need a plan to address the issue in Philadelphia and surrounding area,” he said. “I hope the Eagles get involved and help dogs caught up in this horrible enterprise.”
The meeting is set for 5 p.m. at the NovaCare complex.
August 19, 2009
Philly.com’s Philly Dawg Blog
A Philadelphia-based animal welfare group is asking the Eagles to put their money where their mouth is.
DogPac, a political action committee and advocacy group, sent a letter to Eagles owner Jeff Lurie today asking him to match every dollar he pays Michael Vick with a donation to area animal shelter.
That means a total of $6.6 million over two years.
“The Philadelphia Eagles have repeatedly stated that they believe in giving second chances,” said Tom Hickey Sr., chairman of DogPAC and a member of the state Dog Law Advisory Board. ”I believe this is a way for the Eagles to clearly demonstrate that they are willing to invest equally in giving a second chance to the dogs that are the victims of this brutal illegal activity.”
In addition to the letter to Lurie, Hickey sent an email to the 23,000 people on the DogPAC list urging them to send emails to the Eagles and show their support for the donation request. As of noon 925 letters had been sent to Lurie, Hickey said.
August 19, 2009
Mr. Jeffrey Lurie
The Philadelphia Eagles Football Club
Dear Mr. Lurie:
The recent decision by the Philadelphia Eagles to sign Michael Vick has generated heated debate and great controversy not only among football fans both locally and nation-wide, but most prominently people who love dogs. These individuals and groups work tirelessly to save dogs from the abuse and neglect that occurs far too frequently, and have demonstrated their outrage at the Eagles decision to sign a multi-million dollar contract with an admitted animal killer.
The Philadelphia Eagles have publicly committed to working with the community to ensure that the barbaric activity of dog-fighting is eliminated in Philadelphia and surrounding areas. To clearly demonstrate your commitment to fighting animal cruelty and abuse, the Eagles should match, dollar-for-dollar, the total annual compensation of Michael Vick with a contribution for local shelters and rescues every year that Vick remains an Eagle.
The plan is simple: with the matching donation we will be able to establish a facility to provide the necessary medical and behavioral therapies and treatments required to allow dogs to have a ‘second chance’ after experiencing a cruel and abhorrent existence at the hands of those who abuse and kill. The Eagles commitment to providing the necessary funding to allow this ‘second chance’ would mark a concrete demonstration of your dedication to the stated cause of ending animal cruelty. Additionally, with the funds provided by your matching donation, local humane shelters would be able to hire additional humane law enforcement officers to investigate and prosecute those who continue to participate in this inhumane activity.
Savingpuppies.com believes that we can be very instrumental in assisting the Eagles and Mr. Vick in his efforts to get out in the community to speak of the evils of dog-fighting, and to that end we offer to work with the Philadelphia Eagles and the area humane society to construct a program, along with success measurements, to successfully reach out to those who are vulnerable to taking part in these illegal activities.
I look forward to your reply,
Thomas G. Hickey, Sr.
August 16, 2009
August 14, 2009
News that the Eagles had signed quarterback Michael Vick, a convicted animal abuser, was met with swift outrage last night by members of Philadelphia’s animal-welfare community.
Many said they were concerned that the move would cast a pall over a state in which animal advocates – led by Gov. Rendell, who has three rescue dogs – have fought to improve conditions for dogs, particularly those who suffer in substandard commercial kennels.
“Over the last three years, Pennsylvania has made historic strides in bringing attention to the abuse and neglect that so many dogs suffer in this state and throughout the country,” said Tom Hickey of Drexel Hill, a member of the governor’s Dog Law Advisory Board. “For the Philadelphia Eagles, knowing the heinous crimes committed by this man, to sign him is unconscionable.”