Dogs seized in Vick investigation face deadline, could be euthanized
RICHMOND, Va. -- More than 50 pit bulls seized from Michael Vick's property face a Thursday deadline to be claimed. If no one comes forward, they could be euthanized.
Federal prosecutors filed court documents last month to condemn 53 pit bulls seized in April as part of the investigation into dogfighting on the Vick's property. No one has claimed any of the dogs, which are being held at several unspecified shelters in eastern Virginia, the U.S. Attorney's office said Wednesday.
The civil complaint filed by federal prosecutors does not name the Atlanta Falcons quarterback and is separate from the criminal case against him. But it does state the pit bulls were part of the dogfighting operation known as "Bad Newz Kennels," which Vick and three cohorts are accused of operating.
Also included in the document are detailed allegations about the nature of the animals' training regimen and the dogfights occurring at Vick's property at 1915 Moonlight Road in Surry County.
The government filed three public civil forfeiture notices in a Richmond newspaper to publicize the dogs' confiscation, and the deadline for claims is 30 days after the appearance of the final notice, filed July 24.
Federal prosecutors declined to comment Wednesday on the seized dogs. Typically, when confiscated property goes unclaimed, the government asks the court to have the items declared forfeited. In this case, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson will make the final decision on the dogs' fate.
"There's no dispute over who owns the dogs," said Daphna Nachminovitch, a spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. "Obviously this is not going to be a process where someone steps forward and says, 'This is my dog, can I have her back, please?' "
Though Hudson, who also is handling Vick's criminal case, will determine what becomes of the pit bulls, Nachminovitch said that it's likely that they will be euthanized because they're not adoptable as pets.
"These dogs are a ticking time bomb," she said. "Rehabilitating fighting dogs is not in the cards. It's widely accepted that euthanasia is the most humane thing for them."
Vick, 27, said through a lawyer this week that he will plead guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and conspiracy to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture. He is scheduled to enter his plea agreement Monday and could face up to five years in prison.
Three Vick associates have pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge and agreed to testify against him if the case went to trial. They said Vick provided virtually all the gambling and operating funds for the Bad Newz Kennels enterprise. Two of them also said Vick participated in executing at least eight underperforming dogs by various means, including drowning and hanging.
The locations of the shelters holding the dogs haven't been disclosed out of concern that the animals could be stolen, Nachminovitch said.
"They are a hot commodity in the world of dogfighting," she said.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
VICK SENTENCED TO 23 MONTHS
Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison and three years' probation for his role in a dogfighting conspiracy. The suspended Falcons quarterback is looking at a scheduled release of July 2009. Story
Update• GM: Falcons will attempt to trade Vick
• Lawyer: Vick might move to halfway house
• Former Vick estate fails to sell again
• Vick house fails to sell at auction
• Vick files for bankruptcy protection
• Prosecutor: Vick's Virginia trial can wait
• Vick ordered to repay Canadian bank $2.4 million
• Judge denies NFL motion to reverse Vick ruling
• Report: Vick not playing organized football in jail
• Report: Vick passes time with prison-yard football
• Vick's state dogfighting trial to begin June 27
• Munson: Vick yet to enter drug treatment
The sentence• Vick sent to Kansas to serve rest of sentence
• Vick asked judge for leniency before sentencing
• Vick sentenced to 23 months | Document (pdf)
• Poll: What do you think? | What they're saying
• Clayton: Sentence puts career in jeopardy
• Munson: Tough sentence by displeased judge
• Teammates show support at Falcons game
• Can Vick return to playing in NFL?
• Pasquarelli: No longer top of mind in Atlanta
• Last Vick co-defendant sentenced
• Podcasts : Cossack | Schlereth | Munson/Naqi | Pasquarelli
• Chat wrap: David Cornwell
Post Plea• NFL wants court to reverse Vick bonus ruling
• Victory for Vick: QB can keep $20 million bonus
• Fifth defendant in Vick case receives probation
• Vick's house for sale for $1.1M
• Some Falcons to visit Vick in prison
• PETA unveils new e-card
• Former Virginia estate fails to sell at auction
• Out of Falcons' sight, almost out of mind
• Judge's casework offers look at possible sentence
• Remaining dogs placed with rescue groups
• Source: Feds may push judge to up sentence
• NFLPA argues Vick should not lose roster bonus
• Vick co-defendants get 18, 21 months in prison
• Vick agrees to put up almost $1M for dogs' care
• Vick given April trial date on state charges
• Vick surrenders to begin serving sentence early
• Home at center of Vick dogfighting scandal sold
• Vick fires one of his lawyers in dogfighting case
• Man who sold Vick pit bull pleads guilty
• Man connected to Vick dogfight ring pleads guilty
• Third bank sues Vick, claims he defaulted on loan
• Arbiter: Falcons have right to reclaim bonuses
• PETA: Vick had class on animal cruelty
• Evaluations show 48 of Vick's dogs placeable
• Vick tests positive for marijuana
• Vick supporters turn out for town meeting
• Vick's apology notes fetch $10.2K at auction
Vick's Plea/NFL Suspension• Vick pleads guilty to federal dogfighting charge
• The plea (PDF) | Statement of facts (PDF)
• Vick's statement: Watch it | Read it
• Roger Cossack explains plea deal
• Poll: Vick should be banned
• Va. Tech, Beamer continue to support Vick
• Vick supporters drown out protesters
• NFL suspends Vick indefinitely | Goodell (PDF)
• Chris Mortensen on Vick's suspension
• Vick files plea agreement admitting to dogfighting
Indictment• Marbury's about-face: Vick 'is 100 percent wrong'
• National NAACP: Vick 'not a victim' | Audio
• Atlanta NAACP: Vick should be allowed to return
• Falcons come to terms with 'ex-teammate'
• Vick timeline | What they're saying
• Helyar: Even Atlanta turns against Vick
• Goodell: Vick not overshadowing season
• Vick co-defendant pleads guilty to charges
• Tony Taylor: Summary of Facts | Plea agreement
• Hometown residents stand by Vick
• Falcons had planned to suspend Vick
• Commish tells Vick to avoid camp
• Vick indicted | The indictment (pdf) | Civil arrest warrant (pdf)
Town Hall meeting• Town Hall chat wrap: Chadiha
Previous columns/analysis• Munson: Q&A on Vick reporting to prison early
• Munson: Looking at Judge Hudson
• Vick's high school learning lessons
• Bryant: Confounded by race issue
• Munson: Q&A about local indictment
• Munson: Next focus for Vick is length of sentence
• Schlabach: Vick an afterthought on VT campus
• Chadiha: Vick not running from truth
• Hill: Coverage means bigger issues ignored
• Wojciechowski: Pay attention to the fallen star
• Bryant: Vick's plea deal comes with baggage
• Bryant: In failing Vick, NFLPA fails itself
• Munson: Vick plea means surrender
• Forde: Vick's epic fall
• Pasquarelli: Major blow for Falcons
• Chadiha: Lots of lessons to be learned
• Wojciechowski: Punishment with teeth
• Easterbrook: Little sympathy?
• Clayton: Vick's NFL future might be bleak
• E-Ticket: A history of mistrust
• Chadiha: Vick's bad choices
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- Fathead Michael Vick Wall Graphic