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Old 04-29-2007, 02:31 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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NFL Player Micheal Vick busted for dog-fighting

NFL star Michael Vick blamed family members for taking advantage of his generosity after a police raid found evidence of dog fighting at property he owns in Surry County.

"I'm never at the house," Vick said at a New York news conference Friday to announce his participation in the NFL Quarterback Challenge. "I left the house with my family members and my cousin. They just haven't been doing the right thing."

Authorities found a room resembling one used in dog fighting when they searched the home this week, an investigator on the case said.

Blood covered areas of the room, said Kathy Strouse, of the Virginia Animal Fighting Task Force.

Authorities removed the last of 66 dogs Friday from the home about 10 miles from Smithfield, where Vick's cousin Davon Boddie lives.

Vick owns the 15-acre property. A sheriff's deputy said Thursday that the former Virginia Tech star was not the focus of the probe.

The animals removed include about 54 pit bulls, many of them badly scarred, said Strouse, animal control coordinator for Chesapeake.

The pit bulls likely will be euthanized if a judge rules they should not go back to their owners, she said.

The dogs are conditioned to be too violent with other dogs, making it "completely irresponsible to put them back into the community," she said.

A custody hearing must be held for the dogs within 10 days but one had not been scheduled in court by early Friday afternoon. Ownership of the animals is still in dispute, Strouse said.

Some of the dogs needed care for wounds and lacked adequate water or shelter, but most were in "fairly good weight," Strouse said.

They are being held at various shelters, she said.

Police also found a cache of suspected dog-fighting items, including "performance- enhancing pharmaceuticals," treadmills to condition the animals and papers that documented involvement in animal fighting, according to the Animal Fighting Task Force.

Boddie gave the Surry County address as his home when he was arrested April 20 in Hampton on suspicion of marijuana possession with the intent to distribute. Police got a search warrant and went through the house Wednesday looking for drugs and drug paraphernalia.

That's when officers found evidence of dog fighting, according to a subsequent search warrant filed in Surry County Circuit Court.

Organized dog fighting is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $2,500 fine.

Vick insisted Friday that he knew nothing of what was happening at the home.

"It's unfortunate I have to take the heat," the Newport News native said. " It's a call for me to really tighten down on who I'm trying to take care of.... Lesson learned for me."

The Associated Press and staff writer Dave Forster contributed to this report.

http://content.hamptonroads.com/stor...580&ran=128460
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Old 04-29-2007, 02:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 06-01-2007, 04:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
 

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pretty sick i wouldn't want my 14 year old to be looking up to him. Needless to say he should be banished from the NFL. I couldn't agree more
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Old 06-01-2007, 08:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
 

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I watched the report on this on espn and they had a guy talking saying that there are alot more nfl players in on this and they dont want vick talking cuz he knows everything that goes on in the nfl dog fighting scene.
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Old 06-04-2007, 05:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
 

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This story really opened up discussion at my pet store about pitbulls... even customers who normally think pits are mean, know the injustice of owners who fight them. We just continue to educate the fact that pits only learn aggression... if they are not exposed to any, they will simply never know what it is. All i have to do is show a picture of my grown pit and his "brother" our Chihuahua - and stress the little guy is the one with instinct aggression! Moose simply does not know he is a "pitbull" and just knows he is a "pet." (And a loved one at that!!)
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Old 06-08-2007, 12:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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another article from the UK press:

Dog days in Atlanta for NFL's troubled superstar (UK)

American Football: Dog days in Atlanta for NFL's troubled superstar
American sport has been rocked by the claim that one of its greatest stars enjoys dogfighting. Rupert Cornwell reports
Published: 07 June 2007
Guns, drugs, rape, booze, domestic violence - in terms of lurid, off-field headlines generated by a wayward minority of its lionised and massively paid performers, surely no top-level sport on earth beats America's National Football League. And now to this list of transgressions must be added what is surely the most bizarre of all: dogfighting.

Yes, dogfighting, that gruesome "sport", banned in all 50 US states and a felony crime in 48 of them, in which pit bull terriers and the like, bred and trained for their viciousness, rip each other apart in contests in which one or other of the animals often dies. It is a clandestine, tightly guarded subculture, thriving on gambling money that permits purses of up to $100,000 (50,180) a match. Now, however, dogfighting faces public scrutiny as never before, thanks to an NFL superstar named Michael Vick.

Vick is the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, one of the very few black men to occupy gridiron's most crucial position. He is one of the NFL's most thrilling players, renowned for his dazzling rushing game and currently in the middle of a 10-year $167m (84m) contract that makes him the third-highest earner in all of American team sports.

Vick has already managed to contribute his share of the now familiar off-field lurid headlines relating to the NFL, including a a 2005 case of allegedly giving a girlfriend a sexually transmitted disease, and an obscene gesture to Falcons fans after a game last season. That incident earned Vick a $10,000 fine. Now it appears he is a patron of dogfighting as well.

The whole thing began on 25 April this year, when police raided a large, new white house in leafy Smithfield in south-eastern Virginia. The raid was part of a drugs investigation, but attention quickly switched to a group of five black-painted outbuildings tucked away in the woods behind.

There police found some 60 dogs, most of them pit bulls, either in kennels or tethered to stakes buried deep in the ground. The animals were well-fed, but some of them bore scars and wounds. There were other, even more suspicious items, including a "pry bar" used to force open the jaws of a fighting dog, as well as a "rape stand" that holds an aggressive dog in place during mating. The most incriminating discovery of all was an upstairs room, measuring some 16-feet square, its lower walls spattered with blood, and with a dog's tooth lying on a bucket - evidence that organised fights had taken place on the property. The owner of the house, although he did not live there, was Michael Vick.

Thus far no charges have been brought, and Vick himself denies wrongdoing.

Others were acting behind his back, he maintains, among them his cousin Davon Boddie, who was actually living at the house and whose drug arrest led to the original raid. "It's unfortunate I have to take the heat," Vick told reporters when the story broke, "Lesson learnt for me."

But matters may not be so simple. Vick visited the house several times, and reports claim he knew well what was going on, and was himself a big financial backer of dogfighting. Last week the sports network ESPN ran an interview with an unidentified source, who claimed he had personally seen the football star placing a $40,000 bet on one of his own dogs in a fight in 2000 - the year before he became the top overall pick in the annual NFL draft. Nor is it any secret that the eastern Virginia region, stretching up to Washington DC, has long been a centre for dogfighting.

On the other hand, Vick is a registered kennel owner and breeder. Much of the equipment found could thus be perfectly legitimate. And even though investigators found a bloodstained square of carpet, of the size typically used in dogfights to give the animals "traction," no witness to an actual dogfight in the upstairs room at the outhouse has yet come forward. The local prosecutor is also proceeding very cautiously, mindful of an earlier dogfighting case that collapsed because of an illegal search by authorities.

Such considerations have held up a search warrant to dig for fighting dogs buried in the grounds. In the mean time, Vick has sold the house.

What seem irrefutable are the links between dogfighting and elements within the NFL and the National Basketball Association. The most specific such link is Leshon Johnson, a former running back for the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants, convicted and given a five-year suspended sentence in 2005 of belonging to a dogfighting ring. A more general one is the intensely competitive, violence-drenched culture of the NFL. As one unnamed, one-time NFL All-star told Sports Illustrated magazine this week, "[Dog]fighting is a fun thing to some athletes. Everyone wants to have the biggest, baddest dog on the block."

The case could hardly have come at a worse moment for the league. Football may have long supplanted baseball as America's true national pastime. The sport is awash with money, with ambitions to expand into Europe and beyond. But its off-field image problem is increasingly dire. Just a fortnight before the Smithfield raid, Roger Goodell, who took over as NFL commissioner in September 2006, announced a clampdown on such misconduct, which had seen nine members of one team alone (the Cincinnati Bengals) arrested in the space of just 12 months.

To underline his point, Goodell imposed an unprecedented 16-game suspension, the equivalent to an entire regular season, on Adam Jones of the Tennessee Titans after arrests for assault, vandalism and other offences. Only this week the Commissioner barred Tank Johnson of the Chicago Bears for eight games, after Johnson, on parole for gun offences, was lfound with six unregistered firearms at his home. A few days later, his personal bodyguard was shot dead when the pair were at a Chicago nightclub.

The dogfighting connection may be no less damaging. People may not have much sympathy for nightclub heavies. But everyone loves dogs. The Humane Society of the United States, the America equivalent of the RSPCA, has demanded an investigation into the Vick case, calling dogfighting a "barbaric activity ... that fosters violence in our communities. "

Even more ominously Congress, which has recently passed legislation tightening interstate rules against dogfighting, is getting in on the act. A couple of years ago, the House Oversight and Government Reform committee held sensational hearings on steroid use in baseball. Now Tom Lantos, one of the panel's most senior members (and a dog-lover in the habit of bringing his small white terrier to his Capitol Hill office) has demanded that the NFL punish Vick - even before any indictment, let along conviction, has been handed down. Whether he likes it or not, this is one case that Goodell cannot ignore.

http://sport. independent. co.uk/general/ article2621491. ece



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