PITTSBURGH -- In 2007, Michael Vick was the center of controversy after he was arrested for his role in a dog fighting ring. Now, eight years later, the former Virginia Tech football star and current Pittsburgh Steeler said he was an animal advocate who wanted to make a difference. On Tuesday, Vick went to the Pennsylvania State Capitol to show his support for a bill that would help protect pets in hot cars.
"It's a big issue everywhere," said Vick.
In a phone interview Tuesday, Vick told CBS 6 reporter Chelsea Rarrick that he had heard about the problem lately and was asked to get involved.
"I thought it was right down my alley, it was like perfect timing," he said.
The "Pets in Cars" bill would allow first responders to break into cars to rescue dogs and cats in distress without being liable for damage to those vehicles. Rarrick asked Vick what he would say to those who have some hesitation hearing this because of his past.
"My history doesn't have anything to do with what I'm doing now," said Vick. "I think because I have the time to do it and it's something I set out to do post incarceration."
Tarra Balcom, a volunteer with Gracie's Guardians, an animal advocacy group said it was likely people will form their own opinion about everything, but the bill itself is beneficial to animals.
"Any influence that he can have towards helping advocate for animals is going to better the animal community and our community in general," said Balcom.