We here at Awful Announcing can in no way condone the practice of making animals fight for our pleasure. It’s wrong, and nothing you say can sway us from that viewpoint. Now, if you want to put them on an oval track and have them race for your amusement (and profit)? That we’re OK with.

However, this week I thought it was high time we looked into the local press coverage of Michael Vick’s little legal problem. As you may know, he is one of the many phenomenal athletes to come out of the Hampton Roads hotbed, which includes Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Hampton itself, and several other townships surrounding the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay. The alleged house where the alleged crimes allegedly occurred is in the area, so let’s hop over and read up on the local reaction.

Uh-oh, Mike. The President hates you, dude. According to the Virginian-Pilot article by Dave Forster and Warren Fiske, President Bush signed a dogfighting bill only eight days after the Vick story broke.

Under the old federal law, dogfighting carried a maximum prison sentence of one year per animal. The new law raised that to a maximum of three years in prison.

Sounds bad, right? But the article goes on to report that Virginia’s law is even stiffer:

Under Virginia law, participating in dogfights is a felony punishable by as many as five years in prison.

So, hey, like people have been saying… let’s not make a Federal case out of this, OK?

And, in a sidebar item in the same article, it looks like the unwanted attention has caused Vick to skip out on a few earlier commitments.

Vick camp canceled

Michael Vick has canceled his four-day football camp at Christopher Newport University, which had been scheduled to start June 30.

Tommy Reamon, Vick’s high school football coach in Newport News, called C.J. Woolum, CNU’s athletic director, on Wednesday to cancel the camp. Reamon cited scheduling issues, said Carolyn Cuthrell, a CNU spokeswoman.

The camp’s Web site, michaelvickfootballcamp.com, has been taken down.

Sounds like a great name for a blog – wonder how much they want for the domain?

Roanoke, VA is the nearest urban area to Virginia Tech, where Michael and his brother Marcus played college football. The Roanoke Times had an interesting letter to the editor from a reader who just doesn’t think it’s newsworthy.

The front page has five columns devoted to the problems of Michael Vick (“Conflicting images”), plus on page 10 the entire page is devoted to this issue. Granted, he is a popular sports figure with a local connection, but this is a bit much.

How ironic it is that on page 11 there is a much smaller headline announcing that “9 U.S. troops die in Iraq” with only one paragraph in the article about it.

That’s right, lunatic QB gets all of page 10, dead U.S. servicemen, a bit of page 11. Who says our priorities are out of whack?

Well, the Surry district attorney does, for one. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, he can’t for the life of him figure out why the federal government swooped in on the day his search warrant expired without being executed.

(W)hat’s driving this? Is it this boy’s celebrity? Would they have done this if it wasn’t Michael Vick?”

I’m gonna go ahead and say that the high profile nature of the case probably has something to do with it, yes.

And it sounds to me like there are going to be some nasty revelations coming, if I read this right:

As car after car — and one evidence collection truck belonging to the Virginia State Police — darted out of the fenced yard surrounding Michael Vick’s property, the officers inside gave barely a glance to reporters waiting across the street.

Pulling the gate closed, though, one of the last men to leave Thursday night said investigators had done some digging and that he didn’t expect to be back anytime soon.

“I hope I never see this place again,” the man said, refusing to identify himself.

With news helicopters circling overhead and confirming that investigators were digging with shovels, they were only seen removing a cardboard box and a large sheet of plywood.

So, they did some digging, hauled away some plywood and a box, and the only man who spoke to reporters sounded thoroughly disgusted.

If I were a betting man, I’d bet that this goes the way the Ray Lewis trial did. In this case, it will be Vick’s cousin who gets the bulk of the punishment, and Vick will probably get probation, or that sweet Jamal Lewis/Tank Johnson deal where you get to serve time only when your team isn’t playing football.

Dog fighting…. and you think you live in an enlightened society….

Extra P.