Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and three others were charged in a single-count indictment (here) in the Eastern District of Virginia with conspiracy to violate the Travel Act and the federal animal fighting statute in connection with a dog-fighting operation on Vick's property in Smithfield, VA. According to a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office:
[T]he defendants were involved in an ongoing animal fighting venture based out of a property located in Smithfield, Virginia, from early 2001 through on or about April 25, 2007. The property was purchased by Vick in June 2001. Since that time, the named 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 at the property, where participants and dogs traveled from South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, New York, Texas, Alabama, and other states to participate. Generally, only those accompanying the opposing kennels and “Bad Newz Kennels’” associates attended the fights. For a particular dog fight, the participants would establish a purse for the winning side, ranging from the hundreds to thousands of dollars. Participants and spectators would also place side-bets on the fight. The dog fight would last until the death or surrender ofthe losing dog. At the end of the fight, the losing dog was sometimes put to death by drowning, hanging, gunshot, electrocution, or another method.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, there is also a forfeiture count. (ph)