Lucas, one of NHL football player Michael Vick’s former fighting dogs, was humanely euthanized at Best Friends Sanctuary in Utah. The thirteen year old dog, cared for by the non-profit organization after a court order in 2008, succumbed to a medical ailment common in fighting dogs.
According to Best Friends Animal Society, Lucas was deemed one of the 22 most challenging of the nearly 50 dogs rescued from Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels in 2007. He was Michael Vick’s champion fighting dog and was placed in the care of the Sanctuary on the condition that he would remain there for life and never be adopted.
Best Friends began a mission of rehabilitation for the heavily scarred Lucas and the other dogs. They were deemed the Vicktory dogs and all eyes were upon them to see their progress. National Geographic arrived at the sanctuary to capture the efforts of the staff for the show “DogTown”.
Never before had fighting dogs been given a chance to be rehabilitated. Upon seizure, they were traditionally euthanized by authorities. As of March 11, Best Friends reports that 10 of these rehabilitated dogs were placed in adoptive homes.
Greg Castle, CEO of Best Friends, elaborates on Lucas: “Ironically, of all the Vicktory dogs, the one who could never be adopted per court order was the most social and well-behaved of them all around people….(he) was a sweet, affectionate, regular dog who wanted nothing more than to be around people – to love and to be loved. ”
Lucas succumbed to Babesia, a blood parasite that is spread through fighting dogs. Though symptoms can be managed, there is not currently a cure. Due to high profile nature and progress of the Vicktory dogs, the standard policy of euthanizing fighting dogs upon seizure is evolving.
Updates on the other Vicktory dogs can be found on The Best Friends Blog