Michael Vick was the No. 1 overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2001 NFL draft. Six years later, his career came crashing down when the three-time Pro Bowler’s involvement in a dogfighting ring made national headlines. Vick was convicted and went to prison. Where did Michael Vick’s dogs go when he was arrested? Are any of them still alive today?
Michael Vick makes headlines for a dogfighting ring
In April 2007, after completing his sixth season in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons, Michael Vick planned to speak with members of Congress about increased funding for after-school programs. He never made it to Capitol Hill.
Instead, the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback disappeared from the public eye. He went into hiding when his name appeared in the headlines alleging he was the mastermind behind a dogfighting ring involving more than 50 of his dogs.
In August, Vick and the three other defendants pleaded guilty to various charges. The NFL suspended Vick for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. In December 2007, Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison. He was released from federal custody in 2009.
Vick lied to Arthur Blank about operation
Earlier this year, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank published his book Good Company. In it, he revealed the strong bond he had built with his superstar quarterback. Blank also detailed how their relationship unraveled, and it started in their first conversation about the dogfighting allegations. That’s when the owner asked Michael Vick if he had any dogs involved in such an operation.
“No, Mr. B,” Vick responded, according to Blank’s book. “I knew Michael — or at least, I thought I did,” Blank said. “I believed him to be a man of his word.”
Blank soon left on vacation after that initial conversation with Vick. Upon his return, there was more information available. Michael Vick was not only involved with the dogfighting, he helped finance it, and was intricately part of its operation, including the execution of dogs.
“I felt deeply disappointed and betrayed — both personally and for the franchise — when Michael’s shadow life came to light,” Blank wrote.
What happened to Michael Vick’s dogs?
When Michael Vick’s dogfighting operation was busted, authorities rescued 47 dogs, which were then split up to eight rescue organizations. Many of the dogs went straight into foster homes and started adjusting to living life as a normal dog.
For 22 of the more difficult cases, they were sent to a large animal sanctuary in Utah called Best Friends, according to the Washington Post. The dogs spent years there recovering. Most of them ended up adopted as well.
Over the last dozen years, many of them have died. Several adopters returned their dogs’ ashes to the Utah sanctuary because it was the place that gave them a second chance at life.
As of September 2019, 11 were still alive and bringing joy to their owners.