Report: Prosecutor doesn't like language of warrant, blocks search

Updated: May 29, 2007, 9:16 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

RICHMOND, Va. -- Authorities have a search warrant to look for as many as 30 dog carcasses on property owned by Michael Vick that is at the center of a dog fighting investigation. But the warrant has not been executed.

In a news release, Sheriff Harold D. Brown said the warrant issued May 23 has not been executed at the request of Brown and Surry County Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald G. Poindexter. The release did not say why the two officials leading the investigation into possible dog fighting on the 15-acre property made the request.

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It's pretty evident finding direct, indisputable evidence of Michael Vick's involvement in dog fighting won't be easy. The bad news for Vick is having this case drag on will continue to cost him fans and support, writes John Clayton. Quick Hits Insider
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However, ABC affiliate WVEC-TV in Virginia is reporting that Poindexter and the county sheriff "did not like the language" of the warrant approved by a state magistrate.

Brown was not in the office and is the only member of the sheriff's department who can comment on the case, a dispatcher said Tuesday. Poindexter also was out of the office and did not return a message left by The Associated Press seeking comment.

No charges have been filed, but Poindexter has said he is confident when sufficient evidence is gathered, it will be brought before a special grand jury.

The warrant is based on investigator W.R. Brinkman being told by an informant that seven pit bulls were destroyed on the property in Surry County and buried in shallow graves two days before a drug raid on April 25. It cites "reliable sources" as saying that as many as 30 dogs are buried in various locations on the property, much of which is surrounded by a black fence and secluded behind a massive two-story brick home.

A copy of the warrant was provided to the AP by The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk.

The document gives investigators permission to search for pit bull terrier/fighting dog carcasses on the grounds and in buildings behind the black privacy fence in the rear of the home, which Vick has claimed he rarely visited. The Atlanta Falcons quarterback put the home up for sale shortly after the dog fighting investigation began and sold it the first day, but it is unclear whether the sale has been completed.

The warrant also allows authorities to search "all outbuildings which have blood-covered wood floors or walls" for anything that could be used in the killing of animals -- including ropes, guns, rifles, spent shotgun shells, spent bullet cartridges, shovels and "any and all evidence contributing to dog fighting and animal cruelty."

Police raided the home as part of a drug investigation. They seized 66 dogs, 55 of them pit bulls, and a variety of equipment that could be associated with dog fighting.

While items such as treadmills and syringes seized could be typical of a legitimate breeding operation, which Vick is registered to have, items like a "pry bar" used to pry apart a dog's jaws, and bloodstained carpeting raised dog fighting suspicions.

A native of Newport News who starred at Virginia Tech, Vick has blamed family members at the home for taking advantage of his generosity. He claimed he didn't know a large kennel on the property could be involved in criminal activity.

News of the search warrant comes after a report by ESPN on Sunday citing a "reliable police informant" as saying Vick is "one of the heavyweights" in dog fighting circles and has been known to bet in the tens of thousands of dollars on fights.

News of the search warrant comes after a confidential source who said he's been involved in dog fighting for more than 30 years gave an interview to ESPN's "Outside the Lines," where he referred to Vick as one of the "heavyweights" of the dog fighting world.

"He's a pit bull fighter," the source said of Vick. "He's one of the ones that they call 'the big boys' -- that's who bets a large dollar. And they have the money to bet large money. As I'm talking about large money -- $30,000 to $40,000 -- even higher. He's one of the heavyweights."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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