Former Michael Vick dog travels to Washington, D.C.

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - One pit bull seized during the Michael Vick dog fighting case has gone national in a whole new way.

After being rescued, Gracie is now getting special recognition from the Justice Department. She may even travel the country soon -- as living proof that pit bulls are not a vicious breed.

In the first five years of life, Gracie has gone from a breeding dog in a dog fighting ring to a prime example that something good can come from a bad situation.

"When I look at Grace I often say to myself I wish she could talk to tell us what really happened," said Sharon Cornett, who owns Gracie.

Since her rescue, Gracie only needed some house training.

"Almost from the day the first day I got her she has been a very quiet very laid back dog she adores other dogs," said Cornett.

Her survival story brought Gracie to Washington, D.C., to an awards ceremony honoring the men and women who helped in the seizure of the Michael Vick dogs.

"Never before has any of the Michael Vick dogs appeared with them until last Tuesday.  Everybody wanted to talk to her pet her and see that this is not a vicious dog nobody has anything to fear from this dog at all," said Cornett.

This could become a familiar scene to Gracie.

"If Grace is asked to ever go on the road with the Department of Justice to show the positive effects of asset forfeiture she's ready to go," said Cornett.

Conferences about animal welfare laws are often held around the country and overseas.

"They're talking about how to make it stick how to build a case so you can do what the federal government did to get those dogs from Michael Vick," said Cornett.

Since the Vick case, Cornett, says animal control offices around the country have seen a marked increase in calls about dog fighting.

Just this month, 200 dogs were seized in what investigators called the largest raid of a dog fighting operation in U.S. history, spanning five states.

"If they really were getting the message they shouldn't be doing it they wouldn't be doing it," said Cornett.

Cornett declined to comment on the latest development involving Michael Vick. She says her role is to teach the dangers and horrors of dog fighting.

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