Vick's Co-defendants Illuminate the Dark World of Dogfighting

Escrito por The HSUS. Publicado en News in English.

 

As the Michael Vick dogfighting case unfolded, the nation caught a glimpse into a criminal subculture—the underground world of dogfighting. Although there are thousands of dogfighters all over the country, the American public was shocked at what it saw and heard when the Vick case broke. Now that three of Vick's co-defendents have pleaded guilty, the football star's future looks dim.

Vick's Co-defendants Illuminate the Dark World of Dogfighting

August 17, 2007

As the Michael Vick dogfighting case unfolded, the nation caught a glimpse into a criminal subculture—the underground world of dogfighting. Although there are thousands of dogfighters all over the country, the American public was shocked at what it saw and heard when the Vick case broke. Now that three of Vick's co-defendents have pleaded guilty, the football star's future looks dim.

Signed statements by Quanis Phillips, Purnell Peace and Tony Taylor, Vick's co-defendants, reveal the sordid facts of the case—and the suffering of the dogs who died on Vick's Moonlight Road property. The statements illuminate not just the misdeeds of a few men, but the cruelty of dogfighting as practiced all over the country.

Gambling was integral to Vick's dogfighting operation, as it is in most:

  • Phillips admits that "the 'Bad Newz Kennels' operation and gambling monies were almost exclusively funded by Vick. When 'Bad Newz Kennels' won a particular fight, the gambling proceeds were generally split by Taylor, Phillips and, sometimes, Peace."

  • "For a particular dog fight, the opponents would establish a purse or wager for the winning side, ranging from the 100s up to 1,000s of dollars."

Vick not only funded gambling and despicable animal cruelty with his superstar salary; he took part in killing sessions with his own hands, according to the statement:

  • "Peace, Phillips, and Vick executed approximately 8 dogs that did not perform well in 'testing' sessions at 1915 Moonlight Road by various methods, including hanging, drowning, and slamming at least one dog's body to the ground."

The operation of Bad Newz Kennels was typical of many dogfighting ventures:

  • Members of Bad Newz Kennels "did purchase and develop a parcel of property to serve as the main staging area for housing and training pit bulls involved in the animal fighting venture and for hosting dog fights...."

  • They were alleged to "purchase pit bulls for use in dog fighting...train and breed pit bulls...[and] develop the animal fighting venture's pool of pit bulls by testing the fighting prowess of dogs within the venture...and destroying or otherwise disposing of dogs not selected to stay with the ongoing animal fighting venture."

  • "In or about the summer of 2002 at various times, Peace, Phillips, Taylor, and Vick 'rolled' or 'tested' some of their fighting dogs...'Rolling' or 'testing' a fighting dog means placing the dog in a short fighting match to determine how well the animal fights. One of the pit bulls...in this session did not fight very well. ...Peace executed the pit bull that did not fight very well by shooting it with a .22 caliber pistol."

  • Later, "Taylor executed at least two dogs that did not perform well in 'testing' sessions at 1915 Moonlight Road by shooting one dog and electrocuting the other."

  • "On the property, there was "a fence to shield the rear portion of the compound from public view; multiple sheds used at various times to house training equipment, injured dogs, and organized fights...and kennels and buried car axles with chains for the pit bulls. The buried car axles allow the dog chains to pivot, allowing the pit bulls to avoid getting tangled in the chains."

Numerous pit bulls were cited in the statement as being used in fights, including one dog named Jane who traveled with Vick and his co-defendents into other states (including Maryland and North Carolina) for various dogfights at which large sums of money were wagered:

  • "In or about late 2003, Peace, Phillips Taylor, and another individual known to the grand jury traveled from Virginia to New Jersey with a female pit bull named 'Jane' to participate in a dog fight...The purse for the dog fight was established at approximately $5,000 per side, for a total of approximately $10,000."

  • "In or about late 2003, Peace, Phillips, Taylor, and Vick traveled from Atlanta, Georgia to South Carolina with a male pit bull named 'Big Boy' to participate in a dog fight...The purse for the dog fight was established at approximately $3,600 per side, for a total of approximately $7,200."

Vick's has lost his corporate sponsorships and is banned from the football field indefinitely. Although Vick's fate should be ample warning to dogfighters, similarly atrocious operations continue in basements, urban lots and rural outposts in every state. Gamblers and those who enjoy animal suffering will continue abusing dogs unless we stop this country's epidemic of dogfighting.

What You Can Do

Disgusted with dogfighting? Visit our page on how to fight back against this cowardly crime.

And donate to our Animal Cruelty Response and Reward Fund.