The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and convicted dogfighting-ring operator tells TheGrio.com that he genuinely cares for animals and one day hopes to have a dog as a household pet. Vick says it would a "big step" in his rehabilitation process.
"I would love to get another dog in the future," Vick told the website, which is affiliated with NBC and focuses on African-American issues. "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."
Vick served 18 months in prison after being convicted in 2007. A federal judge also banned Vick from owning a dog during three years of probation after his release from prison.
Humane Society president Wayne Pacelle says it's "too early" for Vick to have a dog now, but says it could be a "good thing" for Vick and his family after his probation ends.
"It's too soon for Michael Vick to have a dog. Pet-keeping is a privilege and he lost that privilege when he committed atrocious acts of cruelty in the months and years before his arrest in 2007," Pacelle said in a statement Thursday.
"I agreed with the judge's ruling that he should not have a dog for at least a three-year period after his incarceration. But the court did not decide to impose a lifetime ban, and based on the work for animals he has undertaken since his release from prison, I don't believe he should be forever banned from adopting a dog for his two daughters," Pacelle said.
A PETA spokeswoman, however, sees it differently.
"Vick should be banned from owning dogs for life," Jane Dollinger, spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said in a news release this week. "Just as convicted pedophiles aren't allowed free access to children, anyone who is responsible for hanging, electrocuting, or shooting dogs and who causes them to suffer in other unimaginable ways should never again be allowed access to dogs."