RICHMOND TIMES DISPATCH
Published: November 24, 2008
Michael Vick put family pets in rings with pit bulls and thought it was funny watching the trained killers injure or kill the helpless dogs, a witness told federal investigators during the dogfighting investigation that brought Vick down.
In a 17-page report filed Aug. 28, 2008, by case agent James Knorr of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and released Friday under the Freedom of Information Act, a person identified as confidential witness No. 1 said Vick placed pets in the ring against pit bulls owned by “Bad Newz Kennels” at least twice and watched as the pit bulls “caused major injuries.“
The witness said Vick and co-defendants Purnell Peace and Quanis Phillips “thought it was funny to watch the pit bull dogs belonging to Bad Newz Kennels injure or kill the other dogs.“
Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison in Dec. 2007, and is due to be released from the federal prison at Leavenworth, Kan., on July 20, 2009. He returned to Virginia on Thursday and is being held in Hopewell pending his appearance in Surry County Circuit Court on Tuesday, where he is expected to plead guilty to two felony charges but receive a suspended sentence.
The report, which has some names and other information redacted to protect some of the parties involved, also details the killing of several dogs at property Vick owned on Moonlight Road in Surry County in mid-April 2007, just days before the first search warrant was executed on the property, turning a drug investigation into the one that sent Vick to prison.
It says Vick was administered a polygraph test by the FBI in October 2007 and denied taking part in the killing of dogs in mid-April. When told he had failed that part of the test, Vick recanted his story and admitted to helping hang six to eight underperforming dogs.
The former Atlanta Falcons quarterback, once the highest paid player in the NFL, has been suspended indefinitely by the league and his football future is uncertain. He’s also in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings with $16 million in assets and $20.4 million in liabilities.
Peace, who also was convicted in the case, said there were times he suggested that dogs unwilling to fight be given away, but that Vick said “they got to go,“ meaning be killed.
The dogs were killed by shooting, hanging, electrocution and drowning, and in at least one instance, according to one of the witnesses, when Vick and Phillips killed a red pit bull by “slamming it to the ground several times before it died, breaking the dog’s back or neck.“
When he finally admitted to his role in the dogfighting operation, Vick also said he purchased his first pull bull, named “Champagne,“ while a student at Virginia Tech in 1999. The dog was never used in fights, but was bred with other dogs, according to the report.
Champagne was among the 53 pit bulls seized from the home in a raid in April 2007.