Thanks to InRich.com for this update.
Investigators to meet in Vick probe
State police, animal-control officials to review evidence in suspected dog-fighting case
Friday, May 18, 2007
By SONJA BARISIC
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
NORFOLK — Investigators are scheduled to meet Monday to review evidence collected in the weeks since dogs and equipment associated with dog fighting were seized from a home owned by NFL star Michael Vick.
No charges have been filed in the case, but Surry County Commonwealth’s Attorney Gerald Poindexter said Wednesday that as many as six to 10 people could be involved.
Dog fighting is a felony in Virginia.
“I’m convinced from what I saw that dog fighting has occurred down there, but who was involved in it I don’t know at this point,” Poindexter said. “We’re going to find out.”
Vick, quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, has blamed relatives for taking advantage of his generosity and insisted that he’s rarely at the house — even though he’s the owner.
The people possibly involved include those who have lived or been on the premises and people who took care of the dogs and the property, Poindexter said.
He said what looked like blood splatters on the floor of a room over a garage were the “most suggestive evidence of dog fighting. There were blood splatters, and somebody would have to explain to me how you draw blood in the normal training of pit bulls.”
He also said he was told there was a carpet with blood stains rolled up in a corner of a room downstairs, but he did not see it.
Poindexter said he and Surry County Sheriff Harold Brown called a meeting Monday with investigators from the state police and animal control to summarize evidence and examine reports. He said he doubted that the review would be finished in time to submit to a grand jury scheduled to convene Tuesday.
“I am not defending Mr. Vick at all, but I don’t want to see us rush into a case prematurely,” he said. “We are in the process of collecting evidence as best we can.
“It includes analyzing forensic evidence. It’s not traditional. You can’t go to the state sources that we usually have to do analysis of dog blood.”
After the meeting, Poindexter said he and Brown will “try to decide where we’re going. If it’s necessary to call a special grand jury, we’ll do that.”
Brown did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment. He was said to be out of the office Wednesday afternoon.
The case began in late April, when police conducting a drug investigation raided the house in rural Surry County and found dozens of dogs. They also found items associated with dog fighting, including a “pry bar” used to pry apart a dog’s jaws.
Poindexter said the county seized some 60 dogs from the house. Several dogs had old scars, but for the most part, the dogs appeared to be well-cared for, he said.
Vick is a registered breeder, so “the mere fact that he had a lot of dogs doesn’t mean a whole lot,” Poindexter said.