Charity Wants Vick House For Animal Shelter

TLANTA -- A Texas group wants to buy the house that headquartered Michael Vick's dogfighting operation and turn it into an animal shelter.

Calling themselves the Vick House Project, the group is raising money on line for the purchase of the house in Surry County, Va. At thevickhouse.org they claim they have $11,387 in donations.

"It is a chance for animal lovers to contribute to a noble cause. It is a chance to create a happy final chapter to a sordid and tragic tale," according to the introduction on the web site.

The current owner of the property in rural southeastern Virginia, real estate developer Wilbur Ray Todd Jr., rejected a final bid of $747,000, the assessed value of the property at 1915 Moonlight Road during an auction in December.

Todd said it would cost about $1 million to build a similar house on 15 acres.

The charity group said that if they can raise enough money to buy the house they will ask the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) for help running the proposed animal shelter.

If they fail to raise the cash for the purchase they will turn over all donations to the ASPCA, the group promised.

Vick, the suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback, is serving a 23-month sentence for a dogfighting conspiracy. Vick and three co-defendants raised pit bulls and trained them for fighting in the rugged wooded area behind a 4,600-square-foot white brick house.

Vick paid about $34,000 for the tract in 2002 and had the house built. Behind the house and a full-size basketball court, partly obscured by a fence, are four outbuildings and dozens of dog cages.

Vick sold the property for $450,000 to Todd, who spent an additional $50,000 fixing up the place, which had been trashed by burglars and looters.

"By the time you pay a commission and taxes, it gets eaten up real quick," Todd said to explain why the nearly $250,000 he would have made from auction's final bid was not enough.

The house has two master suites and a media room with wet bar. A double-sided gas fireplace separates the bathroom from the bedroom in the upstairs master suite.

Other amenities include jetted tubs, freshly refinished hardwood floors, a two-car garage and an expansive kitchen with center island, granite countertops and built-in stainless steel appliances.

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