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ASPCA Issues Comment on Reinstatement of Michael Vick to NFL

July 27, 2009

NEW YORK— The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today issued a statement from ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres in response to suspended NFL star and convicted dogfighter Michael Vick's conditional reinstatement to the National Football League:

"Leaders are challenged to make difficult decisions on a daily basis—often under intense scrutiny and pressure," said Sayres. "Commissioner Roger Goodell's decisions surrounding the Michael Vick case are no exception.  While his decision to reinstate Mr. Vick undoubtedly will be met with cheers by some and derision by others, it is clear that the Commissioner has been particularly thoughtful and has weighed every factor in his deliberations. The ASPCA can only offer him our gratitude for the gravity to which he has lent the issue of animal cruelty, as well as the provisions that the Commissioner has set forth to ensure that Mr. Vick has a positive impact on the NFL and his community.

"Opportunities for redemption are rare—but that is exactly the opportunity that awaits Mr. Vick.  We hope that he rises to the occasion and proves worthy of the rare second chance Commissioner Goodell has granted him."  

The ASPCA worked closely with federal authorities at every step of the case, first assisting in the investigation itself through the involvement of Dr. Melinda Merck, senior director of Veterinary Forensics with the ASPCA, and later when Dr. Stephen Zawistowski, CAAB, executive vice president of ASPCA Programs, led a team of several Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists in the behavior evaluations of the seized dogs.