PRESS RELEASE: HSUS CEO Says It's ‘Okay’ for Ex-Dogfighting Kingpin Michael Vick to Own a Dog

Washington, DC – Today, a project of the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), is calling out Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) CEO Wayne Pacelle for his recent remarks at the Philadelphia Fur Ball. Pacelle reportedly proclaimed it was “okay” for convicted dog abuser Michael Vick to own another dog, stating he is “concerned about more than one dog.” points to the Philadelphia Eagles’ $50,000 donation to HSUS in 2009 as one possible motivation for Pacelle’s indefensible suggestion that Vick should be allowed to own more dogs. HSUS has continued its rehabilitation tour for Vick’s image after he was found guilty of unspeakable animal cruelty. In 2010, Pacelle told an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter that Vick “would do a good job as a pet owner,” but quickly backtracked after a justified uproar from animal lovers across the country.

“It is dumbfounding that Pacelle is doubling down on his belief that a convicted animal abuser should be allowed to own another animal,” said J. Justin Wilson, CCF’s Senior Research Analyst. 

Before HSUS used Vick as an ambassador, it ran a misleading online fundraising campaign, pledging to “care for the dogs seized” at Vick’s home. Wayne Pacelle later admitted to The New York Times that HSUS was not caring for the dogs, and in fact had recommended that officials “put down” the animals. Despite HSUS’s wishes, many of those dogs have successfully been placed in new homes.

Following Vick’s alliance with HSUS, the Pennsylvania SPCA reported that animal-fighting investigations significantly spiked upward. Compared with 2008, Pennsylvania SPCA animal fighting investigations tripled in 2009, the year Vick signed with the Eagles and partnered with HSUS, and rose again in 2010. “Michael Vick in my view definitely enters into the equation,” the PSPCA’s director of investigations has stated.

“When it comes to Michael Vick, HSUS has always had its priorities in the wrong place,” said Wilson. “HSUS is successful at emotionally manipulating pet lovers to fund a big pension plan but offers little assistance to actual dogs and cats.”

For more information, visit To schedule an interview, contact Allison Miller at 202-463-7112.

The Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit coalition supported by restaurants, food companies, and consumers, working together to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices.