1:30 p.m. Saturday, January 9, 2010
Report: Michael Vick got ‘adrenaline' rush while killing dogs
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Michael Vick seemed to get an “adrenaline high” when he killed dogs that didn’t measure up at his now-defunct Virginia dog fighting operation, according to documents obtained by WSB TV.
The records from the U.S. Department of Agriculture -- part of the federal investigation of the former Atlanta Falcons, now Philadelphia Eagle, quarterback – describe graphically how Vick and others at Bad Newz Kennels killed dogs that lost or refused to fight.
Losing was not accepted, according to the records.
”All of the pit bull dogs were destroyed after they lost a fight or refused to fight,” an unnamed confidential witness told investigators. “The dog that won the fight was the only dog that was allowed to live.”
Vick pleaded guilty in 2007 to bankrolling a dog fighting operation and then served a year and a half of a 23-month federal prison sentence. Released to home confinement on May 22, 2009, he volunteered with the Humane Society of the United States' anti-dog fighting program that targets young men who may tempted because they find that world glamorous.
While still serving his federal prison sentence, Vick also pleaded guilty to a Virginia state charge of attending, sponsoring and participating in dogfights. He received a three-year suspended prison sentence for the Virginia charges.
Three others associated with Bad Newz Kennels -- Tony Taylor, Quanis Phillips and Purnell Peace -- also have pleaded guilty and were sentenced to federal prison time.
In public, the former football star has been contrite about his zeal for fighting pit bulls. But the records of interviews in the federal investigation suggest a man who was more interested in the bloody fights, one of which lasted more than three hours, than in the money that came out of them.
“Vick never took portions of the winning wages,” according to a summary of an interview with one of the witnesses, whose identity was redacted from the records.
Witnesses said Vick, known as “Ookie” at the kennel, would bankroll bets for others but he didn’t claim any winnings. He also didn’t take the cash prize for the winning dogs.
And the money collected at the door to get into the fights – between $5 and $20 per person – was used only to buy food for the dogs, according to the WSB documents.
Yet, Vick paid for almost everything.
He paid for the dogs and the Surry County, Va., property for the kennel. He paid for a double-wide trailer to go on the land and then covered the costs of building a $400,000 house and sheds for training, fighting and treating injured dogs, a witness told investigators.
According to the records:
• In 2003, Vick and two other men attended a dog fight in Blackstone, Va., bringing with them two pit bulls. Both lost so “the dogs were left with the owner of the property because Vick did not keep dogs that lost matches.”
• In April 2007, Vick tested several dogs to determine if they had the predisposition to fight and if they were capable of winning. Vick ordered six or eight dogs destroyed because they did not meet his standards. The witness said Vick personally helped drown three or four dogs, a process that took two people to hold the animal’s legs while the dog’s head was held under water. Vick also hung dogs. The witness told investigators Vick, Peace and Phillips “seemed to get an ‘adrenaline high’ when killing the dogs.”
Attempts to reach Vick or his representative have not been successful.