September 16, 2014

Elyria
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Final 47 of Vick’s dogs go to rescue groups

RICHMOND, Va. – The remaining 47 pit bulls seized from suspended NFL star Michael Vick`s dogfighting operation were recommended for placement with rescue organizations on Tuesday by the dogs` guardian.

Rebecca J. Huss, an animal law expert, submitted a summary report to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia on Tuesday, as the latest step in the process of overseeing the placement or euthanasia of the dogs from Vick`s kennel operation.

One dog was recently euthanized for medical reasons, according to a release from Valparaiso University School of Law, where Huss is a professor.

“With the experienced care they will provide these dogs, I foresee that many will eventually be able to be adopted by members of the public,” Huss said.

Huss recommended the dogs be placed with eight organizations, including 22 to Best Friends Animal Society in Utah and 10 to Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit Bulls in California.

The animals have been held in shelters in Virginia since April, when they were seized in a raid on Vick`s property in Surry County.

On Tuesday, federal prosecutors filed a motion urging U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson to adopt Huss` recommendations. The motion includes a report from Huss detailing her work, which included trips to Virginia to interact with the dogs and their caretakers and speak with animal control officers and rescue groups.

Last week, Hudson sentenced two of Vick`s dogfighting cohorts to 18 months and 21 months in prison. Hudson made clear his disdain for animal cruelty with prison terms that were a little longer than prosecutors recommended, but less than the five-year maximum Hudson could have imposed.

Vick, the suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback, also faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 10 for his role in a dogfighting conspiracy that operated on his 15-acre property in southeastern Virginia from 2001 until last summer.

Vick and his co-defendants still face state charges in Surry County.