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Dogfighting: The Vick case
Tuesday, Jul 03, 2007 - 12:09 AM Updated: 01:49 PM
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The investigation into possible dogfighting by NFL star Michael Vick began more than two months ago when a cousin of his was arrested on a drug charge in Hampton. The cousin gave as his address a house owned by Vick in rural Surry County.

Since then, four separate search warrants have been issued for the Vick property. The fourth was a sealed federal warrant by the U.S. attorney's office in Richmond, which abruptly entered the case last month.

Vick, a former standout at Virginia Tech and a quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, has denied any involvement in dogfighting and said he seldom visited the house. But he is preparing for the 2007-08 NFL season with a cloud over his head. The events in Surry:

April 24: Vick's cousin Davon Boddie was arrested in Hampton on drug charges. According to court papers, he gave his address as 1915 Moonlight Road in rural Surry, and police obtained a warrant to search his home for other drugs and paraphernalia.

April 25: Police served the warrant in Surry and found numerous dogs and what looked like a dog-training complex of dark-painted buildings in the woods just behind the Vick house. They called animal-control officers, who counted 66 dogs and saw what they said was evidence that dogfights had taken place there. Police obtained another warrant and seized the dogs and various items.

May 23: Investigators obtained a third warrant, this one to search the property for buried dog carcasses. But the local prosecutor decided not to execute it, saying he was worried the dogfighting warrants were tainted because the animal-control officers might have been overzealous in their searches.

June 7: More than a dozen representatives of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Richmond, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Virginia State Police converged on the Moonlight Road property, apparently executing a sealed federal search warrant.

Local authorities said the feds' involvement interrupted but did not halt their investigation. Surry's grand jury next meets July 24. The U.S. attorney's office has refused to comment on its investigation or even to confirm it exists.

-- Bill Geroux


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