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NFL Star Indicted Over Dog Fighting

By Carolyn E. Price     Jul 18, 2007 in Crime
Quarterback Michael Vick of the NFL's Atlanta Falcons was indicted yesterday on federal charges related to dog-fighting. It is being alleged that he took part in an enterprise that trained dogs to fight to the finish, known as death matches.
No arrest warrants have been issued, and Vick and the other defendants -- Purnell Peace, 35, of Virginia Beach, Virginia; Quanis Phillips, 28, of Atlanta, Georgia; and Tony Taylor, 34, of Hampton, Virginia -- have not been taken into custody, said Jim Rybicki, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg.
Authorities alleged that Vick, who is 27-years-old, trained pit bulls to fight to the death, all while spectators cheered them on and bet on which dog would rip the other apart. Vick and three of his associates were indicted by a federal grand jury in Richmond, Virginia, yesterday for the following charges: a conspiracy count that alleges they bought and sponsored dogs in an animal fighting venture and that they traveled across state lines to participate in illegal activity that included gambling.
According to the indictment, dogs that didn't show enough fighting spirit, or that lost matches, were put to death by a variety of methods, including shooting, drowning, hanging and electrocution. Prosecutors are saying that they believe that earlier this year, Vick personally participated in the killing eight dogs.
Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the National Football League, said that they would review the allegations against Vick under their personal conduct policy. "We are disappointed that Michael Vick has put himself in a position where a federal grand jury has returned an indictment against him. We will continue to closely monitor developments in this case and to cooperate with law enforcement authorities."
A statement released by the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia says that Vick is facing six years in prison and a fine of $350,000 If he's convicted for both conspiracy charges.
The indictment that was issued on Tuesday charges that Vick was intimately involved in the operation called "Bad Newz Kennels". It states that he bought a property in Smithfield for $34,000 specifically for the purposes of going into business with Peace, Phillips and Taylor. The indictment alleges that during 2001 to April 2007, the four named defendants bought and trained the pit bulls and then hosted dogfights on the property. Prosecutors say that the dogs were also taken to at least six other states to participate in fights.
The owners of the winning dogs collected purses that ran into the thousands of dollars, and spectators also placed side bets on the outcome, prosecutors said. After one of the "Bad Newz" dogs lost a fight in March 2003, Vick personally paid $23,000 to the owner of the winning dog, who is now a cooperating witness for the prosecution, the indictment said.
Now here's where I get really mad. It is also alleged in the indictment that the four defendants "rolled" the dogs. This means that they tested them in short fights to see whether or not they were suitable for a death match. And just what did they do with a dog that failed the test? According to the indictment, they killed them.
While most of the dog killings noted in the indictment were allegedly carried out by the other defendants, Vick himself participated in the killings of eight dogs in April, according to the indictment. The animals were killed "by various methods, including hanging, drowning and slamming at least one dog's body to the ground," the indictment said.
Oh, what a lovely role model we have here for our children to watch and aspire to be. I just don't know where to begin. If this guy is found guilty of the crimes he is alleged to have been involved in, I certainly hope that he gets prison time and that somehow or another his contract can be declared null and void and he loses all potential earnings from the NFL.
More about Vick, NFL, Quarterback, Dog fighting
 
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