Last surviving dog rescued from Michael Vick’s dogfighting ring has died

The last surviving pitbull rescued from former NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s dogfighting ring has died, an animal welfare organization announced on Monday.

Frodo was believed to be around 15, and was saved in 2007 when Vick’s kennels in Virginia were raided and 48 dogs seized.

Virginia-born Vick was a 27-year-old superstar – the first black quarterback to be drafted first, and playing with the Atlanta Falcons – when he was arrested.

Prosecutors showed he was running an illegal basement den of fighting at what he nicknamed Bad Newz Kennels.

He eventually pleaded guilty – despite his lawyers arguing that dog fighting was part of his culture – and served 19 months in a federal prison.

Vick was dropped by sponsors, losing lucrative deals, and paid nearly $1 million in restitution to care for the surviving dogs.

He was made to pay back the signing bonus from the 10-year, $130 million contract that made him the NFL’s highest-paid player.

In July 2008 he filed for bankruptcy.

Yet on his release he was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, then the New York Jets and Pittsburg Steelers.

Nike resigned him, and reissued his shoes.

He retired in 2015, and two years later was signed as a football analyst by Fox Sports – a job he still holds

He told The Washington Post he believed people have ‘moved on’ from the high-profile case.

‘I think they’ve moved past it,’ the former NFL superstar told the newspaper in 2017.

‘It’s been 12-plus years since it all happened, so I don’t get any questions about it anymore. People don’t talk about it. They don’t ask me about it.’

In November, however, he was more contrite when asked by about his legacy.

‘I hate it,’ Vick told the paper.

‘I think about that more than all the good years and the good times.

‘S***, it hurt [my chances of] going in the Hall of Fame. It’s going to impact everything.

‘But it was all self-inflicted. I was young. I didn’t have no guidance. I don’t use this as no excuse.

‘I could’ve said, ‘No.’

‘I could’ve made those right decisions, like, ‘This ain’t for me.’

‘That’s a blemish that I will never be able to erase.’

He now advocates for the Humane Society and owns a Rottweiler, Lotus, whom he described as ‘the sweetest dog ever.’

After the 2007 raid, Frodo was adopted by Kim Ramirez and her daughter Dominique in California aged around one year-old.

Frodo was described by animal welfare charity Bad Rap as one of the ‘most accomplished’ so-called Vick dogs, because he overcame such a traumatic youth.

After initially being too timid to look caretakers in the eye, he became a ‘cheerful dog’ in near-constant search for human attention.

Ramirez said that initially Frodo suffered from nightmares after being rescued and cried regularly.

He would calm down when she turned on the television or a fan, to soothe him.

‘I’ve had to somewhat rearrange my life in a way for Frodo,’ said Ramirez.

‘And he’s worth it, believe me.’

He was put down on Saturday as his adoptive family ‘helped him pass over’ with a bag of steak as his final meal after his health began to decline.

‘He was the last of 48 brave survivors from that game changing case,’ the Oakland organization said in a statement.

‘Sweet Frodo – how we loved him. He was one of the bravest survivors we’ve ever met.’

He spent the last 14 being ‘pampered like a prince’ by the Ramirez family.

Another one of the rescued dogs, Jonny Justice, died just two days before Frodo, Bad Rap said.

‘Oh Jonny! We thought you might live forever,’ the organization’s statement continued.

Prior to the death of Frodo and Jonny Justice, another dog saved from Vick’s operation, Uba, died during the first week in October.

‘Warm sympathies and gratitude to the families,’ Bad Rap said.

‘We’ll come back with more on each special dog and the lives they lived, but for now, it’s time to have a little cry and say good-bye to them all.’

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