Friday, July 20, 2007
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and three other men were indicted on Tuesday by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy related to a dog fighting operation. The charges included buying, breeding and training pit bull dogs, transporting the dogs across state lines to illegally participate in fights, and gambling on the fights.
The indictments stemmed from a search of Vick’s Smithfield, Virginia home in April, in which 54 pit bulls were removed, along with equipment used in dog fighting.
The indictment said that Vick had bought the property in Smithfield for US$34,000 to run the dog fighting under the name “Bad Newz Kennels” with two other people named in the indictment. Purnell Peace, Quanis Phillips, and Tony Taylor were all named in the indictment along with Vick.
The indictment stated that Vick took part in the killing of eight dogs that didn’t pass test fights, called “rolling”. The pit bulls were allegedly killed by hanging, drowning and slamming at least one dog onto the ground.
If convicted of both portions of the conspiracy charge, Vick could face six years in prison and a $350,000 fine. His property, located in Surry County, would be subject to forfeiture under U.S. laws dealing with illegal activities that are carried out at an interstate level. The indictment alleges that the dog fighting operation, involving American Pit Bull Terriers, spilled over into Alabama, North Carolina and New York.
Vick has a court date on July 26 for a bond hearing and to hear the charges. Vick has said that he had a kennel operation on the property, but had no involvement or knowledge of a dog fighting ring.