Vick beat dogs to death. He watched dogs drown in his swimming pool, he shot them, he electrocuted them, he buried them alive, he savagely abused them, he took great enjoyment in it, and he found it funny to watch family pets being torn apart.– Nathan Winograd
[What happened to Vick was] an electronic lynching.– Kwame Abernathy
On April 25, 2007, the Sheriff’s Department in Surry County, Virginia executed a search warrant at 1915 Moonlight Road, a fifteen-acre property owned by NFL superstar and Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. The search warrant was triggered by the arrest of Vick’s cousin on marijuana possession charges, but investigators had heard rumors of Vick’s involvement in dogfighting for years, so they asked Animal Control Officer Kathy Strouse to accompany them. At Vick’s property, they found more than fifty dogs (many of them scarred or wounded), kennels, a fighting pit, and the standard paraphernalia of dogfighting, including breeding stand, treadmill, breakstick, and injectable steroids. Over the following months, investigators ascertained that Vick, who lived in Atlanta, had selected, purchased, built, and maintained the entire property for six years for the express purpose of housing his dogfighting operation, known as Bad Newz Kennels. Vick financed the operation, maintained several of his friends on the property to manage the breeding, training, and fighting of dogs, and visited every Tuesday (his day off from the Falcons) to supervise. Vick hosted fights involving dogs from many other states and took his dogs to fights in other states as well.
Thus began Michael Vick’s precipitous fall from grace. Years earlier, Vick had vaulted from humble beginnings in a Virginia public housing project to NFL superstardom. Recognized as a prodigious talent, he was the first African American to be selected first in the NFL draft (in 2001 by the Atlanta Falcons) and became the highest paid player in NFL history. In 2004, he signed a $130 million, ten-year contract with the Falcons, and he had endorsement contracts with Nike, Coca Cola, Reebok, EA Sports, Kraft Foods, and many other major corporations.