A Pennsylvania animal rights group said Tuesday it will buy the Virginia property where Michael Vick’s dogfighting ring was housed, and turn it into a rehabilitation center for chained dogs.
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Dogs Deserve Better, based in Tipton, Penn., announced the almost-completed purchase on its website. The sprawling property in Surry County, Va., was raided by federal agents in April 2007.
"Our loan for the Good Newz Rehab Center has been approved by the bank! We hope to close on this property by May 15th, and we will be TRANSFORMING the Bad Newz Kennels," the group announced.
The group is asking visitors to continue to donate to the effort, saying on its website that $171,341 has already been secured to put toward the purchase.
According to Philly.com, the 4,600-square-foot house and 15-acre property is on the market for $595,000. An investor bought the house shortly after the Eagles quarterback was arrested on dogfighting charges, but had been unable to sell it.
Dogs Deserve Better, which aims to stop the chaining of dogs, rescues hundreds of dogs each year and places them in foster homes.
"We are ecstatic to get on the ground and start the transformation of this property and the entire community which was brought to its knees by the brutality that occurred," the group’s founder, Tamira Thayne said. "It’s a new day; we are sending a message that animal abuse is out of line with what our country’s citizens want. Dogs are family members, part of the pack, and we must honor and respect them as such."
Thayne said the group plans to build a state-of-the-art rehab center for dogs forced to live in chains or in pens. She added that a memorial will be built for the dogs that were killed on the property.
Vick spent 19 months in federal prison until May 2009 before resuming his NFL career with the Eagles. Vick now works with the Humane Society’s "End Dog Fighting" campaign.