Dog lovers launch fundraiser to buy former dog fighting facility
In March, an animal rights group called Dogs Deserve Better was forced to come to terms with the fact they didn't raise enough money to buy National Football League quarterback Michael Vick's former dog fighting compound, Bad Newz Kennels.
The group was only able to raise $130,000 of the $600,000 needed to purchase the Virginia-based kennel. The group applied for a loan for the remainder of the funds required for the sale, but needs to raise another $30,000 by April 25 to secure the loan.
A number of Wisconsin-based Central Bark Doggy Day Care facilities rallied together to raise cash for the cause. Central Barks are independently owned and 10 of Wisconsin's franchises are selling raffle tickets.
"We want to help transform a place of tragedy into a place of hope and rescue," says Jessica Hatch McCann, co-owner of the Menomonee Valley location, 333 N. 25th St.
The Milwaukee Central Bark owners hope to raise $10,000 to contribute to the Dogs Deserve Better. They have already raised $7,000 and hope to secure the remaining $3,000 by April 25.
The public can buy raffle tickets for dog-related gift baskets at any participating Central Bark location for $2 each. The participating locations include Brookfield, Franklin, Kenosha, Lake Country, Menomonee Valley, New Berlin, Oak Creek, Racine, Sussex and Wauwatosa.
Also, many Central Bark customers are selling raffle tickets as part of the fundraising effort. Customers who sell 15 tickets or more receive a free nail trim for their dogs, and customers who sell 25 or more will receive a free canine bath. Plus, the customer who sells the most tickets will receive the grand prize of a 10-visit punch card, valued at $250.00.
If they receive the loan, Dogs Deserve Better will rename the facility Good Newz Rehabilitation Center and will provide food, shelter and medical attention to severely neglected dogs.
In 2007, authorities went to the Bad Newz Kennels in Surry County, Virginia. They found a dog fighting ring and more than 70 pit bull terriers, many of which were injured. Michael Vick, who was the quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons at the time, owned the kennels.
Vick was sentenced to federal prison, suspended by the NFL, forced to pay the Falcons some of his earnings and lost million-dollar endorsements. Today he serves as the quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.
All proceeds from Central Barks' raffle go directly to Dogs Deserve Better, a national, non-profit organization and the winner of multiple pet protection awards. The group's mission is to serve as the voice of chained and penned dogs who are neglected and abused. According to their Web site, their ultimate goal is to bring out the "best friend" in abused dogs who are often frightful and apprehensive of humans.
"Donating to this organization is going to help dogs and turn Michael Vick's property into something good," says McCann. "A dog rehab center will give dogs the chance to be dogs. Not live in neglected and abusive situations."
McCann and her husband, Mark, bought Central Bark Doggy Day Care in January 2009. There are 19 franchised Central Bark locations in Wisconsin. Central Bark offers day care, a dog salon, training, "sleepovers," a boutique, veterinary services and more.
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