Trees Planted to Remember 51 Dogs Rescued From Notorious Dogfighting Compound
Once known as Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels, the Good Newz Rehab Center continues to grow new hope for rescued dogs, hope that they recently symbolized by planting 51 dogwood trees as a memorial to the first dogs rescued from the infamous dog fighting compound. In a beautiful ceremony performed on April 30, 2016, rescuers, adopters, officials and investigators alike came together to honor the victims and encourage the continued effort to save and rehabilitate dogs.
On a lot in Virginia, disgraced NFL star Michael Vick built a house and turned some large sheds into a nightmarish dog fighting club called the Bad Newz Kennels. Many of us are familiar with what happened next: Investigators and officials caught and arrested Vick, and rescuers took the living dogs into a rehab environment and adopted them out over time. In 2011, Dogs Deserve Better purchased the property and transformed it into a sanctuary for rescued dogs called the Good Newz Rehab Center, including tearing down a section of overgrowth where, as Dogster reports, tire axles held chained dogs so that they were hidden. It was also the site where at least nine executed dogs were buried just days before the rescue teams arrived.
In place of the overgrowth, the rehab center decided to plant a memorial dogwood grove to honor the lives of the dogs from the Bad Newz Kennels, for both those that survived and those that did not.
Investigators and officials from the Vick case, including retired USDA Special Agent Jim Knorr, attended the private ceremony, as well as many of the families that rescued and adopted the Vick dogs, and special guests, such as author Jim Gorant, Wolf of Justice Rescue and opera singer Janet Hopkins. After a moving presentation, attendees planted 51 dogwood trees, one for each dog involved in the Vick case. Each tree donor had the option of choosing a pink or white blooming dogwood, and each donation included a memorial plaque with the donor’s name and the dog’s name.
In honor of the lives of the unknown or unnamed dogs who fought and died at the kennel, a weeping cherry was plated among the dogwood trees. Although it was a solemn day, it provided closure for many families while also engendering hope that the rescue, rehab, and adoption efforts of the Good Newz Rehab Center remain a priority as they move into the future. To help them continue their good work, make a one-time or recurring donation for the transformation of other rescued dogs.