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State and federal officials search the grounds behind a home formerly owned
Steve Helber/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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By HANK KURZ JR.
SURRY--A property owned by Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was used as the "main staging area for housing and training the pit bulls involved" in an alleged dogfighting operation, according to court documents.
The papers, filed by federal authorities, give details for the first time about what authorities contend was a long-running dogfighting venture. Vick is not named in the documents.
Yesterday, federal agents searched the property for a second time, using a backhoe to dig in an area about 10 feet wide by 20 feet wide. They finished their work at about 4:30 p.m. and declined to answer reporters' questions as they left.
The documents filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Richmond and obtained yesterday by The Associated Press contain the address of the Vick property that has been at the center of the investigation.
According to the documents, dog fights have been sponsored by "Bad Newz Kennels" at the property since at least 2002. For the events, participants and dogs traveled from South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, New York, Texas and other states.
Members of the venture also knowingly transported, delivered and received dogs for animal fighting, the documents state.
Fifty-four pit bulls were recovered from the property during searches in April, along with a "rape stand," used to hold dogs in place for mating; an electric treadmill modified for dogs; and a bloodied piece of carpeting, the documents said.
The documents said the fights usually occurred late at night or in the early morning and would last several hours. The winning dog would win from "100's up to 1,000's of dollars," and participants and spectators also bet on the dogfights.
Before fights, the participating dogs of the same sex would be weighed and bathed, according to the filings. Opposing dogs would be washed to remove any poison or narcotic placed on the dog's coat that could affect the other dog's performance. Sometimes participants would not feed a dog before the fight to "make it more hungry for the other dog," the documents said.