ATLANTA, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Philadelphia Eagles star quarterback Michael Vick deserves to own a dog again, the president of the world's largest animal advocacy organization said.
"I have been around him a lot and feel confident that he would do a good job as a pet owner," Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Pacelle, who has toured schools with Vick, said the Eagles' starting quarterback -- one of the National Football League's most electrifying talents and possibly its most valuable player in 2010 -- is a changed man who has committed to speaking publicly against dogfighting for the rest of his life.
Vick -- a former Atlanta Falcon who was once the NFL's highest-paid player -- pleaded guilty in August 2007 to being involved an illegal interstate dogfighting ring called Bad Newz Kennels that had operated over five years.
He served 21 months in the Leavenworth, Kan., prison and was under home confinement for two months until July 2009, when his sentence formally ended and he was released from federal custody.
The day after Vick's May 20 release from Leavenworth, Pacelle announced his group and Vick would work together to eradicate dogfighting among youths.
But U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson also ordered Vick to serve three years' probation after his sentence, during which he could not buy, sell or own dogs.
Vick told TheGrio.com video news site that his daughters miss having a dog and that the hardest thing for him is "telling them that we can't have one because of my actions."