Redskins RB Portis: Vick can do what he wants
While prosecutors and the league try to find out if Michael Vick was involved in a dog fighting ring at a Virginia house that he owned, one NFL player says it doesn't matter if he did take part.
"I don't know if he was fighting dogs or not, but it's his property, it's his dog," Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis told WAVY-TV in Virginia. "If that's what he wants to do, do it. I think people should mind their business."
When told that dog fighting is a felony, Portis replied, "It can't be too bad of a crime."
Investigators are still trying to determine if crimes were committed and if charges should be filed in the case. Authorities met to compare information on Monday.
"At this time, the investigation continues. We have no further comment," said a statement distributed to reporters after the nearly two-hour meeting said.
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The meeting at the Surry County government office involved Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald Poindexter, Sheriff Harold Brown, the county's animal control officer, two special agents from the Virginia State Police and an investigator with the U.S. Department of Agriculture also representing the U.S. Office of the Inspector General.
The case began April 25 when police conducting a drug investigation raided the house Vick owned in rural Surry County and found dozens of dogs. They also found items associated with dog fighting, including a "pry bar" used to pry apart a dog's jaws.
No charges have been filed in the case, but Poindexter last week told The Associated Press as many as six to 10 people could be involved. Dog fighting is a felony in Virginia.
Vick is a registered dog breeder.
He has blamed relatives for taking advantage of his generosity and insisted he's rarely at the house -- even though he's the owner.
The Daily Press of Newport News has reported Vick has since sold the home.
Poindexter said the county seized some 60 dogs from the house. Several dogs had old scars, but mostly the dogs appeared to be well-cared for, he said.
Vick has said he let a cousin, Davon Boddie, live at the house, and that he didn't know a large kennel on the property could be involved in a criminal activity.
Vick, the former Virginia Tech quarterback, in recent weeks has been sternly warned against misbehavior by Falcons owner Arthur Blank, and summoned to New York to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Redskins offensive lineman Chris Samuels, who was promoting a Redskins fan event with Portis, doesn't want the public to rush to judgment.
"You can't accuse this man of something and go ahead and throw the book at him right now," he told WAVY-TV. "He's got to be convicted first, and I don't think that's fair."
The NFL has shown a willingness to see if animal abuse is a widespread problem in the league, but Portis doesn't think it's an issue.
"You want to hunt down Mike Vick over fighting some dogs?," Portis told the television station. "I think people should mind their own business."
Portis said that dog fighting is more common than people think.
"I know a lot of back roads that have the dog fighting if you want to go see it," he said.
Later in the day on Monday, Portis tried to back down from his comments, issuing a statement that was posted on the Redskins' Web site.
"In the recent interview I gave concerning dog fighting, I want to make it clear I do not take part in dog fighting or condone dog fighting in any manner."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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