In 2007, 22 of the 51 dogs that were rescued from NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s dogfighting ring were taken in by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. Those 22 dogs came to be known as the “Vicktory Dogs”, and nearly six years later, eight of those dogs have been adopted and are living in happy homes. However, in many of their cases, the struggle for good health is not over. At the time of their rescue, 16 of those 22 dogs were diagnosed with a rare blood disease called babesia, which was passed through the bite marks and deep puncture wounds sustained from fighting. If untreated, the disease can cause life threatening health issues. The treatment is costly and money needs to be raised to treat the dogs affected, both those who have been adopted, as well as those still waiting to find their forever homes.
UFC fighter Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy has partnered with the dogs’ adopted families to create a unique fundraising project for this very unique and worthwhile cause. For a $25 donation to the dogs’ babesia treatment fund, Dan will autograph a full color photo of him posing with two of The “Vicktory Dogs”, Mel and Oscar. In addition, the dogs will place their paw prints on each photo.
One of the most popular fighters in the “Ultimate Fighting Championship” mixed martial arts promotion, Hardy confirms that this is his first “inter species” autograph signing, and couldn’t be happier to be lending his name and efforts to the cause. A long time animal advocate, Hardy fosters homeless cats for adoption, and his efforts have been recognized with The East Lake Pet Orphanage’s “John LaBella” Award. This time, the call to action hits close to home.
Hardy is a friend of former Vick dog Mel’s adopter, and he was able to learn many of the horrific details associated with the years of abuse that the dogs endured. The revelations touched Dan, and he began speaking out publicly against Vick. When he learned that many of the dogs were still suffering side effects, he jumped at the chance to come to their aid.