A Pennsylvania group wants to turn Michael Vick's Bad Newz Kennels into Good Newz Rehab Center for Chained and Penned Dogs.
Can a place of such horrors be transformed into a place of peace and hope?
Dogs Deserve Better, an Altoona-area nonprofit dedicated to ending the cruelty of chaining, believes it may. The group has taken a 45-day contract on the Smithfield, Virginia property that formerly housed Vick's Bad Newz Kennels.
The 15-acre property compound was sold by Michael Vick to an investor sometime after his now infamous dog fighting ring was raided and Vick was charged with federal crimes.
Now Dogs Deserve Better must raise $595,000 within 45-days to purchase the property. Founder Tamira Thayne said her group would ultimately need $3 million to build a facility to rehabilitate dogs who have spent their lives on chains. The program would help housebreak the dogs and socialize them so that they could live happily indoors with a family one day.
"We feel there is no greater love for the dogs who suffered there, no greater honor to their memory, and no greater closure to a painful world event, than for a group to come in and take over this property with plans to provide love, joy, training, play, care, and renewal to thousands of other dogs who have been existing in similar circumstances," said Thayne. "It's a coming of full circle."
The sheds where Vick and his cohorts tortured dogs and forced them to fight still stand. Thayne would like to turn the area into a memorial for the dogs who suffered and died there.
Thayne is asking for a public vote on whether her group should purchase the property or build their center somewhere else. All votes cost $1, and all money will go to the Rehab Center.
The group is hoping to get votes from 999,999 people.
Last year Thayne spent 52 days chained to a doghouse on the Pennsylvania Capitol steps advocating for a law banning 24/7 dog chaining, (She did not succeed, but Thayne and others are working to see legislation passed this session.)
DDB has more than 100 volunteer representatives nationwide who rescue from chains and pens. They rehabilitate at least 400-600 dogs per year, working only through their own homes or a network of foster homes.
To see the site page dedicated to the center and 'like' the facebook page, visit the link at http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/ddbcenter.html.