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More informants come forward to link Vick to dogs

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Posted: May 31, 2007 9:30 p.m.
Updated: June 15, 2007 5:00 a.m.

    SURRY, Va. — Informants have come forward saying they can link Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick to dog fighting, the prosecutor in the case said Thursday, and he 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 dog fighting, 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 dog fights where Vick also was in attendance and saw Vick bet large amounts of money. Another informant provided street names of dog fighters 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 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 dog fighting 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 is 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 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 dog fighting, including a ‘‘pry bar’’ used to pry apart a dog’s jaws.

    Dog fighting 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.

    AirTran chooses not to renew Vick contract

    ATLANTA (AP) - AirTran Airways has ended its relationship with Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, who has been a pitchman for the airline since 2004 but whose image has been tarnished in several off-field incidents.

    "Michael's contract expired May 8, and we decided to go in another direction," AirTran spokesman Tad Hutcheson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday.

    Among Vick's other publicity problems, security screeners at the Miami airport stopped him from boarding a flight in January with a water bottle that turned out to have a hidden compartment. Vick said he used it to store jewelry, and police found no evidence of smuggled drugs.

    Vick's publicist blamed AirTran when the quarterback known for his quickness failed to arrive in Washington to speak before Congress. AirTran said Vick had ample opportunities to get to his destination on AirTran but chose not to.

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