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He admitted to knowing about four dogs that his co-conspirators killed in 2002, and he admitted to agreeing to the hanging and drowning of 6-8 dogs who underperformed in 2007.Vick admitted he provided most of the operation and gambling monies, but he claimed he did not gamble by placing side bets or receiving proceeds from the purses. attorney who prosecuted the case, described the behavior of Vick, Peace and Phillips as “heinous, cruel and inhumane”, so he required that they accept a provision in the plea agreement that they “understated the severity of their conduct and that a sentence substantially above what would otherwise be called for by the guidelines would be appropriate.” Rosenberg recommended 12-18 months in prison rather than 0-6 months.Animal fighting has been brought to the forefront of the nation’s attention by the highly publicized conviction of NFL star quarterback Michael Vick and three of his associates on federal and state charges related to illegal dogfighting.Vick and his associates operated the aptly named “Bad Newz Kennels,” which housed and trained over 50 pit bull dogs, staged dog fights, killed dogs, and ran a high stakes gambling ring with purses up to ,000.Even after pleading guilty to the federal charges, Vick had not admitted to hands-on participation in the killing of poorly performing dogs. Attorney Michael Gill, Vick told the polygrapher, “I carried a dog over to Quanis Phillips, who tied a rope around its neck. Writer Jim Gorant described the assessment of the dogs: “What the [ASPCA animal behavior] team found was a mixed bag.Investigators got conflicting statements from Vick’s co-conspirators. Fewer than a dozen of the dogs were hardened fighters.A charge under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) for animal fighting activities in violation of 7 USC § 2156 would have carried only a maximum penalty of one year per violation.After his three co-conspirators pled guilty and began cooperating with authorities, Vick also pled guilty, admitting to funding the dogfighting operation and the associated gambling operation.
They also drowned approximately three dogs by putting the dogs’ heads in a five gallon bucket of water.” They killed one dog by “slamming it to the ground several times before it died, breaking the dog’s back or neck.” According to a witness, the men fought their trained pit bulls with pet dogs, and they “thought it was funny to watch the pit bull dogs belonging to Bad Newz Kennels injure or kill the other dogs.” They hosted fights at the Virginia property and transported dogs to other states to participate in fights.The following is an excerpt from a news article describing the charges: [Surry County Commonwealth Attorney Gerald] Poindexter said he pursued the case because “crimes that were not prosecuted were committed in Surry County.” But he would not say whether his prosecutors put Vick’s federal court admission that he killed dogs before the grand jury. Only one dog was recommended for euthanasia because of extreme aggression. Huss, Professor of Law at Valparaiso University School of Law, as the guardian/special master to advise the Court regarding the final disposition of the remaining 48 seized dogs.The others were deemed suitable to go to sanctuaries or foster homes for socialization training. Per her recommendation, the dogs were eventually dispersed to eight rescue organizations for adoption, rehabilitation or lifetime care in sanctuaries, where they have been neutered.The fights usually occurred late at night or in the early morning and would last several hours.Before fights, dogs would be bathed to remove any poison or narcotic that might have been placed on them to hinder their opponents’ performance. Gambling purses were frequently in the thousands of dollars.
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The men tested the dogs in fights, then shot, electrocuted, or hung dogs who did not perform well.