(NEW YORK) — Five years after Michael Vick admitted to running a dog fighting ring, the NFL star is, once again, a dog owner.
“I understand the strong emotions by some people about our family’s decision to care for a pet,” Vick said in a statement released to ESPN. “As a father, it is important to make sure my children develop a healthy relationship with animals. I want to ensure that my children establish a loving bond and treat all of God’s creatures with kindness and respect. Our pet is well cared for and loved as a member of our family.”
Vick served 18 months in a federal prison on dogfighting charges. Since his release from prison in 2009, Vick has regularly spoken out against animal cruelty and has worked with The Humane Society.
“This is an opportunity to break the cycle,” the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback said in the statement. “To that end, I will continue to honor my commitment to animal welfare and be an instrument of positive change.”
But the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is barking mad, claiming Vick has never publicly expressed remorse for killing dogs.
“Because of this, we have serious concerns about Vick’s ability to be a responsible pet owner. We can only hope that he will set the right example for his children by teaching them to foster humane habits and a lifelong bond with their family pet,” the group said.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio