A man who sold a champion pit bull to suspended NFL quarterback Michael Vick's dogfighting operation pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a federal dogfighting charge.
Oscar Allen entered the plea to conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce to aid in illegal gambling and to sponsor a dog in animal fighting -- the same charge to which Vick and his three co-defendants in the Bad Newz Kennels operation pleaded guilty. Vick is expected to be sentenced in December.
The 67-year-old Allen, who lives in the Williamsburg area, is to be sentenced Jan. 25. He faces a maximum punishment of five years in prison, a US$250,000 fine and three years' supervised release. He was released with conditions.
In documents filed at US District Court, prosecutors allege that Allen sold a female pit bull named Jane in 2001 to Bad Newz Kennels, and traveled with Vick's dogfighting associates to Jane's fights.
In 2003, Bad Newz Kennels entered Jane in a "champion dog fight" -- meaning she was fighting for her third consecutive win. Jane won the "champion" purse in a fight over another female pit bull. The winning purse is not known, according to documents filed by prosecutors.
Allen also is accused of advising Vick and his co-defendants on managing and caring for pit bulls used in the rural Surry County dogfighting operation, and helping Vick and his associates pit their dogs against each other to determine which ones were good fighters, according to the document, filed by the US attorney's office.
Allen didn't help kill the six to eight dogs that failed to perform well, prosecutors said.
The details outlined in the indictment against Vick and related court filings fueled a public backlash against the Atlanta Falcons star and cost him several lucrative endorsement deals, even before he agreed to plead guilty to the dogfighting conspiracy charge.
In his plea, Vick admitted to helping kill the underperforming pit bulls and supplying money for gambling on the fights. He said he didn't personally place any bets or share in any winnings. The NFL suspended him indefinitely and without pay.
Vick and his co-defendants still face state felony dogfighting charges.
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