Michael Vick to Lobby for Pa. Animal Protection Bill

The former Eagles quarterback has come out in support of a bill that would allow first responders to break windows in order to free dogs trapped in hot cars.

Michael Vick

Michael Vick, during his Eagles playing days.| Jeff Fusco

Michael Vick is doing a good deed for dogs.

Vick, who pleaded guilty in 2007 to charges stemming from a dogfighting ring he ran during the early part of his NFL career — he ended up serving time in federal prison — posted a message to his Facebook page with a link to a petition supporting a Pennsylvania House bill that would allow cops to break a car’s windows if a dog were left inside on a hot day. A spokesperson for Vick says he will lobby in Harrisburg in favor of the legislation.

Pennsylvania House Bill 1516, which has bipartisan support, makes is a summary offense to leave a dog in a car on a hot day. It also allows “a police officer, a volunteer or professional
fireman, humane officer, security guard or other first responder” to damage the car — by breaking its windows, most commonly — in order to get the dog out of it. Neither the first responders nor their agencies would be liable for any damage to the car.

The bill gives instructions as to what first responders should do after they rescue a dog from a hot car:

  1. “leave a note in the motor vehicle or in a conspicuous location stating the person’s name and contact information and information as to where the dog or cat can be located”
  2. “take the dog or cat to a veterinary hospital or animal care clinic for treatment and health screening. The dog or cat shall then be admitted to a shelter or humane society if the motor vehicle owner or operator is unable to be located”

If it becomes law, the bill would take effect in 90 days.

To my fans, I need your help. Pennsylvania House Bill 1516 would allow officers to rescue pets left in hot cars. It lets…

Posted by Michael Vick on Monday, December 7, 2015

Vick is meeting with Democratic lawmakers today to encourage them to pass the bill. Despite his dog-harming past, Vick has actually done similar things in the past. He has worked with the Humane Society of the United States and spoken out against dogfighting. He testified before Congress on an anti-dogfighting law.

“I know that I’m an unlikely advocate,” Vick wrote in an email to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I was part of the problem.”

The former Eagle, who now plays for the Steelers, served 20 months in federal prison. Though he has spoken out against dogfighting, advocates say he hasn’t done enough.

They point to the gruesome way in which many dogs at the Bad Newz Kennelz were treated: “Jumper cables were clipped onto the ears of underperforming dogs, then, just like with a car, the cables were connected to the terminals of car batteries before lifting and tossing the shamed dogs into the water,” dog welfare advocate Donna Reynolds wrote. They say Vick hasn’t shown adequate remorse. Steelers fans have protested at games.

According to the petition, 17 states currently have this law. State Rep. Ed Gainey and State Rep. Jake Wheatley, Jr. are hosting Vick in Harrisburg.