NEW YORK, November 30, 2007The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today applauded the strong sentences received by two co-defendants of NFL quarterback, Michael Vick, in the Federal investigation against them. Purnell Peace and Quanis Phillips received sentences of 18 and 21 months respectively, which fall on the higher end of the Federal sentencing guidelines. In addition, they will each be on probation for an additional three years, during which time they cannot own or have any contact with dogs.
“Today’s sentencing by Judge Henry Hudson is an extremely significant moment in the history of the prosecution of animal cruelty,” said Ed Sayres, president & CEO of the ASPCA. “His decision clearly reflects the outrage that many of us felt upon hearing details of the cruelty that had been inflicted upon these animalsthe innocent victims in this terrible situation. We are deeply grateful that justice is being served.”
Earlier this year, the two men, along with Vick and a fourth co-defendant, Tony Taylor, pleaded guilty to Federal charges, which included conspiring to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities (“Travel Act”), and to sponsoring a dog in an animal fighting venture. Vick, who voluntarily surrendered himself on November 19 to begin serving his prison term early, will face sentencing on December 10.
“The ASPCA has assisted Federal authorities with this investigation from its early stages, most recently having led a team of animal behavior experts in evaluating the dogs seized from Vick’s Virginia property by Federal officials,” continued Mr. Sayres. “We are incredibly proud to have played such an instrumental role in this landmark case which, I believe, will change the way America regards and reacts to the cruel treatment of animals.”
The ASPCA continues to assist in the case and is working closely with the Guardian/Special Master of the dogs, Rebecca Huss, to further evaluate the dogs. Due to the sensitive nature of the evaluations and the ongoing criminal process, further details are not possible at this time. For more information on the ASPCA, or to learn more about staying alert to animal cruelty, please visit www.aspca.org/cruelty.