The last surviving pit bull rescued from Michael Vick’s massive dogfighting operation has died, animal welfare advocates said Monday.
Frodo, one of dozens of dogs saved by authorities in 2007 from Virginia’s Bad Newz Kennels, was put down Saturday as his adoptive family “helped him pass over” to be with the rest of the rescued animals, according to BADRAP, a California-based animal welfare group.
“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.”
The “sweet, shy” dog was estimated to be about 15 years old – and spent the last 14 being “pampered like a prince” by the California couple who adopted him, BADRAP said.
A photo accompanying Monday’s death announcement shows Kim Ramirez and her daughter, Dominique, preparing to give Frodo a “big bag of steak” prior to his transition.
Another one of the rescued dogs, Jonny Justice, died just two days before Frodo, BADRAP 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,” BADRAP 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.”
Frodo was dubbed as one of the “most accomplished” so-called Vick dogs by BADRAP in an update about their adoption placements five years later. After initially being too timid to look caretakers in the eye, the anxious animal went onto blossom into a “cheerful dog” in near-constant search for human attention.
At one point, Frodo suffered from nightmares after being rescued and cried regularly, Ramirez, of Fremont, told the Washington Post in 2019. So Ramirez soothed the pup by turning on a fan or a TV, she said.
“I’ve had to somewhat rearrange my life in a way for Frodo,” Ramirez told the newspaper. “And he’s worth it, believe me.”
Ramirez adopted Frodo in the fall of 2017, she told the Washington Post.
Vick, 41, served 19 months in federal prison for bankrolling the dogfighting operation and admitting to killing dogs. Upon his release, the former Atlanta Falcons superstar went on to play for three NFL teams before ending his career in 2015 after 13 seasons. He later joined Fox Sports as an analyst in 2017.
Vick, who also paid nearly $1 million in restitution to care for the surviving dogs, told the Washington Post in 2019 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.”