Michael Vick, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback convicted of running a dogfighting ring in 2007, has admitted to the press that he now owns a dog after rumors began flying based on a picture from Vick’s Twitter account.

“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 to Philly.com.

"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," the statement read.

In 2007, Vick was convicted of running an underground dogfighting ring and the quarterback ultimately served 18 months in prison, followed by two months of house arrest. As a term of his probation, the quarterback was prohibited from owning a dog for three years, though that statute has now expired, leaving him free to adopt a canine pet.

The rumors about Vick owning a dog began last week, when he posted a photo on Twitter that contained a box of Milk-Bone dog biscuits in the background. The photo was quickly deleted, but accusations began flying.

Later, Vick was confronted about the allegations of him owning a dog at a press conference for an upcoming Philadelphia Eagles game. Vick declined to comment on anything relating to his pets.

“I’m here to strictly talk about football,” Vick said Wednesday at the NovaCare Complex. “What goes on in my personal life is not to be talked about. What’s most important right now is the Philadelphia Eagles and getting the win Sunday.”