10/11/2012 06:35 pm ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

Michael Vick Owns A Dog: Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Confirms Rumors About Family Pet

Michael Vick has confirmed he owns a dog.

The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback had initially refused to respond to rumors that he had a dog at home, but on Thursday, Vick released a statement confirming he has a canine of his own.

"I understand the strong emotions by some people about our family's decision to care for a pet. As a father, it is important to make sure my children develop a healthy relationship with animals," Vick said in a statement released by his publicist, according to

"I want to ensure that my children establish a loving bond and treat all of God’s creatures with kindness and respect. Our pet is well cared for and loved as a member of our family. This is an opportunity to break the cycle. To that end, I will continue to honor my commitment to animal welfare and be an instrument of positive change," he added.

As TMZ notes, there's been "a lot of controversy over" whether Vick should be allowed to own a dog.

Vick served 18 months in prison and two months of home confinement after pleading guilty to running a dogfighting operation.

"You were instrumental in promoting, funding and facilitating this cruel and inhumane sporting activity," said Henry E. Hudson, the judge who sentenced Vick in a Virginia court in 2007.

According to USA Today, Vick was "not allowed to own a dog under the terms of his probation." However, that three-year sentence reportedly ended in July.