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NFL's infamous dog lover offers home to Iggy

| Friday, Oct. 19, 2007

RICHMOND, Va. (Exaggerated Press) -- Touched by the tears Ellen DeGeneres shed after an animal shelter took custody of the dog she formerly owned, NFL superstar Michael Vick today offered to adopt the canine.

"I saw Ellen on TV crying over Iggy, and I told myself that I had to do something to cheer her up," Vick said at a news conference outside a Claws & Paws animal grooming franchise near his home.

"I've already contacted the folks at the shelter and told them I'd be happy to provide the dog with a lovable home -- particularly if he's feisty."

DeGeneres sobbed on her nationally televised talk show on Tuesday as she related Iggy's story. She adopted the Brussels Griffon mix last month from the shelter but gave him to her hairdresser when the dog proved incompatible with her cats.

The shelter, which prohibits its dogs from being placed in households with children younger than 14, promptly repossessed the pooch. DeGeneres' hairdresser's daughters are 12 and 11.

"Age would not be an issue if I adopted the dog," Vick noted. "I'm 27, which is older than 14."

Vick said he empathized with DeGeneres and her hairdresser because he went through a similar experience in July, when authorities abruptly confiscated four dozen of his dogs.

"I don't want to discuss what happened in detail because I'm still pretty upset about it," he said. "They were the cutest, friendliest pit bulls you could imagine, although they didn't always all get along."

Vick pledged to provide a caring, nurturing environment for Iggy if he is permitted to adopt the animal.

"I can almost guarantee that the risk of Iggy drowning or being shot, strangled or electrocuted is virtually nonexistent," he said. "Although, you know, accidents do occasionally happen."

Vick would have plenty of time to look after the dog if he becomes its new owner.

The Atlanta Falcons placed Vick on indicted reserve this year after he suffered a severe legal injury that has jeopardized his football career.

"It's going to take a prolonged rehab period before Michael can attempt to come back," said K. Fenton Melwood, a noted sports physiologist and criminal defense attorney. "I'm guessing a minimum of 12 to 18 months."

Although the shelter operators have been criticized for taking back the dog, Vick said they should not be portrayed as villains.

"You can't be too careful," he said. "There are a lot of crazy, twisted individuals out there who might neglect or abuse an animal in their care."

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