Layla, One Of The Dogs Rescued From Michael Vick’s Violent Dogfighting Ring, Has Passed Away

Layla proved that animals with violent beginnings can still be rehabilitated.

A dog runs alongside his owner.
crazypitbull / Pixabay

Layla proved that animals with violent beginnings can still be rehabilitated.

Michael Vick is a successful former NFL quarterback. However, he is perhaps most widely known for the violent dogfighting ring he once helped run. In 2007, Vick was arrested for owning a dogfighting ring known as Bad Newz Kennels. The animals, which were mostly pit bulls, were trained and made to fight one another, sometimes to the death. Meanwhile, those partaking in the disturbing form of entertainment would gamble upon which animal would come out on top. Vick spent 21 months in federal prison and the surviving dogs were rescued, according to Today.

There were 22 dogs — known as the Vicktory Dogs — that were taken from Vick’s property for rehabilitation. They were brought to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, where they were lovingly cared for. Layla, a 15-year-old dog that was among the group, recently passed away.

After the amount of violence Layla endured in the first part of her life, it took five years for her to pass the Canine Good Citizen test, which means she was officially ready for adoption. Tess Rushton, who’d been interning at the animal sanctuary at the time, decided to adopt her. Rushton was able to provide Layla with the loving, calm home that the dog, unfortunately, had not received earlier in her life. As far as her temperament, Rushton said Layla did not end up with the violent, angry personality she was raised to have.

“She turned out to be absolutely lovely. We played it pretty low-key in our lives because I really did just want her to be a dog and stay in her comfort zone, and just live her life. But I also didn’t feel like I’d pass up an opportunity to help educate people about dogs that experienced the kinds of things that she did.”

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Layla lived a very long life and in the end, it was her health issues that kept her from living a comfortable life. Her owner had to make the difficult decision to put her down.

Rushton and Layla grew to be very close during the six years they spent together, and needless to say, she will be very missed. Nevertheless, Rushton is able to take comfort in the fact that the pup is finally out of pain.

“It’s really, really tragic and sad. But she’s out of pain, and wherever her little spirit went, I’m sure it’s better than the way that she felt in that poor, aching body.”