Civil-rights groups to march for Vick

Animal-rights advocates are not expected to stage organized group protests tonight at Lincoln Financial Field when Michael Vick debuts with the Eagles.

However, civil-rights groups are planning to demonstrate outside the stadium before the preseason game against Jacksonville to show their disgust at how animal-rights groups have treated Vick.

J. Whyatt Mondesire, president of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP, told the Associated Press that his group and the Black Clergy of Philadelphia were planning a march for tonight.

"We believe Michael Vick has served his time, paid his debt to society, and deserves a second chance, and the animal-rights groups want to hold him hostage for the rest of his life," Mondesire said, according to ESPN.com.

"We think that's patently unfair," he said. "It denies Michael Vick's basic civil rights, denies him his ability to make a living."

No animal-rights organizations announced plans to protest at the stadium. Animal-rights advocates who met with the Eagles on Monday said they wanted to distance themselves from Vick and were pleased with the initial interest by the team in helping their cause.

The Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said on its Web site: "It is neither the role nor duty of the Pennsylvania SPCA to participate in Michael Vick's penance to atone for his participation in a dogfighting enterprise."

Calls to the NAACP and Black Clergy were not immediately returned.

Across town tonight, the Pennsylvania SPCA plans to hold a tailgate gathering at its Erie Avenue location to launch its newest project: the Second Chance Dogs campaign.

The goal is to raise money to help dogs that have been victims of cruelty and dogfighting operations. The name is a clear takeoff on what those around the NFL and the Eagles have said in defense of Vick - that he deserves a second chance.

Susan Cosby, chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania SPCA, said Monday that her organization had no plans to protest formally at the game.

"The games are for the fans," Cosby said. "I expect there will probably be some fans who have something to say."

Dan Shannon, a spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said the organization did not have a protest planned. However, Shannon said PETA had heard from angry residents who could take action themselves.

Said Shannon: "I do think you'll see some of those people out there."

 


Contact staff writer Matt Gelb

at 215-854-2928 or mgelb@phillynews.com.