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

5/29/2007 - NFL Michael Vick Atlanta Falcons + more

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.

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.