Activist criticizes Eagles’ anti-dogfighting efforts

October 5, 2009

Burlington County Times

Despite the Philadelphia Eagles’ public pledge, in the wake of signing Michael Vick, that they would become a leader in combating dogfighting, an area activist formally accused the Eagles’ organization Sunday of having “no intention or plan to partner with the humane organizations in this region in a focused effort to confront the brutal enterprise of dogfighting.”

In an e-mail obtained by Calkins Media to Pamela Browner Crawley, the Eagles’ vice president of public affairs and government relations, Tom Hickey Sr. of DogPAC said that the primary focus of the Eagles’ anti-dogfighting efforts “may unfortunately be an attempt to conduct a public relations campaign focused on the Eagles (sic) image rather than the dogs that need immediate help.”

Hickey has been involved in negotiations and discussions with members of the Eagles’ organization since the team signed Vick, who spent 18 months in prison for his extensive role in a dogfighting operation, in mid August.

“The Eagles plan + appears to revolve around the creation of some sort of mobile medical van, the creation of football cards depicting players and their dogs, and the use of players and cheerleaders for potential fund-raising activities for organizations willing to participate,” Hickey wrote to Browner Crawley. “Of course many have repeatedly stated that we are struggling to see where driving a van around the city possibly performing spay/neuter procedures, and handing out football cards will help even one dog that is currently, or has been, maimed, tortured, abused or killed.

“As we have stated before it is our opinion that those involved in dogfighting will most likely not use the services you may offer since their goal will be to breed, torture and kill dogs. And most concerning to me is most of the activities appear to center on ensuring that the Eagles brand is the primary driver in each activity.”

Browner Crawley did not return an e-mail requesting comment.

In an Aug. 14 press conference, one day after the Eagles signed Vick, team owner Jeffrey Lurie said that his only criterion for judging the success of Vick’s acquisition “will be 100 percent, is he able to create social change in this horrendous arena of animal cruelty? Whether he is successful with us on the field, sure I hope he is. But his legend and whether we are giving him a second chance will be successful if he can diminish the level of animal cruelty. That’s it. If he is not proactive he won’t be on the team because that’s part of the agreement.”

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