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Atlanta (AP) - To the people who once owned them, the bright red jerseys with the bold No. 7 emblem

zoned on them may have been symbols of a former sports hero they felt had let them down.

At the Atlanta Humane Society, they've become a surprise source of animal bedding or, even more likely rags to help scrub up the messes that dogs leave behind.

About a dozen donated Atlanta Falcons football jerseys bearing the name and number of quarterback Michael Vick have arrived in the email at the shelter since the superstar was indicted last month on federal dogfighting charges.

Vick's lawyer said Monday that he plans to plead guilty in the case next week. The charges include claims that he backed a dogfighting operation run from a farm he owns in Virginia, gambled thousands of dollars on bloody fights and took part in shooting, hanging, drowning or electrocuting dogs that lost fights or didn't show enough aggressive spirit.

Atlanta Humane Society spokeswoman, P.J. Smith said staffers were surprised when former Vick fans started mailing in the jerseys - often accompanied with financial contributions to the society and letters of outrage over the charges.

"Its wonderful to see the public support and in a very unique way," Smith said.

She said the jerseys are being used just like any donation of a towel or blanket would be - as bedding or to clean up the kennels.

"Kind of appropriate," said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States. Parcelle

said the national group has seen a spike in support since the charges against Vick first became public.

More than 300,000 messages were sent through the Humane Society's Web Site urging NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to ban Vick and nearly 200,000 were sent to Nike, which has since suspended a lucrative endorsement deal with Vick and pulled his products off of shelves.

The only other wave of support for the Humane Society comparable to the Vick outcry was the response after Hurricane Katrina left thousands of animals homeless, Pacelle said.

"(Dogfighting) is an issue we have known was very big in the country and growing in certain areas, but the public felt it was a solved issue," he said, "People now know that the battle is not over."

Like other Humane Societies branches, Smith said the Atlanta Shelter has received thousands" of letters and emails from across the country. But sitting just blocks away the the Georgia Dome, where Vick once dazzled fans with his on-field moves, she said the batch of N0. 7s from disatified Vick fans is probably unique.

For Rocky, a brown Labrador retriever mix waiting at the Atlanta Humane Society for a permanent home, one of the jerseys was being used to line his bed Monday.

"It's his security blanket," said P.J. Smith, a spokeswoman for the Humane Society chapter. "He's still a puppy and he's grown quite attached to it."

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