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Vick can own a dog, after his “supervised release” ends

Michael Vick

FILE - This Dec. 12, 2010, file photo shows Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick after an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, in Arlington, Texas. The convicted dogfighting-ring operator tells in a video interview that he genuinely cares for animals and one day hopes to have a dog as a household pet. Vick says it would a “big step” in his rehabilitation process.(AP Photo/LM Otero, File)


It has been widely assumed that Eagles quarterback Mike Vick may never again own a dog as part of the sentence imposed on him after he pleaded guilty to federal charges relating to dogfighting and gambling.

The perception has been fueled in part by the comments from Vick himself, who seems to believe that he needs special permission from the judge who sent him to prison in order to ever purchase or own a dog.

I don’t know when that day is going to come,” Vick said last year. “It’s up to my judge at his discretion.”

More recently, Vick said that he “would love to have another dog in the future,” and that “if I ever have that opportunity again, I won’t take it for granted.”

As it turns out, he will have that opportunity again.

We tracked down (thanks to a reader who also is a lawyer) a copy of Vick’s sentencing order from December 10, 2007. And while the document states that "[t]he defendant shall not engage in the purchase, possession, or sale of any canine,” that limitation appears as a condition of Vick’s supervised release, otherwise known as probation.

Vick was placed on three years of “supervised release,” which began to run after he was released from prison. Thus, at some point in 2012, he’ll no longer be on supervised release -- and he’ll be able to buy, own, and/or sell dogs.