NORFOLK, Va. -- A Pennsylvania-based animal rights group is raising money to buy NFL star Michael Vick's former dogfighting compound and turn it into a rehabilitation center for chained and penned dogs.
Dogs Deserve Better of Tipton, Pa. says it has until March 20 to raise nearly $600,000 to buy the 4,600-square-foot house in Surry County, Va.
Organization founder Tamira Thayne said Tuesday that about $55,000 has been raised. She said it was important to buy Vick's home rather than a less expensive piece of property for a rehabilitation center because of its symbolism.
"When something of this nature happens it's kind of a collective hurt on the entire nation -- especially the dog lovers of the nation," she said. "It's almost like you're powerless against this evil that's come along. When you step back and take over this property ... you're empowering yourself."
The house and the 15 acres it sits on served as headquarters for the Bad Newz Kennels dogfighting operation.
Dogs Deserve Better says its ultimate goal is to raise $3 million to buy the site, install fencing and build a facility for the dogs.
The house would be used for offices.
The property has five bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, two fireplaces, cathedral ceilings, walk-in closets and an attached, two-car garage. It was originally listed for sale for $1.1 million in 2007 following Vick's prison sentence.