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Trainer at ‘Bad Newz Kennels’ pleads guilty

A co-defendant of Michael Vick has acknowledged spending most of his time taking care of and training the pit bulls fought by “Bad Newz Kennels” through September 2004.

Tony Taylor, a 34-year-old Hampton man, pleaded guilty today to a felony count of conspiring to engage in interstate dog fighting beginning in early 2001. Taylor faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on Dec. 14. As part of his guilty plea, he agreed to cooperate with the government.

The guilty plea was accompanied by a “Summary of the Facts” available on the Web site of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. In it, the government alleges that the “Bad Newz Kennels” operation in Surry County and gambling monies were almost exclusively funded by Vick. Winnings were split among the other three co-defendants, and Taylor admitted using a large portion of his share for living expenses.

The summary lists 14 dog fights, with Vick present at nine of them. The fights involved dogs from Virginia and five other states.

Taylor acknowledges executing two dogs that did not perform well in testing sessions and alleges that two co-defendants, Purnell A. Peace and Quanis L. Phillips, each executed a dog. The summary says nothing about Vick killing an animal. Vick, Peace and Phillips have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled for trial in November.

Taylor said he left the operation in September 2004 after “a disagreement with Phillips and others.”

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