Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels, where countless dogs died or were tortured as part of his dogfighting operation, is one step closer to become a haven for abused dogs and neglected dogs: Today the nonprofit group Dogs Deserve Better (DDB) — dedicated to ending the cruelty of chaining and penning dogs for life — closes on the property.
Its new name: The Good Newz Rehab Center for Chained and Penned Dogs.
“Purchasing this property and in effect giving it back to the victims of the abuse that occurred here is a very powerful step for animal advocates and our country’s dogs alike,” says Tamira Thayne, founder and CEO of DDB. “We are sending a message to those who want to abuse and fight dogs that a new day is dawning in America, a day where dogs are treated with the love and respect they deserve as companions to humans.”
The property — once Vick’s Virginia house — is physically a beautiful one. According to the Washington Post, the 4,600-square-foot white-brick house (some call it a mansion) has vaulted ceilings, two whirlpool tubs, a fireplace in one bathroom, and a giant chandelier. It sits on 15 acres of land.
But for all its attractive trappings, the property is brimming with ugly memories. Some are right underfoot: DDB rescuers think the dark stains on the carpet may well be blood from the dogs.
For DDB, the transformation from dog hell to dog heaven isn’t just a symbolic victory: The group needs a facility for rescued dogs. DDB has been fostering and rehoming dogs across the US for the last nine years. Some 3,000 dogs have had their lives turned around by their volunteers and fosters. But the group has never had a facility to call its own.
Why a house? Because that’s what the dogs need, says Thayne. An essential part of adjusting to life inside a loving home is to live inside a loving home. The group’s goal is to rescue 500 chained or penned dogs per year, and to eventually add additional facilities there to take in more dogs.
She says dog lovers will be welcome to visit the facility and the rescue dogs, and will also be able to visit a memorial for the dogs who died there.
For more information or to donate to the cause, visit the Dogs Deserve Better Good Newz page.
Dogsters, what do you think of this transformation?
(Vick home photo courtesy of John Woestendiek, ohmidog!)