Thanks to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for this article.
Vick to pay $900K for dog care
QB had agreed on pit bulls’ care as part of plea deal
By BILL RANKIN
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 11/28/07
Michael Vick has agreed to set aside more than $900,000 to pay for the care and upkeep of 54 pit bulls found on his Virginia property during a raid in April.
In court documents, Billy Martin, one of Vick’s attorneys, said Vick on Friday will deposit $928,073 into an escrow account controlled by Martin’s Washington law firm. The money is being set aside “to pay whatever restitution amount is ultimately ordered in this case,” a court filing said.
The filing, signed by Vick’s lawyers and federal prosecutors, came in response to a motion filed last week by the government. Prosecutors were seeking to make sure Vick set aside enough money to pay restitution at his sentencing, scheduled Dec. 10 in Richmond.
Vick pleaded guilty in August for his role in a dogfighting operation known as Bad Newz Kennels at his former property in Surry County, Va. In that plea, he agreed to pay restitution.
Vick’s plea agreement calls for a sentence of between 12 and 18 months under the federal sentencing guidelines. Both sides — Vick’s lawyers and federal prosecutors — agreed not to ask Judge Henry E. Hudson for a sentence above or below that. Yet Hudson, who is known for handing out tough sentences when the circumstances call for them, is not bound by the sentencing guidelines.
Ponying up $928,073 for restitution can only help Vick when he is sentenced by Hudson, said Atlanta criminal defense attorney Don Samuel, who is not involved in the case.
“Obviously, when you plead guilty and express remorse and seek mercy, the ability to give a little financial kick to your mercy is always better,” Samuel said. “Paying restitution always helps. It’s a sign of remorse.”
Rebecca Jean Huss, a Valparaiso University law professor and the court-appointed guardian for the dogs, declined comment on the news of Vick setting aside the restitution, said Tom Shaer, a spokesman for the law school.
In their motion last week, federal prosecutors revealed that the costs associated with seizing, maintaining and finding homes for the dogs were significant, estimating the total cost at $928,073.
Prosecutors said the 54 pit bulls were placed in various shelters in Virginia. Since they were seized, the dogs were evaluated by behavioral experts from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and other organizations.
Some of the pit bulls may be eligible for adoption, the motion added.