PBS Follows Vick’s Dogs

NBC Bay Area

For having lived through a canine hell, the most of the pitbulls formerly owned by Michael Vick are doing surprisingly well.

PBS's Need to Know followed the dogs three years after they were taken from Michael Vick's dog-fighting complex in Georgia.

According to the report, the federal prosecutor overseeing Vick's case received hundreds of letters asking authorities not to euthanize the dogs.

PBS noted that at the time of Vick's prosecution, most were skeptical that the pitbulls found in his dog-fighting operation could ever be safe for society.  In the PBS story, PETA called the dogs "ticking time bombs."

A team led by Stephen Zawistowski, an official with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, evaluated the psychological condition of the dogs.  The team found that while some of the dogs were aggressive towards other dogs, none of them showed aggression towards humans.  In the report, Zawistowski described the dogs as timid and eager for human attention.

One dog was put down, but 47 others were deemed candidates for rehabilitation.  Twenty-five went to dog sanctuaries, where trained handlers worked with them.  Twenty-five others were adopted in foster care.

A large group of the dogs went to Oakland, California, to be raised by a dog rehab group called Bad Rap

The PBS show followed one of Vick's dogs, who was adopted from Bad Rap by a man who volunteers with children.  Chris Cohen adopted one of the dogs, which he renamed Johnny Justice.  After working with the dog, he said his demeanor has changed considerably.

"Johnny doesn't have any bad days anymore," Cohen told PBS.  "His bad days are over."

Cohen said the pit bull is now a therapy dog.  When he volunteers at local libraries reading to children, the kids will cuddle and wrestle with the former fighting animal.

According to PBS, for many of the Vick's former fighting dogs, their bad days are over.

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