Report: Vick indicted in dogfighting case

Report: Vick indicted in dogfighting case

Report: Vick indicted in dogfighting case
July 17th, 2007

Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick has reportedly been indicted on two felony counts stemming from a dogfighting ring that allegedly was conducted at his house in Virginia.

According to a report on Atlanta TV station WSBTV's website, Vick has been indicted for sponsoring a dog in an animal fighting venture and for conspiracy as part of another felony in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District in Richmond, VA.

Vick's home in Surry County, VA was raided on April 26 where authorities seized 54 dogs, along with several other pieces of equipment associated in dogfighting.

The property was again searched on June 7 by federal officials, who uncovered the graves of several pit bulls.

Vick denied any involvement in dogfighting conducted on his property when the case first broke and has blamed family members for taking advantage of his generosity.

The reported indictment could affect Vick's playing status for the upcoming season under the guidelines of the NFL's new player conduct policy.

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Re: Report: Vick indicted in dogfighting case

Vick has let down team, owner, NFL
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I have to wonder if Falcons owner Arthur Blank will return from vacation Wednesday just in time to accompany Michael Vick to the courthouse when he must surrender to federal authorities and be processed and request bail. Blank invested so much of his personal time (not to mention his money) in Vick and the quarterback's family. Who can forget Blank pushing Vick's wheelchair onto the floor of the Georgia Dome when the player was injured a couple years ago?

I'm sure that Blank and the entire Falcons' organization now feel burned by Vick. Hey, he's innocent until proven guilty, but there is no doubt that the model citizen label has been erased from Vick's résumé. And don't forget, before the dogfighting charges there was that episode with a water bottle and its false bottom in a Miami airport. Vick was never charged in that case, but the circumstances surrounding it — including the subsequent excuse that the compartment was used for jewelry — never sat right in most people's minds.

To people who love their pets, there is nothing worse than training a dog to fight to the death. But such cases are not uncommon in some rural parts of the South and Midwest, and the participation of a high-profile athlete like Vick simply brought fascinating attention to this crime. For example, I recently watched The Drowning Pool, an old Paul Newman movie, in which one long scene showed handlers training pit bulls for a Louisiana fighting ring.

Although Vick is technically a first-time offender, there will be tremendous pressure on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to suspend Vick for two games before there is a resolution to his court case. Goodell probably feels justified in suspending Vick because the player told him that he was never involved in dog fighting.

Remember, Pacman Jones has been suspended for the season without being convicted of anything, so there is precedent for Goodell to act on this matter, and act preemptively.

Three others were indicted with Vick and you can bet that one of them, in lieu of lesser charges, will attempt to implicate Vick even more. That's the American way when it comes to justice. The FBI got involved in the Vick case because the bureau didn't believe Virginia authorities were pursuing the case aggressively enough.

Outside of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, there isn't a bigger name in the NFL than Michael Vick. This indictment, regardless of the outcome, has put a black eye on the popular Vick — and the NFL — in the process.

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Re: Report: Vick indicted in dogfighting case

Vick to appear in court next Thursday
July 18th, 2007

Richmond, VA (Sports Network) - Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick is expected to appear in federal court next Thursday for a bond hearing and arraignment on felony charges relating to illegal dogfighting.

Vick and three others were indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has scheduled a bond hearing for Thursday, July 26 at 3:30 p.m. (et). Arraignment is expected to follow at 4:00 p.m. (et).

The court date coincides with the first day of training camp for the Falcons in Flowery Branch, Georgia.

Vick and the three other men have been indicted for conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture.

If convicted of the travel part of the conspiracy charge, it carries with it a statutory maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and full restitution. If convicted on the dog fighting charge, the defendants could face either one year in prison, a $100,000 fine or both.

According to the indictment, the defendants were involved in an ongoing animal fighting business based out of Vick's property located in Smithfield, Virginia from early 2001 through sometime in April of this year. Since Vick purchased the property in June 2001, the defendants formed a dog fighting enterprise known as "Bad Newz Kennels" and used the property for housing and training pit bulls used in dog fights. From at least 2002, the defendants and others sponsored dog fights on the property and brought dogs from several states to participate in the events. During the fights, the participants would place bets ranging from the hundreds to thousands of dollars. The fights would last until either the death or surrender of the losing dog, which would then sometimes be put to death by drowning, hanging, gunshot, electrocution or other methods.

Also, the indictment said the defendants participated in dog fights in North and South Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey and elsewhere in Virginia.

The dogfighting affair was first brought to light when Vick's home was raided on April 26 when authorities seized 54 dogs, along with several other pieces of equipment associated in dogfighting.

The property was again searched on June 7 by federal officials, who uncovered the graves of several pit bulls on the property.

Vick denied any involvement in dogfighting conducted on his property when the case first broke, and has blamed family members for taking advantage of his generosity.

The indictment could affect Vick's playing status for the upcoming season under the guidelines of the NFL's new player conduct policy.

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