Before he went to prison for dogfighting, Michael Vick trained his pit bulls at a 4,600-sq-ft house on 15 acres in Surry, Virginia. Earlier this year, local tax rolls valued the property at $747,000, but Vick hurriedly sold the house to real estate developer Ray Todd on the cheap, to aid his mounting financial troubles. Todd had hoped to resell the house for $1M at a December auction, and dozens of rubberneckers toured the property -- to gawk at the syringes left on the ground, the twenty kennels "like prison cells", and the outbuildings where the dogs were fought. Naturally, no one was buying. Still, Todd wants to recoup his investment, so he’s turning to a conventional sale this month… and failing that, is considering building (unbelievably) a bed-and-breakfast where pets are welcome. Enter The Vick House project: a Dallas charity called Jalie’s Butterflies is hoping to raise enough money online to buy the house and convert it to a non-profit animal shelter, under guidance of the SPCA. [more inside]
First challenge of Maryland law making animal cruelty a felony results in acquittal. Charges were dismissed against a landlord who forcibly removed two of his tenant's three cats and dispatched them with a 12-gauge shotgun. Judge said law's language fails to clearly define "cruel killing". Also on AP.