Should the former leader of the world's most infamous dog fighting ring own a dog again?
Almost three-and-a-half years since pleading guilty to federal dog trafficking charges and admitting to torturing and killing dogs that failed to win for him, Michael Vick says he's ready to bring a pet into his life.
"I would love to get another dog in the future," Vick told the website theGrio in an article published Wednesday. "I think it would be a big step for me in the rehabilitation process. I think just to have a pet in my household and to show people that I genuinely care, and my love, and my passion for animals."
Is this Bad Newz for dogdom?
Some animal activists say absolutely. But count Wayne Pacelle, who as president of the Humane Society of the United States heads the most aggressive animal welfare and crime fighting group in the nation, among Vick's defenders.
HSUS made a post-prison arrangement with Vick - now the Eagles star quarterback - to speak to inner city children about why dog fighting is bad and treating animals with kindness is good.
Pacelle told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that he thinks Vick would "do a good job as a pet owner."
Under terms of his probation, Vick may not own a dog for at least three years or longer, depending on the judge's orders. Some animal activists say his crimes warrant a lifetime ban on pet ownership. A spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals compared Vick to a pedophile who should be prohibited from gaining access to victims again.
(Anyone seeking insight into Vick's dog fighting days, what life was like for dogs at Bad Newz Kennels or the struggle of the forty-plus surviving dogs should read Jim Gorant's book, The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption. )