Michael Vick Indicted on Charges of Dog Fighting

Michael Vick, the quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, has been indicted on dog fighting charges. This follows news that dozens of pit bull type dogs were found at a Virgnia property owned by Vick and tips that Vick had been involved in dog fighting for several years and was one of the people involved with the Bad Newz Kennels. The Smoking Gun has a copy of the indictment and it is pretty damned disgusting.

The indictment claims that Vick and his codefendants killed no less than 8 dogs that either lost fights or failed fight tests. The method of killing ranged from electrocution, drowning, hanging to slamming a dog’s body to the ground until dead.

Vick and the other defendants — Purnell A. Peace, Quanis L. Phillips and Tony Taylor — were involved in an ongoing animal fighting venture based out of Vick’s home in Smithfield, Va., from early 2001 to April 2007, according to a statement released by the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Vick faces $350,000 in fines and six years in prison if convicted of the charges.

If Vick is guilty and if he does get the maximum sentence then he has gotten off lightly in my opinion. The methods of killing these poor dogs seem to have been selected to inflict the most pain and distress possible.

Now to be fair some of the more “sensational” items reported in the news aren’t all that big a deal to me. The “rape stand” strikes me as nothing really as American Pit Bull Terriers can be very dog aggressive (depends on the dog) and breeding them would be problematic at best. Also the claims of a “pry bar” (aka a “breaking stick”, “parting stick”) is also not much in the way of evidence either. I do not fight my American Pit Bull Terrier and the thought of doing so makes me sick, yet I own two breaking sticks. Since American Pit Bull Terriers are dog aggressive a fight can occur when you least suspect it and seperating the dogs can be difficult without a breaking stick (and I should note that using a breaking stick is safest for both the dog and the person seperating the dogs). The bloodied carpet on the other hand along with the collapsable fighting “pit” are indicative of fighting. The carpet is to give the dogs traction and the “pit” is often nothing more than pieces of plywood to create a wall around the carpet.

UPDATE (James Joyner): Steve beat me to it. Let me just add that watching Vick go from #1 overall draft pick to NFL’s the most exciting player to this has been surreal. What a waste of talent.

Bill Jempty has more at OTB Sports.

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Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. I’ve always had more passive breeds than the APBT, so maybe my perspective isn’t totally correct here, but I’ve also always said that “there’s no such thing as a bad dog, just a bad owner” (the same can be said of kids).

    I totally understand genetics in dogs as well as humans (freaking Irish!), but in this case I think it would be an insult to the relationship between dog and man if Vick gets only the maximum of six years. Repost (under the fold) the pictures of that mauled pit bull you once posted and I think maybe people will get the point.

    Sorry if this sounds hyperbolic, but to me this is roughly equal to people who get off on child pornography: innocence corrupted. It’s not my choice of breed, but when Vick gets out I seriously hope that no one will speak to him or do business with him — the original definition of a boycott — and that he will die as miserable death as did the dogs he found it amusing to be put down after one of his perverse events.

    Actually, if he did this, I’ll pray for much more than a simply death by injection.

  2. Anjin-San says:

    Six years does indeed seem like getting off easy. This is a crime that fits the definition of evil…

  3. just me says:

    I honestly don’t understand the appeal of dog fighting-I don’t know why somebody would want to watch, place bets, or get involved by actually raising (do you even really raise them?) and fighting them.

    There is a good reason for these kinds of fights to be banned.

    I am curious to see what happens from here, I can’t find too much empathy for Vick-in the end he will probably get off lightly.

  4. markm says:

    I heard a report from an “un-named source” that took part in these fights that BIG money was made/changed hands during this period. By big money I mean millions of dollars (I find it hard to believe but if your clientèle is of money then it’s probable). I have to believe there will be some tax issues added on when all is said and done.

    I hope he doesn’t get off easy.

  5. floyd says:

    So; When will we stop this cruel, inhumane, brutal, and unnecessary sport from being televised nearly every Monday night in the fall?

  6. roxane gunser says:

    Markm says big money was involved….millions….and I had also read/heard that sometimes Vick was betting $30-40K per fight….so I’m interested to know who are the other folks that have this kind of cash to take the opposite side of these bets? Perhaps other highly-compensated NFL players? Is this whole thing the tip of the iceberg?

  7. Tim Oliver says:

    While I find the treatment of the dogs reprehensible,I think six years is a ridiculous sentence for killing dogs.

    Remember people,we let doctors murder babies in the womb with impunity.Does anyone here need a graphic description of abortion?Pictures maybe?

    I know this will enrage dog lovers,but please,save the horror for our fellow human beings!

  8. unknown says:

    i hate him…he is so stutid

  9. unknown says:

    here is a link to the best vidio and its a puppy not a adult…hope you like it!


  10. markm says:

    “Perhaps other highly-compensated NFL players? Is this whole thing the tip of the iceberg?”

    That would be my guess. I think there are plenty of nervous people out there right now and with the media coverage this is getting i’d bet there are many team owners talking to their players.