PORTSMOUTH, Via. (May 31, 2007) -- Informants have come forward saying they can link Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick to dogfighting, says the prosecutor who has turned their accounts and contact information over to investigators.
Surry County Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald G. Poindexter said he has heard from about a half-dozen people claiming to have information about Vick's involvement in dogfighting, but he does not know if their claims have proven to be reliable.
In a letter, an inmate in a South Carolina prison claimed that he attended dogfights where Vick also was in attendance and saw Vick bet large amounts of money. Another informant provided street names of dogfighters from elsewhere in Virginia.
A deputy sheriff in the county, W.R. Brinkman, is on the road investigating the claims, Poindexter said, noting that the investigation is the job of the sheriff.
Poindexter said a search warrant issued on May 23 for the massive home Vick owns in the county still has not been executed because he wants to make certain that any search does not jeopardize the investigation. Several years ago, another dogfighting case in the county was thrown out of court because of an illegal search, he said.
The search warrant was issued after an informant told Brinkman there were as many as 30 dogs carcasses buried on the property, and Poindexter said he was confident that evidence already seized from the home would be enough to hand down indictments.
He said any attempt to remove the carcasses would also be incriminating.
When charges will be sought and who will face them remains to be seen, he said, noting that unless a special grand jury is called, the county grand jury is scheduled to meet next on July 24. The county has never had a special grand jury called.
The case began on April 25 when police conducting a drug investigation raided the house Vick owns and found 66 dogs, 55 of them pit bulls. They also found items associated with dogfighting, including a "pry bar" used to pry apart a dog's jaws.
Dogfighting is a felony in Virginia.
Vick, a registered dog breeder, has blamed relatives for taking advantage of his generosity and insisted he's rarely at the house. He has since put the home on the market and sold it in a day, although the sale has not yet been completed.
A store-bought "For Sale by Owner" sign once put up in the front yard of the two-story, painted brick home is no longer in the yard.