You can thank Michael Vick for Philadelphia's new anti-dogfighting program.
The official announcement comes later today, but End Dogfighting Philadelphia, is already helping young people in North Philadelphia find productive and fun alternatives to fighting their dogs.
The Eagles along with the Humane Society of the United States and the Pennsylvania SPCA will announce the launch of End Dogfighting in Philadelphia campaign at 3 p.m. press conference at the Hunting Park Recreation Center, at 900 W. Hunting Park Ave.
The program will model after existing programs in Chicago and Atlanta, will target at-risk teens and young adults and their bully-breed dogs. The goal is to reach the very young people who may have been on their way to becoming dog fighters, like Vick, and instead provide them with education about how to properly care and train their animals.
We want to prevent kids from going into dog fighting which we've seen is connected to drug and gangaactivity. said Rebecca Glenn Dinwoodie, the program's coordinator. So far six young people are enrolled in the program. Glenn-Dinwoodie hopes to expand the program to include more classes with at least ten in each class.
Providing a funding boost, is the Eagles organization, which dedicated $500,000 to animal welfare initiatives after the team signed Vick in Aug, 2009
On hand at the press conference today will be Wayne Pacelle, president of HSUS, Sue Cosby, chief executive of the PSPC; Rebecca Glenn-Dinwoodie; state Rep. Tony Payton of Philadelphia. Representative from Philadelphia City Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez's office and the Eagles will be there too.
Philadelphia, like many cities, is a hot-bed for street dogfighting. The PSPCA s receives an average of 60 dogfighting complaints a month. In 2009, the PSPCA investigated a total of 903 complaints of animal fighting across Pennsylvania.
Coordinator Glenn-Dinwoodie says her group also is working with law enforcement to help police recognize the signs of dog fighting.