RIP Little Red, Vick Bait Dog Who Became a ‘Vicktory Dog’

When over 50 pit bulls, including a bait dog named Little Red, were rescued from Michael Vick’s dog-fighting operation at his Bad Newz Kennels back in 2007, Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, said the dogs would have to be euthanized because they could never be rehabilitated. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) agreed with Pacelle.

But animal welfare groups like Best Friends Animal Society and BAD RAP knew better.

They took in the dogs who survived that living hell, where dogs that performed poorly in fights had been beaten, choked, electrocuted, drowned and hanged – some by Vick himself. Vick, as you probably know, was charged with unlawfully torturing and killing dogs as well as promoting dog fights. After spending 18 months in federal prison, he resumed his career with the NFL. Earlier this year, he announced his retirement. He will now presumably be able to enjoy the remaining years of his life — an opportunity never given to all those dogs whose lives he cruelly cut short.

Fortunately, instead of having their lives cut short as well, there was good news for the Bad Newz survivors. Most of them proved Pacelle and PETA to be dead wrong. Successfully rehabilitated and adopted into loving homes, they became known as the “Vicktory Dogs.” Some became certified therapy dogs, including Jonny Justice (who was awarded the ASPCA Dog of the Year honor in 2014) and Hector (who passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen test – twice).

A dog named Georgia, whose teeth had all been pulled so she wouldn’t bite while being forced to mate, became a poster dog for the survivors, traveling the country to raise awareness about dog fighting.

Little Red, like almost half of the rescued dogs, was taken in by BFAS and rehabilitated at its sanctuary in Utah. She was adopted in September 2011 by a woman named Susan who had asked to meet her while volunteering at sanctuary.

“I never think that Little has been ‘rehabilitated,” Susan said in 2013. “She didn’t need to be rehabilitated. She needed to ‘recover’ from the debilitating physical and emotional trauma she experienced for five years as a bait dog.”

Susan has four other dogs, with whom Little got along just fine. Little was able to spend the rest of her life surrounded by love – and her favorite treat, antelope antlers.

“Who would think a dog who has suffered so much would care about such simple pleasures,” Susan said. “Sometimes Little acts like the pup she never was permitted to be. It’s an awesome sight.”

Although Little was shy, she had a huge heart, and loved to run and play. “She doesn’t dwell on her past, so I don’t either,” Susan said. She learned that the sweetness in Little’s spirit could not be broken by the cruelty she had endured – and the same is likely true for the other Vicktory dogs as well.

After spending nearly six happy years with Susan, Little became ill and died April 2.

“She spent the day at home with me, surrounded by her pack,” Susan wrote on the Little Red Facebook page April 5. “At 10 p.m,. she took her last breath. She was sleeping peacefully and simply slipped away. I am devastated and still in shock. I cannot adequately express the depth of my grief for my sweet little dog.”

Little died just six days before Dog Fighting Awareness Day, which is observed on April 8 every year. Like the other Vicktory dogs, Little’s legacy will be making people aware not only of the brutality of dog fighting, but the proven fact that its survivors can go on to thrive and live happy lives. Thanks to Little and the other dogs, states like California have passed laws that end the automatic labeling of dogs rescued from fighting operations as “vicious.” Instead, these survivors are individually evaluated by veterinarians and dog experts.

“We hope you will remember Little’s life,” Susan wrote, “and keep alive the fight to save animals who have been abused, abandoned and who have suffered, no matter what the circumstances.”

Rest in peace, sweet Little Red. The video below is a clip from “The Champions,” a documentary about Little and the other amazing Vicktory Dogs.

Photo credit: YouTube


Marie W
Marie W5 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Melania P
Melania Padilla8 months ago

So glad this baby found love at the end.

Sierra B
Sierra B10 months ago

r.i.p little red

joan silaco
joan silaco10 months ago


Margie F
Margie FOURIE10 months ago

Dear Susan. When Little Red died, she was happy and loved. My thoughts are with you.

Beverly Twigg
Beverly Twigg10 months ago

RIP Little Red. My condolences to her wonderful family. May Michael Vick and ALL dog fighters burn in hell.

jessica r
jessica r10 months ago

RIP sweetheart. So happy that you did have happiness in your life.

Laura McGowan
Laura McGowan10 months ago

Blessings to you, Susan. May you find peace after the loss of such a brave Little Red. She was one of the very lucky ones in this terrible world for companion animals.

Joan E
Joan E10 months ago

Thank you for giving her the home and love she needed.

Donna T
Donna T10 months ago

thank you