NORFOLK, Va., Aug. 20 (UPI) -- A federal judge is preparing to make a ruling on the fate of the trained fighting dogs seized from Michael Vick’s Surry County, Va., property.
The 53 pit bulls have been trained to be fighters, not pets, which has led animal rights groups to push for the pups to be euthanized, The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot reported Monday.
The U.S. attorney's office has given until Thursday for any of the dogs’ owners to come forward to claim a pet.
If no one claims ownership, the case will be transferred to a federal judge who can either sell the dogs or dispose of them "by other humane means."
Animal rights experts said “other humane means” usually results in killing the dogs.
"If there is a professional dog-fighting operation, we typically recommend euthanasia of the animals," said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States.
Atlanta Falcons star quarterback Vick is accused of running a dog-fighting ring called Bad Newz Kennels at his 15-acre property.