LAWRENCEVILLE - While former Falcons star Michael Vick is leaving his Gwinnett County home, three of the dogs used in his now infamous dogfighting operation may make a new home here.
Three of the 47 remaining American Pit Bull Terriers seized from Vick's Virginia home will be placed with Georgia SPCA, a Suwanee rescue organization.
"People might want them because of the novelty, but we want them to want them because of the dog," said Joan Sammond, the organization's executive director.
The dogs are expected to be delivered to the organization within the next month, but they will not be available for adoption for three to six months. In the meantime, the dogs will stay in foster homes, where they will be trained on behavior issues.
While some dogs that have been involved in dogfighting organizations are too vicious to become pets, a federal judge on Thursday signed off on recommendations by the court-appointed guardian for the dogs from Vick's Bad Newz Kennels operation.
"I am confident in the rescue organization I recommended for permanent placement," said the guardian, Valparaiso University School of Law professor Rebecca J. Huss. "With the experienced care they will provide these dogs, I foresee that many will eventually be able to be adopted by members of the public."
Vick faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced Monday for his role in a dogfighting conspiracy that operated on his 15-acre property beginning in 2001.
Vick and his co-defendants still face state charges in Surry County in southeastern Virginia.
While the Georgia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a new organization, beginning adoptions this summer, Sammond said she's worked on rescuing animals for two decades. She has even worked with the forensic veterinarian who investigated the Vick case, who provided a reference for the rescue application.
"We're really flattered we were chosen," Sammond said.
Sammond said she has worked with animals in the past that "need socialization" after traumatic experiences.
"Most of the times, animals can come around and they can overcome," she said "They just have to learn to trust people."
To avoid the celebrity factor, Sammond said she would not tell potential owners about the dogs' past until they have agreed to adoption.
Since August, the Georgia SPCA has handled nearly 200 adoptions of dogs and cats. The nonprofit located on Buford Highway also offers low-cost spay and neuter assistance for the community.
For more information, visit www.georgiaspca.org.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.