Vicktory Dogs: Tales of pit bull rescues
In April 2007, 51 pit bulls were seized from the Bad Newz Kennels belonging to Michael Vick. At that time, Michael Vick was the star quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, leaving sports fans shocked and animal lovers outraged. A media frenzy ensued and the question arose: What will become of the dogs? Many people and even some animal welfare organizations wanted to follow what had been standard procedure up to that point -- euthenize them. However, a few smaller organizations such as Best Friends Animal Society and BAD RAP stepped in and petitioned the court to individually asses each dog, as well as find the dogs proper foster homes that would include rehabilitation and training. Of course, the biggest obstacle to this was funding. Who would pay? By court order, Michal Vick was to pay $1 million for the project. The result was a huge success. Many standard policies to euthenize dogs seized in dog-fighting rings are now being re-evaluated and changed. Most of the 51 Vicktory dogs, as they are now called, are living happily ever after, many of them as service dogs.
One of the most notable of the Vicktory dogs is Lucas. Lucas was Michael Vick's grand champion fighting dog and, because of his notoriety and perceived street value, the judge ordered that Lucas remain in the care of Best Friends Animal Society and not be placed for adoption. Lucas quickly became a part of the Best Friends family, but recently old age and a battle with Babesia (a malaria like condition common in dogs used for fighting because it is easily transferred through bite wounds) took a toll on Lucas. He's left this world for a better one. This blog is in memory of him and all the other Vicktory dogs who have risen to the challenge and showed us just how huge their heart is to forgive and forget.
If you are interested in reading more about the Vicktory dogs check out: The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and their Tale of Rescue and Redemption by Jim Gorant. Within months of reading this book, I adopted my own pit bull, Blondie, from the Boulder Human Society.
For children, Saving Audie: A Pit Bull Puppy Gets a Second Chance by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent is a picture book telling the story of Audie, who was just a puppy when he was seized from the Bad Newz Kennels.
Want to read more about pit bulls? Here are a few other great pit bull reads I recommend:
- I'm a Good Dog: Pit Bulls, America's Most Beautiful (and Misunderstood) Pet by Ken Foster
- Oogy: A Dog Only a Family Could Love by Larry Levin
- Four Feet Tall and Rising: A Memoir by Shorty Rossi
To read more about Lucas, visit: http://blogs.bestfriends.org/index.php/2013/06/20/vicktory-dog-lucas/