Michael Vick's desire to be a dog owner in the future was met with anger by his harshest critics and a call for patience from the group he is working with on animal-rights issues.

In an interview this week with NBC News' TheGrio.com, Vick said owning a dog "would be a big step for me in the rehabilitation process."

Vick is banned from dog ownership for 3 years under the terms of his supervised release from federal prison.

"Vick should be banned from owning dogs for life," Jane Dollinger, spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, responded in a news release. "Just as convicted pedophiles aren't allowed free access to children, anyone who is responsible for hanging, electrocuting, or shooting dogs and who causes them to suffer in other unimaginable ways should never again be allowed access to dogs."

Wayne Pacelle, the president of the Humane Society of the United States, said it could be a "good thing" for Vick to own a dog, just not yet.

Vick has worked with Pacelle's organization, making appearances to warn students about the mistakes he made.

"It's too soon for Michael Vick to have a dog. Pet-keeping is a privilege and he lost that privilege when he committed atrocious acts of cruelty in the months and years before his arrest in 2007," Pacelle said in a statement yesterday.

"I agreed with the judge's ruling that he should not have a dog for at least a 3-year period after his incarceration. But the court did not decide to impose a lifetime ban, and based on the work for animals he has undertaken since his release from prison, I don't believe he should be forever banned from adopting a dog for his two daughters," Pacelle said.