The "Vicktory Dogs," as they have become known, were taken to the Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab in 2008 after they were removed from the "Bad Newz" illegal dog fighting compound in Surry County, Virginia -- where the Atlanta Falcons quarterback boarded the canines.
After comprehensive medical treatment and rehabilitation in Utah, the dogs were adopted by owners from across the United States. For five years the reformed animals enjoyed freedom, but they -- and their new owners -- had never gotten together after that, until this past weekend.
"They have just had such a great time together. The families have had such a great time meeting in person," said Paul, owner of one of the dogs named Cherry Garcia. "We have communicated through emails, phone calls, text messages. But, really, to come together as one big family has been a magical moment."
Many of the owners said they now spend a lot of time educating the public about breaking down stereotypes.
"Wrongly so, a lot of people think that the dogs are instinctively wanting to fight each other," said Richard Hunter, owner of a dog named Mel. "This reunion is proof of exactly the opposite."
- Best Friends Animal Society