VIDEO: Dogs from Vick house to die
Some of the 66 dogs seized from Michael Vick's property are being held in Chesapeake.
BY MIKE HOLTZCLAW
May 23, 2007
The pit bulls at the center of a high-profile dogfighting investigation in Surry County likely will be euthanized once the investigation is complete, a spokesman for the Humane Society of the United States said Tuesday.
John Goodwin, of the Humane Society, said that "almost 100 percent" of the animals seized in dogfighting investigations are euthanized because they cannot be placed as family pets.
He also said that prolonged dogfighting investigations and trials often lead to higher euthanasia rates among other dogs because the seized animals take up kennel space that is needed to house adoptable pets.
Sixty-six dogs, mostly pit bulls, were seized from a Surry County home last month when a narcotics raid turned up evidence of dog fighting. The home and gated property were owned by NFL star Michael Vick, a Newport News native, and occupied by his cousin, Davon Boddie.
Investigators said many of the dogs were injured or neglected. They are now being held and cared for at undisclosed locations across the area. At least three of them are at the Chesapeake Animal Control Bureau, nursing facial wounds and too timid to walk on a leash.
"These are dogs that have been bred and trained for the purpose of fighting and killing other dogs," said Goodwin, who is the society's deputy manager of animal fighting issues. "We recommend that any dog put through this not be adopted out but be euthanized. The blame for every one of these dog deaths lies squarely on the shoulders of the people who breed them for these illegal purposes."
Surry County Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald G. Poindexter would not comment on the location or the condition of the dogs, but he acknowledged that their presence in animal shelters in the region is taking up space needed for other animals. Because of their dispositions, the trained fighting dogs cannot share kennels - which compounds the shortage of space.
"We've got all these dogs we've got to do something with," he told the Daily Press recently. "We're taking up space in all these kennels. We're inconveniencing other people."
Goodwin said that situation often impacts other dogs that turn up at local shelters.
"When a county is housing a lot of fighting animals, the euthanasia rate for adoptable animals goes up because the fighting dogs are taking up all of the housing," he said. "During the investigation, they might keep the dogs alive for a year or more, taking up 66 kennels that could otherwise be used for dogs that might be adopted out in three or four days. And those adoptable dogs end up getting put down because there is no space for them."
Goodwin says the dogs seized in dogfighting cases are generally kept as evidence for the trial, but because fighting dogs are not suitable for pets, they are usually euthanized after the investigations are complete.
Six years ago, in another Surry County dogfighting case, 33 dogs were seized from the home of Ben Butts. Of those dogs, 10 died while impounded in shelters and 18 were euthanized. Of the other five, four were stolen from the Isle of Wight County Animal Shelter and one was allowed to return to Butts' home because it was not a fighting dog.
(There is a video in the link)