RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Twenty-two of the 47 surviving pit bulls seized from suspended NFL star Michael Vick's dogfighting operation headed for a new home in Utah on Wednesday.
The animals left Richmond International Airport aboard a chartered plane en route to Best Friends Animal Society, a no-kill sanctuary in Kanab, Utah.
The move completes the process of relocating the 47 animals to eight rescue organizations across the country. Some dogs will remain in the permanent care of the sanctuaries; others will be trained for possible adoption by the public.
The organizations were recommended by the dogs' court-appointed guardian, animal law expert Rebecca Huss, and approved by U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson last month.
Forty-eight pit bulls were seized from the Surry County property, but one was euthanized for medical reasons.
Vick is serving a 23-month sentence for a dogfighting conspiracy. The suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback and three co-defendants raised pit bulls and trained them for fighting behind his home. Several dogs that did not perform well were executed.
John Polis, spokesman for the 33-acre Utah sanctuary, said caretakers will observe the animals for at least six months and try to correct any behavioral problems.
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