While fallen superstar Michael Vick works to reclaim a spot in the NFL, an unlikely voice was rooting from the sidelines. Delegate Joe Morrissey was sympathizing with Vick, who was jailed for his role in a dog-fighting ring.
“We are a forgiving country,” he wrote in a July 22 editorial supporting Vick's NFL reinstatement. “We value redemption and believe that once an individual has paid his debt to society, he or she deserves a second chance.”
Morrissey should know. A former Richmond commonwealth's attorney who serves as 74th District delegate, Morrissey was convicted July 7 on four counts of “allowing a dog to run at large,” a Class 4 misdemeanor punishable by fines up to $250.
In early February Morrissey's dogs were accused of killing a cat, say Henrico officials. “The very next day [the dogs] were just running loose on her property,” says Henrico Animal Control Officer Brandon Bohr, who captured Morrissey's dogs. Five days later, the dogs were free, Bohr adds: “The exact same thing happened again.”
Morrissey says he has a soft spot for animals. “I have many pets, including dogs and horses, and I love them unconditionally,” Morrissey wrote in the editorial, which appeared in The Richmond Voice.
He may love them, but Bohr says Morrissey is notorious for losing track of them. “For about the 10 years he's lived there,” Bohr says, “we've had numerous, numerous, numerous complaints from [his] address.”
Bobby Covington, who lives across the road, doesn't seem to mind. “I've never seen any trouble out of them,” he says of Morrissey's dogs. “They're as nice as can be. They follow Joe around wherever he goes.”
Morrissey is appealing the conviction. A hearing has been set for Oct. 6.