The Milk Bones don't lie.
Five years after agents raided his dog fighting compound in southern Virginia and rescued Handsome Dan, Sweet Jasmine and 49 other badly damaged pit bulls, Michael Vick owns a dog again.
My colleague, Eagles beat writer Jeff McClane reported today that Vick released a statement saying he and his family had "obtained" a pet.
The news comes just days after Vick watchers spotted a box of Milk Bones sitting on the kitchen table in a picture Tweeted by Vick.
We don't know where the dog came from, its age, its breed or even its name.
Under terms of his probation, Vick could not own a dog until May. Last fall his fiancee had purchased a parrot for their children and Vick spoke publicly on sevearl occasions of his desire to have a dog again for his children's sake.
“I understand the strong emotions by some people about our family’s decision to care for a pet,” Vick said in a statement released by his publicist. “As a father, it is important to make sure my children develop a healthy relationship with animals.
Many people won't forget Vick's past "relationship with animals."
Vick was sentenced to 18 months in prison for running an interstate dog fighting ring, not for animal abuse. But by his own admission, we know Vick beat his dogs with shovels, electrocuted them and drowned them.
Many of his canine victims who were rescued went on to find loving homes. But some will spend their lives in shelters - thank you Best Friends Animal Society - because they are too psychologically damaged to be companion pets. [For a heart-stirring read on the fate of the surviving dogs read Jim Gorant's "The Lost Dogs."]
News of Vick's signing by the Eagles in 2009 prompted outrage from Philadelphia's animal lovers and led to team's decision to invest hundreds of thousands in animal welfare causes across the region.
At the same time Vick was embarking on his new, controversial relationship with the Humane Society of the United States, where he still serves as an advocate for animal welfare issues and educator appealing to inner city children to treat animals kindly.
HSUS president Wayne Pacelle in an email declined to comment on the latest news.
Vick in his statement sought to assuage concerns by telling the public that he hopes to instill humane values in his children.
“I want to ensure that my children establish a loving bond and treat all of God’s creatures with kindness and respect," he said. "Our pet is well cared for and loved as a member of our family.
Vick called the inclusion of a dog in his family's life as "an opportunity to break the cycle."
And he promised he would "continue to honor my commitment to animal welfare and be an instrument of positive change.”