Vick’s dogs form special Smyrna ‘Bond’
By Kelly Brooks
Marietta Daily Journal Staff Writer
SMYRNA - The owner and the manager of a Smyrna tattoo studio are fostering two pit bulls from the dog-fighting ring tied to suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick.
Brandon Bond, owner of All or Nothing Tattoo on South Cobb Drive and All or Nothing pit bull rescue, said he and store manager Daron James are introducing the dogs "to the world of human love."
In August, Vick pleaded guilty to a federal dog-fighting charge, admitting his involvement in a dog-fighting enterprise that killed poorly performing dogs by hanging or drowning. In December, Vick was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison. He and three codefendants face state dog-fighting charges in Surry County, Va.
Bond said the high profile case would teach the public about pit bulls in a way that his rescue organization and the Georgia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) couldn't have done.
The Suwanee-based Georgia SPCA applied for dogs saved from the ring and received three in mid-December.
SPCA Adoption Center Manager Julie Warnat had been tattooed at Brandon Boyd's shop. She kept up with the Web site for his pit bull rescue efforts, her main interest at SPCA.
She said she contacted Boyd because she wanted to work with "somebody who was just good with people."
"It's kind of neat because the tattoo industry has a stereotype, too," she said, adding that Vick's dogs would help the average person to learn about the oft-misunderstood pit bull. "We're just hoping that this will shed some light and people change their opinions on the breed."
Ms. Huss is fostering a black staffordshire bull terrier, Chuck, who is about 3 or 4 years old and will be up for adoption.
"He's like a little ninja man," she said. "He's enjoying himself and he gets along with my dogs."
Bond's shop manager Daron James, foster parent to a pit bull he calls "7,"- Vick's jersey number - said it's not about the quarterback any more.
"It's about rehabilitating these animals," James said.
James plans to adopt the female, who is about 2 years old and black with faint white spots. She's the only one of the three dogs that has visible signs of dog-fighting, with scars on her hind legs, nose, undercarriage and only half of a tongue.
"But that makes her all the more beautiful," said James, who has rescued pit bulls for a decade.
Bond started rescuing pit bulls 12 years ago after he ended up keeping Cain, 13, a black and white male he was fostering.
"He is the most loving, amazing dog in the world," Bond said.
He's also traveled the world: Cain has journeyed with Bond to Seattle, the Rocky Mountains, New Orleans, Caesar's Palace and across every major body of water.
Now, All Or Nothing Rescue has saved more than 200 pit bulls in the Southeast, he said.
Given his affection for pit bulls, Bond said he was "doing back flips" when the SPCA called him about Vick's dogs.
"I couldn't wait to meet the dogs," he said. "I was not disappointed; they are spectacular animals."
Before this week, Bond couldn't talk about the dogs partially because of a federal gag order that was lifted Friday.
"They're convinced the dogs could be stolen at any time," Bond said. "The dogs are never left alone, which is fun for them."
One of them, Bond said, concerned him a bit more than the other two. In Virginia, authorities found the light brown male pit bull chained to a tire, Bond said.
That's the one he and his wife, Ashley, plan to keep. They named him Makaveli, a stage name of the late rapper Tupac Shakur.
He hasn't shown any aggression toward humans. Quite the opposite, his tail goes between his legs, he crouches down or he simply runs and hides when Bond has friends over.
He's "scared of everything" and the most skittish of the three, Bond said.
"He's never been inside," Bond said. "When the heater comes on, he'll freak out."
But it's all about baby steps, or in this case, puppy steps.
He gets along swimmingly with Bond's foster pit bull, Annie Oakley.
"That's his new girlfriend," Bond said. "They hang out and party together."
And when it's just the Bonds, Makaveli is "incredible," the tattoo artist said.
"We finally got him to chase a tennis ball a week ago," he said.
Though Bond and James, as foster parents, have first dibs on Makaveli and 7, Chuck is up for grabs in three months via the SPCA. But SPCA executive director Joan Sammond said people wouldn't actually know they've adopted a dog from Vick's ring until after the paperwork is done.
"We don't want people to adopt these dogs just for the novelty of it," she said.
Ms. Sammond called all three dogs "very adoptable" and said they posed no threat to people. She also said that all of their owners would receive free training classes for life from Man's Best Friend, located in Woodstock and Norcross.
"We're glad that we're going to be a part of their happily ever after," Ms. Sammond said.
Information: http://atlantapitbullrescue.com/, http://www.georgiaspca.org/ or call (678) 765-2726