With NFL quarterback Michael Vick's dogfighting ring broken up and the now-infamous athlete behind bars, the story's finished, right? Thankfully, not for the pit bulls and other dogs used in Vick's dogfighting ring. They're living better lives, and a few of them will even appear on TV this summer.
A new life: Lucas learns to love people again. (Photos by Molly Wald, Best Friends Animal Society)
New episodes of DogTown on the National Geographic Channel will feature the rehabilitation and resocialization of former fighters like Ellen and Lucas. They're just two of 22 dogs rescued from Vick's property who are staying at a special area at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. Ellen is a "party girl," says Patty Hegwood, director of animal care, and "loves anyone who comes and visits her." Lucas is "majestic" and clearly one of the prized dog fighters: "He has the scars of lots of fights." Hegwood hopes many of the dogs seized in the Vick case will find new, loving homes. "After being tortured and brutalized, we wanted to show these beautiful dogs that people can be kind and that they can experience happiness again," she says. In the meantime, they'll spend their time enjoying walks, the sights and sounds of the outdoors, and the pleasures of the couch. "It's a true delight watching one of the dogs discover the soft sofa for the first time," Hegwood says.