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All Forgiven & Forgotten? Michael Vick Is A Dog Owner Again After Fighting Scandal

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Oct. 12 2012, Published 3:30 p.m. ET

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By Debbie Emery - Radar Reporter

NFL star Michael Vick is a dog owner again, but fortunately this time the canine is a pet for his children and not a competitor in a cruel dog fighting tournament.

The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, who served 18 months in federal prison on dog fighting charges, defended his choice of the latest addition to the family that marked the final step in his rehabilitation after his shameful crime.

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"I understand the strong emotions by some people about our family's decision to care for a pet," Vick said in a statement, reported ESPN.com.

"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."

As RadarOnline.com previously reported, after serving 19 months in a Virginia prison for the gruesome torture and execution of countless dogs at Bad Newz Kennels, Vick was released in July 2009.

He started playing for the Eagles the following September and immediately began trying desperately to rehab his image, which has included working with The Humane Society of the United States to speak out against animal cruelty.

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"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," said the 32-year-old football star.

Vick was banned from owning a dog until he completed his probation, and when he first voiced his desire to get one he sparked an outrage among horrified animal lovers and activists who were disgusted that he should be allowed to have an animal in his home.

"I'm not a psychopath. I'm not crazy. I'm a human being," Vick once told The Associated Press about wanting to own a dog. "What happened in my past and what I did in the culture I grew up in doesn't shape and mold me as the person I am now."

Despite his troubled history and criminal record, the QB has bounced back to sign a 6-year, $100 million contract with the Eagles and even resigned the multimillion dollar endorsement deal with Nike after they dropped him when he went to jail.

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