Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Michael Vick to lobby for law protecting pets left in hot cars

Michael Vick may seem an unlikely enforcer of animal rights, but the NFL quarterback is now heading to the Pennsylvania statehouse to lobby legislators on a bill that would help protect pets against the torture being left alone in hot cars.

Vick was a star quarterback for the NFL's Atlanta Falcons when he pleaded guilty in 2007 to being part of a dog fighting ring and ended up serving 21 months in prison. 

A spokesman for the 35-year-old backup quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, says Vick plans to meet with Democratic lawmakers Tuesday about legislation nicknamed the "Pets in Cars" bill.

PA House Bill 1516 would allow first responders to break into cars to rescue dogs or cats in distress without fear of being held liable for damages.

"I know that I'm an unlikely advocate," Vick said through a spokesman to ESPN

"I was part of the problem. Now, my perspective can help reach people that activists can't reach. I can help others become agents of change." 

Vick will be accompanied to the state legislature by a group of schoolchildren from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, according to his spokesman.

Since his 2009 release from prison, Vick has worked on a number of animal rights issues. Even so, a local animal advocacy group protested Vick's signing with the Steelers outside of the team's facility in late August. 

"All animals require kindness and respect," Vick said. "They depend on us, like children depend on us. Many animal welfare bills across the nation do not get enough attention to pass. We can change that."

Vick publicly supported the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, which President Barack Obama signed in 2014. 

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