Portions of a story from ABCNews.com:
July 18, 2007
Atlanta Falcons star quarterback Michael Vick has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly participating in a dog fighting ring.
The indictment, filed in Richmond, Va., Tuesday afternoon, alleges Vick and three other defendants violated federal laws barring competitive dog fighting, and obtained and trained pit bulls for the purpose of fighting. The charges also state the venture was based in a Smithfield, Va., property, but that the defendants conducted the enterprise across state lines.
Investigators said Vick purchased the property at 1915 Moonlight Road in June 2001, and that the illicit business started early that year and continued through April 2007.
Vick and the others “used this property as the main staging area for housing and training the pit bulls involved in the dog fighting venture and [for] hosting dogfights,” according to the indictment.
Dog owners reportedly brought their animals from the Carolinas, Maryland, New York, Texas, Alabama and other states to compete in the illegal matches. The owner of the winning dog would receive a cash prize. Those purses ranged from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Spectators and other dog owners were also allowed to bet on the fights.
But the dogs involved did not receive prize fighter treatment. Prosecutors alleged that the losing dogs were sometimes executed — drowned, hanged, shot or electrocuted.
One female pit bull was entered into a match around March 2003. “The purse for the dog fight was established at approximately 13,000 [dollars] per side, for a total of approximately 26,000,” the indictment stated.
The Bad Newz Kennels dog, however, lost the fight. “Peace, after consulting with Vick about the losing female pit bull’s condition, executed the losing dog by wetting the dog down with water and electrocuting the animal,” the indictment stated.
Dogs that were found during training sessions to be poor fighters were sometimes put to death as well.
Fast forward to February 22, 2013:
From the Daily Local News website:
By MICHAEL N. PRICE
WEDT CHESTER — Authorities Friday announced criminal charges in connection to the Feb. 12 killing of two family dogs in the Chester Springs section of West Vincent.
Gabriel Pilotti, 72, was charged with cruelty to animals and recklessly endgangering another person for killing two of his neighbor’s pets.
“There was no justification for the killing of these two dogs,” said Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan. “The defendant has been charged and will be charged and will be dealt with appropriately. Our sympathies go out to the family and children who lost their beloved pets.”
The Bernese Mountain Dogs, 1-year-old Fiona and 2-year-old Argus, were killed with a shotgun after they escaped from their fenced-in yard in the unit block of St. Anthony Lane. The Bock family, the dogs’ owners, said they got out of the yard through a hole in a fence caused by a falling tree limb. The family was not aware of the fence’s damaged section because it was not visible from the home, Bock said.
Once on the loose, Bock said, the dogs made their way through several nearby properties and ended up at Pilotti’s home on Pine Drive, where they were shot after apparently chasing several sheep.
Click to read the charges: Charges in Dog Killings
Click to read the police complaint: Complaint in dog shootings
Now at this point in time, Mr. Pilotti is innocent until proven guilty. However, in a statement to police he admitted that the two dogs he shot were nowhere near his sheep. He basically shot one of the dogs in the head and then reloaded and shot the other as it took off away from him.
So unless there is a lot missing here that we haven’t heard, Mr. Pilotti is going to have a tough time fighting these charges.
The question on everyone’s mind is this: why did he do it? We’re not talking vicious animals here. He saw the dogs and saw what they were doing and it wasn’t attacking his sheep as he originally reported. So at this point it seems as though we can assume he told a lie.
Now his supporters have been out in force saying he had had farm animals killed in the past by dogs of whatever. In that case, I fully support his right to defend his animals. And I hear all of their rants that he is a nice guy who goes to church and helps those less fortunate. Well, unfortunately none of that matters at this point because right now he’s charged with cruelty to animals and recklessly endangering another person.
Michael Vick wasn’t known to be a bad guy before his arrest either.
I would urge calm in this case though. Our initial reaction when animals are hurt or killed is to want to get revenge on those responsible. Jail them or worse…
However, as responsible citizens I think we need to take a breath, be happy law enforcement authorities did a good job in this case and hope that justice prevails. We have a system of justice in this country and this is an instance where cooler heads need to prevail and allow the system to work.
It’s very likely that Mr. Pilotti will have a tough time defending his actions. He will probably end up with a guilty plea, a negotiated plea, something that isn’t going to send him to jail. He’ll get probation, face very large fines and possibly have his guns taken away from him.
And that’s a good thing.
None of us knows Mr. Pilotti well enough to really tear into his character. However what he has done at this point is enough to say he’s doomed in the court of public opinion. And maybe he doesn’t care about that.
Moving forward I think it’s safe to say that our legislators should probably take another look at the law that allows people to simply load ‘em up and shoot at what they think are life-threatening situations to livestock, etc. It’s bad enough that someone’s family has lost their family pets. Imagine what would have happened if a small child was out with those two dogs trying to get them back home? This tragedy could have been a lot worse.
Let’s try to make something positive come out of this. Get the guns away from this guy, give him an appropriate punishment and take a hard look at the laws that date back 150 years.
It needs to happen.
– Andy Hachadorian