Animal activists, readers unhappy with Eagles' newest addition, Vick

Posted: August 14, 2009

Animal-welfare advocates and private citizens voiced their anger last night after learning that the Eagles had signed Michael Vick to a 1-year contract plus an option year.

Vick, the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback, served 18 months in federal prison for bankrolling a pit-bull dogfighting operation at a property he owned in Virginia.

"Philadelphia is a city of dog lovers and, most particularly, pit-bull lovers," said Sue Cosby, who heads the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

"To root for someone who participated in the hanging, drowning, electrocution and shooting of dogs will be impossible for many, no matter how much we would all like to see the Eagles go all the way," Cosby said.

"We are incredibly disappointed at our beloved Philadelphia Eagles' signing of Michael Vick,"she said.

"With the number of pit bulls in Philadelphia that have to be euthanized because there aren't enough homes to take them, it's intolerable that we have the resources to rehabilitate Michael Vick, but not the resources to rehab fighting dogs," said Bill Smith, of Main Line Animal Rescue.

"I think that it's incredibly foolish of him to come to Philadelphia, because of the number of animal advocates we have in Philadelphia," said Smith, who promised his organization was "going to be on top of this."

Smith's organization has played a key role in fighting puppy mills in Pennsylvania.

Smith quipped that animal abuse at puppy mills has been so rampant that when he learned Vick was coming here, "I wasn't sure if he was going to play for the Eagles or open a puppy mill."

Eagles president Joe Banner told the Daily News' Elmer Smith last night that the team spoke with the officials from the U.S. Humane Society about Vick and had been told that he was remorseful. Banner also said someone from the organization would be at today's news conference about Vick's signing. *

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