Michael Vick’s dog fighting ring

It seems like just yesterday that the media was full of stories about Michael Vick’s illegal dog fighting ring and his subsequent jail time and NFL suspension. However, it appears that Vick’s football career is well on its way to recovery, after he led the Philadelphia Eagles to victory this past Sunday with a 35-32 win over the Detroit Lions. Happily for all the dog lovers across the country, Vick’s dogs are also well on their way to recovery, as documented in the recently released book, “The Lost Dogs,” written by Jim Gorant.

Gorant followed the 51 dogs, mostly pit bulls, which were recovered from Vick’s property after the dog-fighting ring was broken up. If it hadn’t for part of Vick’s sentence, which required him to contribute $1 million toward the dogs’ rehabilitation, the majority of them would have been put down. This was the Humane Society’s official policy at the time; dogs from fighting busts were typically so far gone that it was believed to not be worth trying to rehab them. Fortunately for the dogs, there was such public outcry that the policy was changed, and with the help of Vick’s court-mandated contribution to their post-rescue care, a good number of the 47 dogs that survived have demeanors that are so drastically different from those of fighting dogs that they now live with families.

On April 25, 2007, investigators raided property owned by Vick, located in southeast Virginia, as the result of an ongoing drug investigation of Vick’s cousin Davon Boddie. The investigation led the authorities to Vick’s property, where it was discovered that he was operating an illegal interstate dog-fighting ring, an operation that also involved drugs and gambling. The public was increasingly outraged as more and more details were released regarding the abuse, torture, and execution of the dogs, and Vick was eventually indicted on federal and Virginia felony charges. He served 21 months in prison, which resulted in the loss of his NFL salary and endorsement deals.

Vick was finally signed by the Eagles and reinstated in the NFL in the third week of the 2009 season. Eagles head coach Andy Reid declared Vick as the team’s permanent starter until further notice on Tuesday, September 21, 2010.

Vick played collegiate football at Virginia Tech, and although he only played for two seasons, he led the team to an 11-0 season his first year. He also took the Hokies to the Bowl Championship Series national title game against Florida State in the Nokia Sugar Bowl; the Hokies ended up losing to the Seminoles 46-29, but Vick brought the team back from a 21-deficit to take a brief lead.

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