Vick sheds light on cruel "sport" - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Vick sheds light on cruel "sport"

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July 18, 2007

Albany -- South Georgia animal protection groups hope the dog fighting indictment against Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick will shed more light on the vicious activity.

Humane Society officials say dog fighting is more common in South Georgia than most people realize. It could even be happening in your neighborhood.

Nearly everyday, workers at the Albany Humane Society see signs of dog fighting.

"We see it a lot. We'll get a lot of pit bulls that come in here that have obviously been fought. They are very dog aggressive, scarred up, torn up," said Donna Strickland Executive Director for the Albany Humane Society.

Strickland said just yesterday a caller reported a dog fight in their neighborhood, but was too scared to call police. "The sad part about it is, when they call, they are scared, they don't want to get involved. They don't want to get named."

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was indicted on felony dog fighting charges. Federal authorities say Vick began running a dog fighting ring six years ago in Virginia.

Strickland says Vick's indictment shows the wide range of people involved in illegal dog fighting circles.  "It's not just local street people that are doing this activity. It's not just gang related. There are a lot of professional people involved. There is a lot of money."

Gambling brings huge money into dog fighting. Strickland says it's not just the fighting dogs that are killed, and many times pets are stolen to be used to train the animals to kill. Now she hopes Vick's indictment will help.  "With all of this media publicity with this Michael Vick case, and him being indicted, I hope this sends a strong message that it is taken very seriously, and is against the law."

Strickland says she worries because she is seeing more young people in Albany, kids, involved in dog fighting.

Michael Vick could face up to six years in prison if he's convicted. The Humane Society of the United States is urging animal lovers to call the NFL commissioner and ask that Vick be suspended immediately.

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