ASPCA Responds to News Reports of Michael Vick Accepting Plea Agreement: Applauds Swift and Thorough Federal Investigative Efforts

August 20, 2007

NEW YORK, August 20, 2007—Responding to breaking news that NFL quarterback Michael Vick has accepted a plea agreement in his federal dog fighting case, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today applauded the thorough and speedy federal investigation into this case by the U. S. Attorney’s office and the USDA.

“Though dog fighting has been prevalent in this country for more than a century, it was only towards the end of the 20th century that it started to be regarded as a crime in the eyes of the law,” said ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres, “which makes the strong federal investigation of this case all the more remarkable.

“As an organization that supports law enforcement efforts against animal cruelty in several ways—from having our own Humane Law Enforcement department in New York, to contributing to the education and training of law enforcement and judicial officers around the country in prosecuting animal cruelty—we salute the U. S. Attorney’s office and the USDA in their dedication to pursuing this case. It sends a clear message to those engaged in animal cruelty—that these acts are barbaric and unacceptable in a humane community.”

A little more than one month after Michael Vick and three other co-defendants pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities (“Travel Act”), and to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture, in violation of federal law, they have all reversed their pleas, with Vick being the last to follow suit—a stunning reversal of events.

The ASPCA has been assisting in the federal investigation of this case; at this time it still cannot offer any additional details in order to protect the integrity of this investigation and the ongoing criminal process.

For more information on the ASPCA, or to learn more about staying alert to animal cruelty, please visit