Michael Vick wants to work with an unlikely ally — the Humane Society of the United States — on a program aimed at eradicating dogfighting among urban teens.
Society president Wayne Pacelle said Tuesday that he recently met with Vick at the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan., and that Vick said he wants to work with the group once he's out of federal custody.
Billy Martin, one of Vick's attorneys, said that Vick requested the meeting.
"Michael is very interested in putting this together," Martin said.
Vick is serving a 23-month prison sentence after his 2007 dogfighting conviction. He is scheduled to return to Virginia this week to serve the final two months of his term under home confinement in Hampton. Vick is expected to be released to supervised probation July 20 after receiving two months off his term for good behavior.
"He indicated that he's tremendously remorseful about this, and now he wants to be an agent of change, to work to end dogfighting and to specifically get young kids to cease any involvement in these activities," Pacelle said.
Pacelle said Vick's advisers first approached him about a meeting. He said that he went into it with much skepticism.
The vicious bloodsport, Pacelle contends is a "culturally complex problem" that is prevalent among black urban teens and Vick's voice could become a valuable asset.
"Sometimes folks who are reformed can be particularly strong advocates," he said.
Vick became involved in dogfighting growing up in Newport News, Pacelle said.
"We need to be creative in addressing that problem, and Mike may be able to help us," Pacelle said, but not simply by recording anti-dogfighting messages or the like. "We agree that he's got to put boots on the ground and hit the issue hard and do it over a long time."