In one of the more interesting examples of turnabout we've seen in recent years, an animal rights group called "Dogs Deserve Better" from Tipton, Pa. bought the five-bedroom, Surry County Va. home once owned by Michael Vick for approximately $600,000. This was the home where the "Bad Newz Kennels" dogfighting ring was operated until a drug sting in 2007 brought it down. Vick eventually served 18 months in prison for his part in financing it.
The Dogs Deserve Better group plans to use the property as a home and rehabilitation center for dogs that have suffered through many of things that happened at that same location for years.
"I think by us overtaking this property we are winning for the dogs. We are, in essence, giving this property back to the dogs that were abused there by using it to help other dogs just like them," said Tamira Thayne, the group's founder.
Dogs Deserve Better secured the property, which Vick originally sold to a developer, with a 30-percent down payment acquired by a loan and various donations. According to the Associated Press, the plan for the property is to raise a total of $3 million to make the facility a full-scale animal rehab center. Thayne and another staff member will live on the property.
Thayne's group has had no contact with Vick, though there has apparently been some thought from at least one filmmaker that bringing Vick back to his old home would be a good idea. "I would like to see that he's really remorseful and I personally don't feel that I've seen that because actions speak louder than words," Thayne told the AP. "I haven't seen him really put effort into making amends."
Vick, the 2010 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, has made some statements about the perils of dogfighting, and some activist groups have espoused the idea of using his name to forward their causes, but he's persona non grata to just as many organizations. The obvious solution here would be for Vick, who was franchised by the Philadelphia Eagles this year, to put the rest of the money down for the new facility. The franchise tag number for quarterbacks in 2010 was $16.4 million, and whenever the lockout ends, Vick will find himself with a great deal of money on his hands.
Would there be a better way for Vick to bring a bit of closure to the worst part of his life than by paying it forward, and helping to turn what was a place filled with pain into something useful and important for the future?
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