Eagles pledge to support animal welfare cause

Eagles president Joe Banner met with local shelter and rescue groups today in what animal welfare advocates hope will be the first step in the team's effort to respond to the plague of dog fighting in Philadelphia.

"It was a very good meeting," said Tom Hickey Sr., founder of DogPac political advocacy group and a member of the state Dog Law Advisory Board. "Ninety percent of the meeting was about what the Eagles can do locally."

The individual who prompted the discussion, Michael Vick, was not present, nor was he the focus of the discussion, Hickey said. Vick, who has pledged to be an anti-cruelty "ambassador" to inner city communities as part of his rehabilitation, is working with the Humane Society of the United States' anti-dog fighting campaign.

"We feel with bringing Michael Vick to Philadelphia that we have an obligation to work with the community, to educate and work with kids, particularly," said Pamela Browner Crawley, a spokeswoman for the Philadelphia Eagles, told Fox-TV. 

Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham said the meeting was a "good first step with regard to animal cruelty and abuse."

Among the attendees were representatives from the Humane Society of the United States, SPCAs from Philadelphia, Chester, Bucks, Montgomery and Delaware counties, Morris Animal Refuge, Camden Humane Society, Main Line Animal Rescue and Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).

Hickey said Banner told them he would convene a small group follow up meeting after reviewing notes on the meeting which lasted just over two hours.