Report: Michael Vick confirms he has a dog

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, center, talks to members of the Boys & Girls Club of Philadelphia about his new V7 apparel line at Modellís Sporting Goods, Wednesday, July 11, 2012, in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

Ever since Michael Vick finished his 21-month prison term for running a massive dogfighting ring, he has made no secret that he would like to own a dog.

Now it appears that wish has come true.

According to philly.com, the Eagles quarterback does indeed have a canine in the house -- a move that is certain to stir outrage among some pet advocates.

"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.

"I want to ensure that my children establish a loving bond and treat all of God's creatures with kindness and respect. Our pet is well cared for and loved as a member of our family. This is an opportunity to break the cycle. To that end, I will continue to honor my commitment to animal welfare and be an instrument of positive change."

Vick had been barred from owning a dog under his original parole conditions but that ban has since expired.

News of Vick's dog ownership had leaked prior to the statement. The sports blog Crossing Broad posted a seemingly innocuous Twitter photo showing the QB and his daughter studying in the Vick household. But the most noticeable object in the room: a box of Milk Bones dog biscuits on the right side of the photo.

Vick received a hostile reception by many angry fans in Philadelphia in 2009 soon after his prison term ended, and he is still a polarizing figure in sports. According to a Forbes.com survey, he remains one of the most disliked athletes in America. But Vick has worked to improve him image. Last year, he lobbied Congress to pass an anti-dogfighting bill and he continues filming public service announcements to warn of the dangers of animal cruelty.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com

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