Eagles meet with animal rights groups

Updated: August 25, 2009, 8:45 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

PHILADELPHIA -- Animal rights groups and the Philadelphia Eagles are looking at ways they can join forces to combat dogfighting.

The team drew criticism after hiring convicted dogfighting ringleader Michael Vick. He wasn't in attendance at Monday's meeting.

Tom Hickey, chairman and founder of DogPAC, said he believes the upshot of the meeting was that the Eagles have a responsibility to battle dogfighting because they have employed Vick.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Hickey spearheaded a petition last week demanding the Eagles match Vick's salary in donations to local dog shelters and other organizations that protect dogs.

"I was skeptical going in [to the meeting]," Hickey said. "I thought they would have a plan in place to give a second chance to Michael Vick. I was concerned this meeting was just going to be telling us why they're doing it.

"I'm leaving with a good feeling they will focus on the local problem."

Eagles spokeswoman Pamela Browner-Crawley called the conversation a tough but constructive beginning.

Browner-Crawley said the team has an obligation to the community, and to work with kids particularly, to discourage them from engaging in dogfighting or any animal abuse. A second meeting may be scheduled.

Vick will make his debut in the Eagles' preseason game Thursday at home against Jacksonville.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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