Monday, August 20, 2007

Michael Vick, Quarterback for Atlanta Falcons Finally Admits Truth: Will Plea Guilty to Charges of Supporting Grisly Dog Fighting Operation

Here are a couple paragraphs from the story below that serve as reminders to the reality of the cruelty of Michael Vick’s actions:

“The July 17 indictment said dogs that lost fights or fared poorly in test fights were sometimes executed by hanging, electrocution or other brutal means. The grisly details fueled public protests against Vick and cost him some of his lucrative endorsement deals.

The case began April 25 when investigators conducting a drug search at a massive home Vick built in Surry County found 66 dogs, some of them injured, and items typically used in dogfighting. They included a "rape stand" that holds aggressive dogs in place for mating and a "breakstick" used to pry open a dog's mouth.”

Article:


Falcons' Vick to plead guilty to charges

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070820/
ap_on_sp_fo_ne/fbn_vick_plea

By LARRY O'DELL, Associated Press Writer Mon Aug 20, 7:25 PM ET

RICHMOND, Va. - Michael Vick agreed Monday to plead guilty to federal dogfighting conspiracy charges, a deal that leaves the Atlanta Falcons quarterback facing up to 18 months in prison and puts his NFL career in jeopardy.
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Under the plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend Vick be sentenced to between a year and 18 months in prison, according to a government official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the terms have not yet been made final.

That would be a higher penalty than is usually recommended for first-time convicts, and reflects an attempt by the government to show that animal abusers will receive more than a slap on the wrist for their crimes, the official said.

The offense is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson will have the final say on how much time Vick will ultimately spend in jail.

Vick's plea hearing is Aug. 27.

Defense attorney Billy Martin said Vick reached an agreement with federal prosecutors after consulting with his family during the weekend.

"Mr. Vick has agreed to enter a plea of guilty to those charges and to accept full responsibility for his actions and the mistakes he has made," Martin said in a statement. "Michael wishes to apologize again to everyone who has been hurt by this matter."

The NFL noted in a statement that Vick's admission wasn't in line with what he told commissioner Roger Goodell shortly after he was initially charged.

"We totally condemn the conduct outlined in the charges, which is inconsistent with what Michael Vick previously told both our office and the Falcons," the NFL said.

The league, which barred Vick from training camp, said it has asked the Falcons to withhold further action while the NFL's own investigation wraps up.

The Falcons said they were "certainly troubled" by news of the plea but would withhold further comment in compliance with Goodell's request.

In a telephone interview with the AP, Martin said Vick is paying a high price for allowing old friends to influence his behavior, but he emphasized that his client takes full responsibility.

"There were some judgment issues in terms of people he was associating with," Martin said. "He realized this is very serious, and he decided to plead so he can begin the healing process."

The lawyer said salvaging Vick's NFL career was never part of the discussions.

"Football is not the most important thing in Michael Vick's life," he said. "He wants to get his life back on track."

Vick is charged with conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and conspiracy to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture. He had pleaded not guilty last month and vowed to clear his name at a November trial.

The plea deal was announced just a new grand jury began meeting. Prosecutors had said that a superseding indictment was in the works, but Vick's plea most likely means he will not face additional charges.

Three of Vick's original co-defendants already have pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against him if the case went to trial. Quanis Phillips of Atlanta and Purnell Peace of Virginia Beach signed statements saying the 27-year-old quarterback participated in executing at least eight underperforming dogs by various means, including drowning and hanging.

Phillips, Peace and Tony Taylor, who pleaded guilty last month, also said Vick provided virtually all of the gambling and operating funds for his "Bad Newz Kennels" operation in rural Virginia, not far from Vick's hometown of Newport News.

The gambling allegations alone could trigger a lifetime ban under the NFL's personal conduct policy.

Vick's Atlanta attorney, Daniel Meachum, told the AP that Vick is taking a chance with his guilty plea as far as his career is concerned because there have been no discussions with the league in recent days.

"There's no promise or even a request of the league to make a promise," Meachum said.

Meachum said the plea deal involves only the federal case. He said he doesn't know if there have been any discussions about resolving Virginia state charges that may be brought against Vick.

The case began April 25 when investigators conducting a drug search at a massive home Vick built in Surry County found 66 dogs, some of them injured, and items typically used in dogfighting. They included a "rape stand" that holds aggressive dogs in place for mating and a "breakstick" used to pry open a dog's mouth.

Vick contended he knew nothing about a dogfighting operation at the home, where one of his cousins lived, and said he rarely visited. The former Virginia Tech star also blamed friends and family members for taking advantage of his generosity and pledged to be more scrupulous.

The July 17 indictment said dogs that lost fights or fared poorly in test fights were sometimes executed by hanging, electrocution or other brutal means. The grisly details fueled public protests against Vick and cost him some of his lucrative endorsement deals.

1 comment:

Animal Chaplain said...

This Press Release is in memory of the animals tortured and slaughtered in dog fighting. As personally satisfying as it would be to spay and neuter Michael Vick (with no anesthesia), we prefer to teach people how animals SHOULD BE TREATED, and what a blessing they are in our lives. Thanks for reading it and passing it on. ~ Nancy Cronk at www.Animal Chaplains.com.

Press Release August 22, 2007

"Animal Chaplains To Honor and Bless All Creatures on World Animal Day"

~ from the Interfaith Association of Animal Clergy

While Americans have watched in horror as celebrity athlete Michael Vick admits being a willling participant in one of the cruelest, most horrific crimes against animals ever committed, America needs an emotional healing. That day is World Animal Day.

In what will look like a scene from the popular family movie, "Evan Almighty", scores of Animal Chaplains around the world will bless hundreds, perhaps thousands of animals in many different settings on October 4th 2007. At a pet cemetery on the east coast, to a city park in the desert, to a sandy beach on the west coast, they will walk in on a leash, fly in on a harness, and slither in their cages. Barking, mewing, bleating, mooing, whinnying and purring will join human voices in hymns of praise and worship. World Animal Day is a day dedicated to honoring, blessing, and protecting animals all over the world.

World Animal Day was founded at an ecologist's convention in Florence, Italy in 1931 as a way of highlighting the plight of endangered species. October 4th was chosen as World Animal Day because it is also the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, a Catholic Church holiday which is often celebrated with an annual "blessing of the pets". Since then, it has grown to encompass all kinds of animal life and has been widely celebrated around the world. Churches and synagogues in many faiths traditions have adopted "Pet Blessing Day" or "World Animal Day" in increasing numbers every year.

The Interfaith Association of Animal Chaplains prepares for World Animal Day by referring its members and visitors to the official World Animal Day website. The site provides ideas and resources to individuals, families, community groups and congregations everywhere. People can post their pledge for volunteering at a World Animal Day event. In addition to blessing pets, volunteers will work at animal shelters, zoos, rescues, and other nonprofit organizations. Dogs will be walked, cats will be brushed, horses will be groomed, and fish will benefit from freshly cleaned tanks. Donations will be given to animal welfare agencies, and pets will be adopted. School children will collect pet food to be donated to charities, and bake sales and car washes will be held as fundraising events. Veterinary clinics will hold free spay and neuter days, or may offer to vaccinate pets at no charge. All over the world, on the very same day, the well-being of animals will be on the minds of millions of people.

Interfaith Chaplain Nancy Cronk feels a day honoring animals is very important at a time when the headlines speak of animal cruelty such as athlete Michael Vick's alleged ties to illegal dog fighting. Animal Chaplains would like everyone to know that every major faith endorses the responsible stewardship of the earth and all of its creatures. "Animals are sentient beings. They feel pain, and suffer. Deliberate harming of animals is in direct opposition to teachings in all of the major world faiths. Caring for animals is our global spiritual responsibility. If we can teach this ethic to all of our children, animal abuse and suffering will someday become a distant memory".

To find out how to get involved on World Animal Day, go to www.WorldAnimalDay.org.uk. To find out more about Animal Chaplains, go to www.AnimalChaplains.com.

(This article may be reprinted.)

Nancy J. Cronk
Founder, Chair and Chaplain
Interfaith Association of Animal Chaplains
www.AnimalChaplains.com
Email: AnimalClergy@aol.com

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