Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Vick's Bad Newz

At 8:07 this evening, ESPN.com dropped this pearl on us:
...[Michael] Vick is unlikely to be indicted in the dogfighting federal investigation, according to information gathered by the NFL and Atlanta Falcons, sources tell ESPN's Chris Mortensen. The authorities have told the Falcons and league that there has not been any evidence that can be tied to Vick with the alleged dogfighting ring, the sources said.[SOURCE]
Sooo close to resembling reality...
Michael Vick was indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday on charges of sponsoring a dogfighting operation so grisly the losers either died in the pit or sometimes were electrocuted, drowned, hanged or shot.[SOURCE]
I wouldn't put those "sources" on speed dial Mort.

Whitey discussed Mr. Vick's troubles in an earlier post, referencing the strange fact that the Feds got involved. Let me first start by saying that Vick has only been indicted. As the famous saying goes, any prosecutor worth his salt could get a grand jury to "indict a ham sandwich." That said, let's look at some of the fine points of the indictment, which you can find in its entirety at The Smoking Gun.

There are four 'gentlemen' named: Purnell ("P. Funk") Peace, Quanis ("Q") Phillips, Tony ("T") Taylor, and Michael ("Ookie") Vick. No, there is not a charge in the indictment: "Gross Abuse in the Application of Nicknames."

Sometime in 2001, after Vick bought a house in Smithfield, Virginia, these four bought 26 pit bulls from locales up and down the East coast. Nowhere in the indictment does it mention them setting up an animal shelter, but it does mention the establishment of "Bad Newz Kennels." They even made some gear (shirts, headbands, etc.) to advertise their new venture. Other kennels named (in case you thought this behavior was isolated): "Show Biz Kennels","D.C. Kennels", and "Hard Core Kennels."

In early 2002 after one of their pit bulls fared poorly in a fight, P. Funk shot it in the head with a .22. This was to be a pattern: at least 4 more dogs were allegedly shot (and two electrocuted) by this crew. The indictment lists a string of fights between dogs of Vick's crew and other dogs, who came from as far away as Alabama, Florida, Texas, and New York. One has to remember that in each of the fights, when the indictment claims that one dog "prevailed," more often than not that probably means the other dog was killed in the fight or put down afterwards for disappointing its owner or due to injuries sustained.

The most damning aspect I found was toward the end of the indictment:
On or about April 2007, PEACE, PHILLIPS, and VICK executed approximately 8 dogs that did not perform well in "testing" [fighting trial runs]...by various methods, including hanging, drowning, and slamming at least one dog's body to the ground."[SOURCE]
There is more but I think you get the point.

The typical defenses for this behavior that I have heard are:
A) Dog fighting is part of a culture or,
B) Well, they didn't murder anyone.

There will probably be many more excuses thrown out with everyone pointing fingers at everybody else. Truth be told there IS no excuse for this type of behavior. Hopefully all involved will be locked in a little cage of their own for a long time. Unfortunately, Vick's cage will probably be located under the lights of the Georgia Dome.

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