Michael Vick supporting legislation protecting pets in cars

December 7, 2015, 1:06 PM

— -- PITTSBURGH -- Steelers quarterback Michael Vick is fulfilling a promise that he would advocate for animal safety locally.

Vick is scheduled to meet with Pennsylvania lawmakers Tuesday in support of PA House Bill 1516, or the pets in cars bill, which would give police officers authority to rescue dogs and cats from cars due to unsafe temperatures.

"I know that I'm an unlikely advocate," Vick said through a representative. "I was part of the problem. Now, my perspective can help reach people that activists can't reach. I can help others become agents of change."

Schoolchildren from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, will accompany Vick to the state legislature to lobby the Democratic caucus, according to the spokesperson. Representatives Jake Wheatley Jr. and Ed Gainey will host the visit.

Vick pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges in 2007 for his role in a dogfighting ring. He served almost two years in prison and has played seven NFL seasons since: five with the Philadelphia Eagles, one with the New York Jets and one with the Steelers, who signed him in August as a backup.

In late August, a local animal advocacy group protested Vick's signing outside the Steelers' team facility. One sign read, "Jail time is not enough. Ban Vick from football."

Vick told local media shortly after he signed that he can't take back what he did, but "the only thing I can do is try to inform the masses of kids to not go down the same road I went down."

In recent years, Vick has led advocacy efforts for animals and at-risk children. He has publicly supported the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, which President Barack Obama signed in 2014.

"All animals require kindness and respect," Vick said. "They depend on us, like children depend on us. Many animal welfare bills across the nation do not get enough attention to pass. We can change that."