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Looks like Michael Vick will be pleading guilty to a felony conspiracy charge at 10:30 a.m. next Monday, August 27th. This will apparently keep him from facing more serious charges, but I am hope, hope, HOPING that the judge (who has the final say on sentencing terms, despite plea agreements) surprises the heck out of Vick and throws more than just a one-year prison sentence at him, along with some serious financial penalties. I’ll definitely have more to say on the matter once the actual sentence is handed down, but until then here is the first online source (Virginia Pilot) to break the story, and here are previous posts on the subject.
UPDATE: To read the latest from the Humane Society of the United States, CLICK HERE. Please take the time to add your name to their thank you card for the U.S. Attorneys who prosecuted the Michael Vick dogfighting case.
Just home for a quick lunch break and had to post a couple of links with more information which points to what most of us already believed: Vick was/is guilty as charged. Let’s see if he “suddenly” opts to accept the plea bargain offered to him earlier this week.
- Falcons’ Vick Accused of Executing Dogs-chron.com
- Two Co-Defendants Enter Guilty Pleas; No Word From Vick-chicagotribune.com
- NFL Star Faces 5 Years On Dogfight Charges-GuardianUK.com
- previous posts on the topic
Here’s hoping Tony Taylor’s guilty plea might be the nail in the coffin needed to put Vick away. Hey, a gal can dream, right? Of course the flip side would be if his other co-defendants follow suit and plead guilty, somehow hoping this might make it look like Vick had no awareness of what was taking place on his property. I think we’ve all seen such deviousness take place in the legal system before, so who really knows how it will turn out. Here’s hoping the truth prevails and there is some (belated) justice for the innocent dogs involved in all of this disgusting mess.
- Toobin: Vick Case Plea Deal Could Lead To More Charges-cnn.com
- “According to the summary of facts filed with the court on Monday, Taylor said that he and the other three co-defendants, including Vick, decided to start a dogfighting venture in early 2001 and that Vick paid for the property in Smithfield, Virginia, used for the operations.”
- C0-defendant In Vick Case Pleads Guilty-sportsnetwork.com
- Vick Dogfighting Case Co-defendant Pleads Guilty-cbs4denver.com
And how disappointing to read about the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s stance on the issue.
“SCLC President Charles Steele Jr. said his organization prefers to focus on Vick’s redemption and plans to honor him for his community contributions at its convention next month in Atlanta. “We need to support him no matter what the evidence reveals,” Steele said.“
I have had nothing but respect for the work the SCLC has done on the civil rights front over the past decades, and respect the right of folks to support the good that Vick has done in the past, but to give so little regard to the possible outcome of the dogfighting charges is something I don’t get, never mind it sends a message to others who condone dogfighting that it’s okay to do so. Yes, people make mistakes in life and should be given a second chance, but be honest about what you’ve done. When Vick admits his wrongdoing and makes redemption, then we’ll talk about support. (***8/7/07 UPDATE: SCLC backtracks regarding “support” of Vick.***)
And this train of thought just blows me away:
““We Support Vick a Human Being Over Dogs,” was the message of one placard to honking passing cars on Northside Drive.”“
Say what?!?! You mean to tell me folks will ACTUALLY blindly support someone involved in dog fighting just because that person is a “human being” (a term I’d use very loosely for dog fighters), and TOTALLY disregard the actions of that “human being” because the victims are dogs?? Then again, these are the same folks in the article who think the NFL should be supporting Vick and attacking PETA and the HSUS. Ah, the mentality of some folks is such a continuous disappointment.
As I’ve said before, if Vick is shown to be innocent of the vile crimes the federal grand jury indictment states he took part in, then I will admit to being wrong. But until that time I am going with the evidence put forth, and the common sense notion (especially in light of Tony Taylor’s guilty plea) that there is virtually no way possible that Vick had NO CLUE, let alone no voluntary action in, the barbaric treatment of animals on his property. Guess we’ll have to wait for the trial on November 26th to find out, unless Vick and his cohorts decided to come clean and tell the truth before then–won’t hold my breath.
Following PETA protests outside Niketown stores and countless calls and emails to the company asking that they cut ties with Michael Vick in light of horrific allegations of his involvement with dogfighting rings, Nike has released the following statement:
“Nike has suspended Michael Vick’s contract without pay, and will not sell any more Michael Vick product at Nike-owned retail at this time.”
As a result, we have called off our planned protests outside Nike stores around the country. Thanks to everyone who wrote to the company about this issue or attended the demonstrations, and thanks to Nike for doing the right thing by ending its association with someone accused of torture.
Reebok has also made the decision to stop sales of Michael Vick apparel, stating:
“While we respect the legal process we find the allegations against Mr. Vick too disturbing to ignore, therefore, we have decided to immediately suspend selling Vick NFL product, both at retail and online through the Reebok website.”
This is great news for anyone who is concerned about cruelty to animals, and we hope that it sends a strong message to the NFL that they need to do the same thing and suspend Michael Vick immediately, pending the outcome of this case. To send a message to the NFL asking them to get on with that, please click here.
Thank you for all you do for animals,
Lindsey Twombly, Outreach Programs Supervisor
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
No big surprise that Michael Vick and his three cruelty-driven cohorts, Purnell A. Peace, Quanis L. Phillips, and Tony Taylor (***UPDATE on Tony Taylor: guilty***), pleaded not guilty in a Richmond, VA., courtroom to federal dogfighting charges today. (Trial date set for November 26th.) Did anyone REALLY think any of these four miserable excuses for human beings would have enough cajones to admit to the atrocities they have committed? Of course not! Here’s my previous blog entry on the subject, which includes a link to a copy of the 18 page indictment. (And yes, defendants should be considered innocent until proven guilty, but can you honestly read that indictment and NOT believe they are guilty? If I’m wrong, I’ll be the first to admit it, but until then I’m going against what I usually believe-innocent until proven guilty- and WILL consider these four guilty as hell…so sue me.)
While none of us can bring back the dogs Vick, Peace, Phillips, or Taylor, killed by their own hands on the property or via the incredibly vicious fighting they subjected dogs to, nor undo the damage done mentally and physically to those dogs who survived, we CAN let big business know that we will NOT tolerate such abuses, nor will we give money to companies who continue to support athletes (or anyone guilty of these crimes) with lucrative contracts. (Namely the Atlanta Falcons and Nike). You can follow the links I’m providing below to voice your displeasure OR you can take part in various demonstrations around the country, or start your own. This Monday, July 30th, I’ll be joining what will hopefully be MANY other outraged animal lovers, in a PETA demonstration outside Niketown in Los Angeles. (***Protests canceled. Read more here.***) If you are in the area (and I’m really not since I’ll be driving about 1 1/2 hours to get there), please consider joining us. But if you are not, here’s some information in an email today from Ingrid Newkirk of PETA:
“On Monday, July 30, PETA will hold demonstrations in front of every Niketown store from New York to Los Angeles to call on Nike—which employs Vick as a promotional spokesperson—to sack him.
Already, the pressure is working. Both the NFL and the Atlanta Falcons have taken important “first steps” to discipline Vick by keeping him away from the Falcons’ training camp pending their own investigation of the case. In my view, this is the beginning of the end for Vick’s career.”
So come on folks, let’s get active, get vocal, and NOT let this situation be swept under the carpet and forgotten. Thanks!
NFL quarterback Michael Vick of the Atlanta Falcons was recently indicted on charges of sponsoring a large dogfighting operation. The indictment alleges that dogs were housed, trained, and fought at a property owned by Vick and that those who did not perform well were executed by “hanging, drowning, and slamming at least one dog’s body to the ground.” PETA will be at Niketown in Los Angeles on Monday, July 30, to demand that the company immediately break all ties with Michael Vick.
Please join PETA campaigner Matt Rice for a demonstration outside Niketown in Los Angeles. All materials will be provided, and we need activists to hold posters. Please contact me at LindseyT@peta.org if you can help or if you have any questions.
What: Michael Vick dogfighting demonstration
The professional sports world is plagued with players who have been accused, charged, or convicted of cruelty to animals, abusing pit bulls, and dogfighting. We need to send a clear message to players and Nike that being a celebrity is not a sufficient excuse for breaking the law and that animal abuse should never be tolerated under any circumstances. Please forward this e-mail to everyone you know!
Thanks for being on PETA’s Activist Network and for everything you do to help animals!
Lindsey Twombly, Outreach Programs Supervisor
Links to send messages to Nike and the Atlanta Falcons
- “Vick Pleads Not Guilty”-cnn.com
- “Vick Pleads Not Guilty in Dogfighting Case”-nytimes.com
- “Michael Vick Pleads Not Guilty in Dogfighting Case”-USAtoday.com
- “Activists Ready to Swarm Court for Vick’s Appearance”-USAtoday.com
- HSUS response to NFL keeping Vick from training camp
- Wayne Pacelle (HSUS) on NFL Following Through
- “Vick a ‘Person of Interest’ regarding pit bull fighting in AZ“-azcentral.com
- “Nike Is Urged to Drop Vick”-latimes.com
- Pit Bull Gear (t-shirt in picture I used above can be purchased at this link!)
- “Dogfighters Are Cowardly Scum” t-shirts at PETA Store at Cafe Press
- “Real Men Love Their Pit Bulls/Ban Mike Vick from the NFL” at Cafe Press
- “conVICKt 7” at moeschwag.com
- “sack Vick” at moeschwag.com
- Michael Vick Chew Toy (article and link)
Here is the code (just copy it all, then paste in your own site) for each of the Humane Society of the United States web badges you can place on your own web site or blog to help spread the word.
<a href=”https://community.hsus.org/campaign/US_2007_dogfighting_nfl2?source=gaba7m” target=”_blank”><img src=”https://wadmin3.getactive.com/preview!www.hsus.org/web-files/Banners/180x150_vick_nfl.gif” border=”0″ alt=”The Humane Society of the United States”></a><br><a href=”http://www.myspace.com/thehumanesociety” target=”_blank”>HSUS MySpace Page</a> | <a href=”http://www.hsus.org/about_us/faqs/humane_index_banners.html” target=”_blank”>Get Web Badges</a><br><br>
<a href=”https://community.hsus.org/campaign/US_2007_dogfighting_nike?source=gaba7l” target=”_blank”><img src=”https://wadmin3.getactive.com/preview!www.hsus.org/web-files/Banners/180x150_vick_nike.gif” border=”0″ alt=”The Humane Society of the United States”></a><br><a href=”http://www.myspace.com/thehumanesociety” target=”_blank”>HSUS MySpace Page</a> | <a href=”http://www.hsus.org/about_us/faqs/humane_index_banners.html” target=”_blank”>Get Web Badges</a><br><br>
At long last it looks as though those who condone and perpetuate the horrendous, vicious, and cruel practice of illegal dogfighting may finally be held accountable for their actions. Today Michael Vick (Atlanta Falcons) and three counterparts (Purnell A. Peace, Quanis L. Phillips, Tony Taylor) were indicted by a federal grand jury and will hopefully have the book thrown at them. This news goes directly against this news article stating it was unlikely Vick would face any charges. (***Update 7/26/07.***)
The “training facility” for over 50 pit bulls seized by officials back in April included drugs, an electronic treadmill, and a rape stand used for forced breeding.
“Fights would end when one dog died or with the surrender of the losing dog, which was sometimes put to death by drowning, strangulation, hanging, gun shot, electrocution or some other method, according to the documents.”–CBS News
Disgusting! How people can live with themselves while committing such atrocities, I will never know. And those who take part in watching these bloody, “to the death” dog fights; well, in my opinion they should be held as accomplices. I’m thinking that the rape stand Michael and his cohorts had no problem putting to use ought to come into play when decisions are being made about how restitution for their reviling crimes might be met. I mean they can adjust that stand to fit someone of Michael’s size, right?
Here are some links to various stories regarding today’s indictment:
- Here’s the response from the Humane Society of the United States
- AP report
- A very brief Reuters story
- Sports Network coverage
- Pilot Online has the story, along with a link to a PDF file of the grand jury’s indictment.
- My previous blog entry relating to the case (includes video and pictures):5/22/07:Hey Clinton Portis, your ignorance is showing (Yours too, Chris Samuels)
- 7/26/07:Vick and three coconspirators plead NOT GUILTY/Links to what YOU can do to express your outrage over it all
- 7/27/07:Nike suspends Vick’s contract/Reebok stops selling Vick jerseys/PETA protests canceled
- 7/30/07:Vick co-defendant (Tony Taylor) pleads guilty/SCLC supports Vick
- 8/17/07:“Vick participated in executions” says co-defendant
- 8/20/07:Breaking News: Michael Vick ACCEPTS plea deal
WTF, John Mayer?!?!
While searching for a Michael Vick photo for this blog entry I found the “red slash through Michael’s face” picture on Photobucket. I saw the MySpace address at the bottom of it and went to check it out. While there I read “Dog Fighting Idiots List” which had a John Mayer video embedded, and I have to say I was totally shocked and surprised that John would have such an enormous lapse in common sense, judgment, and humor. Did he really think the video was the least bit amusing?! Did he assume everyone would get that he was trying to poke fun at Vick? (Which is the ONLY excuse I can think of for even thinking of making the video, let alone actually following through with it!) Did he think there was even one shred of humor in anything related to dog fighting? Shame on you, John Mayer, shame on you. What a total and complete disappointment.
Sometimes people need to just keep their mouth shut, and from what I’ve seen and read of Clinton Portis today (and Chris Samuels wasn’t much better), he is one who would be wise to think before speaking.
When told that dog fighting is a felony, Portis replied, “It can’t be too bad of a crime.”
Sorry to disappoint you, Mr. Portis, but it IS a crime, and it IS a bad one. Perhaps you’d like to trade places with any of the dogs used in dog fighting? We’ll see how you feel about how “bad of a crime” it is after that, okay?
Portis, Samuels defend Vick, ridicule dog fighting as a crime-AP-DailyPress.com
In an interview with WAVY-TV, Portis said that if the Atlanta Falcons quarterback is charged and convicted of being involved in a dog fighting operation, then authorities would be “putting him behind bars for no reason.”
Um, no reason? If Michael Vick is charged and convicted then that means he broke the law. Sounds like a reason to me.
For more information on animal fighting and the recent legislation aimed at penalizing those who take part in it, click here. For the Humane Society of the United States response to the situation, click here.
Someone might need to get the paddles for me because I think my heart stopped the minute I realized I was actually applauding something George W. Bush had done. I’m all for giving credit where credit is due, so (deep breath) kudos to you, GWB, for doing something for the animals. Now can you get the government (FDA and USDA for a start) to get things straightened out with our pet food supply and our human food supply? Of course my “to do” list for you is much longer, but we’ll start there–for now.
Click HERE to read the press release from the Humane Society of the United States regarding the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act being signed into law.
May 3, 2007
Today, President Bush signed into law a bill that will help law enforcement rid the United States of dogfighting, cockfighting, and other forms of animal fighting.
Dogfighting and cockfighting crimes are rampant in the United States, with individuals arrested every week in scores of locations under state laws. The vast underground networks generate pervasive animal cruelty, drug trafficking, illegal gambling, public corruption and even violence and murder. The Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act, which passed Congress with large bi-partisan support, will give law enforcement a stronger tool to crack down on this illegal activity.
“Animal fighting is a barbaric and inhumane practice, and it is fitting and appropriate that we now have a national policy condemning and criminalizing this form of organized animal cruelty,” states Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, which has led the national battle against animal fighting and been the primary advocate for this federal legislation.
The law takes effect immediately. It provides felony penalties for interstate commerce, import and export related to animal fighting activities, including commerce in cockfighting weapons. It will make it much harder for criminals who engage in dogfighting and cockfighting to continue their operations. Each violation of the federal law may bring up to three years in jail and up to a $250,000 fine for perpetrators.
Cockfighting is outlawed in every state except Louisiana, although there is mounting pressure in that state to ban the practice. Many states still have misdemeanor penalties for cockfighting. The federal law slaps felony penalties on interstate cockfighting trafficking, and this should provide an enormous deterrent for the tens of thousands of people involved in this criminal industry.
The law will have a devastating impact on major breeders of fighting animals, who depend on customers from all over the United States and abroad. Dog kennels rely on transporting their fighting dogs across state lines and across the world to customers. The new law should substantially curb the transport of fighting animals across state and U.S. borders. The HSUS is already seeing some major breeders of fighting roosters cutting back on production.
The Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act will help end the export of fighting animals to other countries. Selling roosters to customers in the Philippines and other nations can be lucrative for American cockfighters. The new law puts increased pressure on the airlines to stop shipping roosters to cockfighting hot spots.
The new law had been introduced by Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), and Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) in the House, and by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in the Senate. It had also been endorsed by more than 500 groups, including all major humane organizations, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Chicken Council, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and more than 400 local law enforcement agencies covering all 50 states.
Another beautiful, sunshiny day in Southern California, then BAM! Literally.
I was driving north on the 5 (Interstate 5 for non-locals ;)), heading off to meet some friends for a drink after having just had my hair cut and colored (yes, I freely admit to that), the sun was dipping closer and closer to the ocean. Then suddenly I experienced something I can only describe as being like what I imagine a sonic boom would be: a big boom in my ears and instant pressure all around me, but especially on my forehead and nose. I instinctively closed my eyes, then when I opened them it was much darker. I was looking straight at the front windshield and took a second to comprehend that it was dark because my car’s hood had flipped open and come careening smack-dab at me. I then realized the windshield was shattered into a million small crevices, yet amazingly (and thankfully!) still attached to the car. (Here’s an interesting article about windshields.) Keep in mind, all this is happening as I’m cruising along about 65-70 mph, but I was in the slow lane (someplace you’ll RARELY find me), so was able to pull over to the shoulder. Weird thing is that in the middle of all this instant chaos, I remembered to flip on my turn signal! Go figure.
As if all that wasn’t fun enough, the shoulder was extremely narrow, with each auto (and especially buses) practically pulling my car along with them, AND to top it all off I apparently did NOT receive my renewal notice for AAA, so was in a grace period! Thankfully the gal that assisted me on the phone was great and gladly took my credit card info to instantly renew my membership to the AAA Plus status. With the kind of (bad) luck I have with cars, I always like to have their extra 100 mile tow option. Sure came in handy tonight. Okay, it came in handy a couple of other nights, too.
It’s weird that even though the whole thing really shook the hell out of me (although it really didn’t hit me until about 4 hours later when I was finally alone and the reality of what “could have been” really sank in), there was also a reminder of just how amazing a connection with a stranger can be. The sweet AAA driver who came to save me from my twisted mess on the freeway ended up being such a calming presence, just by having an interesting conversation with me during our nearly one hour ordeal. Him just being “normal” and talking with me about people, life, education, helped keep me from having a well-deserved mini-meltdown. Thank you for that, Erwin!
So even though this day had a decidedly “icky” aspect to it and I’m still picking tiny bits of windshield out of my clothing, I can ONLY look at how lucky I am. I’m lucky that things weren’t much worse….they easily could have been. I’m lucky that no one else was injured…that would be unbearable. I’m lucky I have family who drops what they’re doing to come get me at the shop we towed the car to, then gladly forks over one of their cars to me so I can get around. I’m lucky I have friends who worry about me and delay their plans just to make sure I’m okay (did you get your decaf? ;)). But most of all, what I got from this big-time wake-up call was that you really never DO know when it just might be your time. Yes, this time I escaped with just some seriously shaken nerves, a crunched up hood, and a shattered windshield, but who knows what the future holds? All I know right now is that I plan on making good use of what time I do have. How about you?