NORFOLK, Va. -- A prosecutor, sheriff and investigators are
scheduled to meet Monday to review evidence collected in the weeks
since dogs and equipment associated with dog fighting were seized
from a home owned by NFL star Michael Vick.
No charges have been filed in the case, but Surry County
Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald Poindexter said Wednesday as many as
six to 10 people could be involved.
Dog fighting is a felony in Virginia.
"I'm convinced from what I saw that dog fighting has occurred
down there, but who was involved in it I don't know at this
point," Poindexter said in a telephone interview, noting that he
saw what looked like blood spatters in a room over a garage.
"We're going to find out."
The Atlanta Falcons quarterback has blamed relatives for taking
advantage of his generosity and insisted he's rarely at the house --
even though he's the owner.
The people possibly involved include those who have lived or
been on the premises and people who took care of the dogs and the
property, Poindexter said.
Poindexter said what looked like blood spatters on the floor of a room over a garage were the "most suggestive evidence of dog fighting.
There were blood splatters, and somebody would have to explain to
me how you draw blood in the normal training of pit bulls."
He also said he was told there was a carpet with blood stains on
it rolled up in a corner of a room downstairs, but he did not see
Poindexter said he and Surry County Sheriff Harold Brown called
a meeting Monday with investigators from the State Police and
animal control to summarize evidence and examine reports. He said
he doubted the review would be finished in time to submit to a
grand jury scheduled to convene Tuesday.
"I am not defending Mr. Vick at all, but I don't want to see us
rush into a case prematurely," he said. "We are in the process of
collecting evidence as best we can.
"It includes analyzing forensic evidence. It's not traditional.
You can't go to the state sources that we usually have to do
analysis of dog blood."
After the meeting, Poindexter said he and Brown will "try to
decide where we're going. If it's necessary to call a special grand
jury, we'll do that."
Brown did not immediately return a telephone message seeking
comment. He was said to be out of the office Wednesday afternoon.
The case began in late April, when police conducting a drug
investigation raided the house in rural Surry County and found
dozens of dogs. They also found items associated with dog fighting,
including a "pry bar" used to pry apart a dog's jaws.
Poindexter said the county seized some 60 dogs from the house.
Several dogs had old scars, but by and large, the dogs appeared to
be well-cared for, he said.
Vick is a registered breeder, so "the mere fact that he had a
lot of dogs doesn't mean a whole lot," Poindexter said.
"If he's implicated in any way -- and I'm not saying he isn't, I
would think that he is -- there are about 10 other people who, from
what we know, have a much more regular contact with the property
and the animals," the prosecutor said.
Vick has said he let a cousin, Davon Boddie, live at the house,
and that he didn't know a large kennel on the property could be
involved in a criminal activity.
Last week, the Daily Press of Newport News reported Vick has
sold the house.