Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, convicted in 2007 of running a brutal dogfighting operation, has gotten a dog.

“I understand the strong emotions by some people about our family’s decision to care for a pet,” he said in a statement. “As a father, it is important to make sure my children develop a healthy relationship with animals.”

Can that be right? Should a man who committed such a crime ever be allowed to own a dog of his own?

We think he should. Vick served about a year and a half in federal prison, finished three years of probation and acted as a spokesman for the Humane Society of the United States, speaking out, particularly to young people, about the evils of dogfighting.

No one has forgotten what led to his guilty plea to federal charges. He helped pit dogs against one another in bloody combat, and participated in the drowning of dogs that didn’t perform well.

Like other criminals, however, Vick has served his time and should be allowed to re-integrate into society.

“Our pet is well cared for and loved as a member of our family. This is an opportunity to break the cycle,” he said in his statement.

Let’s give him a chance to prove that that is the case. Surely, his neighbors will be watching.

Editorial by the Los Angeles Times

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