Case Snapshot
Case ID: 10508
Classification: Fighting
Animal: dog (pit-bull)
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Drugs or alcohol involved
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Friday, Feb 10, 2006

County: Richmond City

Charges: Felony CTA
Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: Stacey Albert Miller

Case Updates: 8 update(s) available

Inside the Manchester Courthouse, it was day two of the Stacey Miller trial. Miller is facing 18 charges - the most serious of which is dog-fighting.

The prosecution team spent the day calling witnesses, to testify that evidence collected at Stacey Miller's home -- including a video tape containing dog fighting, dog fighting manuals, veterinary medical supplies and treadmills (similar to these altered for use by dogs) -- indicate that Miller engaged in dog fighting.

Animal control officers that have been investigating the case say this is one of the biggest breaks they have had in the world of professional level dog fighting in the Metro Richmond area.

Miller and his attorney have declined request for interviews while the trial is underway, but contend Miller is not a dog fighter and was in fact running a legitimate dog supply company and his 16 pit-bulls were used for dog shows.

Legitimate dog owner and breeder or dog fighting insider -- that's the decision the jury will have to make. They are expected to begin deliberation Jan 11, 2007.


Case Updates

Concluding what a prosecutor called Richmond's biggest dogfighting case, Stacey A. Miller was sentenced to four years in prison, fined $20,000 and barred from owning any companion animals.

Miller, an Army veteran described in letters of support as a community-minded churchgoer, has "been a good and productive citizen," his lawyer, John Mann, said in arguing for reduced prison time.

But good and productive citizens don't take part in dogfighting and don't abuse their animals, said Assistant Commonwealth's At- How does the sentence in Richmond's biggest dogfighting case compare with other U.S. cases?Page A5.torney Jaime Blackmon.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Alexander L. Taylor reminded the judge that a dozen of the dogs seized from Miller by animal-control officers and police last year have had to be euthanized, either because of serious illness, injury or malnutrition, or because their training as fighting dogs made them too dangerous for adoption. Taylor said the case is the city's biggest dogfighting prosecution to date.

"These dogs are not pets," Taylor told the judge. "These dogs were trained for dogfighting. . . . This awful, brutal blood sport called dogfighting."

Jody Jones, program manager of Richmond Animal Care and Control, said in court yesterday that the case produced more dogs euthanized than any other case she knows of from her 15-year career in animal control. She has been in her current job two years.

Miller, 40, was convicted in January of felony dogfighting, two counts of felony animal cruelty, a dozen counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty and two counts of possessing steroids. The jury recommended the four-year sentence and $20,000 in fines that the judge imposed yesterday.

Miller also was ordered to pay Richmond Animal Care and Control $26,205.29 in restitution for the cost of caring for the 15 American pit bull terriers that were seized from him in February 2006.

Judge Richard D. Taylor Jr. ordered Miller to never again own any companion animal.

Prosecutor Alexander Taylor asked the judge to add the restitution order and the order forbidding Miller to own companion animals.

Mann said he intends to appeal on behalf of his client.

Until last year, Miller kept 16 pit bulls in the backyard of his house on LaSalle Drive in South Richmond. They were confined with heavy chains used for automobile towing. Chaining the animals is a dogfighting technique for building strength.


On Feb. 10, 2006, Richmond Animal Control Officer Keegan Merrick responded to a call from one of Miller's neighbors that one of the dogs had died. When Merrick arrived he found the dead dog in a trash can. The others had no food, no clean water and no adequate shelter.

Animal-control officers and police seized the dogs and searched Miller's house. They found treadmills and other equipment used for training fighting dogs, dogfighting manuals, pedigree books, medical supplies typically used to treat dogs' wounds after a fight, and other evidence of dogfighting.

Alexander Taylor, asking the judge to impose the jury's sentence, said that the jury had specified two years in prison for dogfighting, one year on each of the two felony animal-cruelty counts and fines for the other counts.

"They gave the time on the most serious offenses, dogfighting and felony animal cruelty," Taylor said. "Stacey Miller was engaged in, and we believe also promoted, a blood sport -- dogfighting."
Source: timesdispatch.com - June 19, 2007
Update posted on Jun 19, 2007 - 7:42PM 
A judge yesterday ordered ownership of nine American pit bull terriers that belonged to a man convicted of dogfighting turned over to the Richmond Animal Shelter.

Because they are not likely candidates for adoption, most if not all of the dogs probably will be lethally injected.

Stacey A. Miller, 40, was convicted Jan. 11 of dogfighting and animal-cruelty charges.

Sentencing was scheduled for yesterday, but paperwork delays caused Richmond Circuit Judge Richard D. Taylor Jr. to reschedule for June 19. Miller faces up to four years in prison and $20,000 in fines. He remains free on bond.

Fifteen dogs were seized from Miller's South Richmond backyard, where they were chained with little shelter in their own filth, when he was arrested Feb. 10 last year. A sixteenth dog was found in a trash can, dead of parvovirus, which also afflicted some of the others.

Since then, the dogs have been cared for at the city shelter. One was stolen in a break-in during Miller's three-day trial in January, said Jody Jones, program manager of Richmond Animal Care and Control. That animal was probably stolen by a dogfighter.

Two were euthanized right away because of poor health. Three others have died or been euthanized since for the same reason.

Authorities say the dogs from Miller's yard appear to have been bred and trained for fighting. Police found dog treadmills and books about breeding and training in Miller's house on LaSalle Drive off Midlothian Turnpike.

Jones said that, in general, it would not be responsible to place a dog trained for fighting in anyone's home. "They're trained not to just get aggravated but to go in for the kill," she said.

Jones said the animal shelter always has "nice, adoptable pit bulls" among the about 80 dogs usually up for adoption.

If there is any question whether a Miller dog could be offered for adoption, it will be evaluated for temperament, she said. For some animals, there is no question.

"It's a tough call," Jones said. "We've been caring for these animals for a year now.. We're pretty darn attached to them."
Contact staff writer Tom Campbell at tcampbell@timesdispatch.com or (804) 649-6416.
Source: Times-Dispatch - March 26, 2007
Update posted on Mar 27, 2007 - 6:02AM 
The future of nine pit bulls in Richmond may be decided by a judge. The dogs were taken from Stacy Miller, a man who was convicted of dog fighting and animal cruelty.

His relatives say they want the dogs, but Richmond Animal Control officers say the animals are too aggressive. The city wants to determine whether the dogs need to be put down.
Source: NBC 12 - Feb 9, 2007
Update posted on Feb 9, 2007 - 3:18PM 
Miller is scheduled to be sentenced March 26. He remains free on bond until then.
Source: Times-Dispatch - Jan 12, 2007
Update posted on Jan 14, 2007 - 3:36PM 
A jury handed down a verdict in what prosecutors believe was the biggest dog-fighting case in Richmond history. Late last night, Stacey Miller stood expressionless as the judge read allowed the jury's decision. He was found guilty on 12 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty, two felony animal cruelty counts, two counts of possession of a controlled substance and dog fighting.

"I felt like I was being used as an example…I don't have fighting dogs, that's not me. It wasn't fair that they put me there," says Miller.

The defense rested their case yesterday afternoon, but not before Miller told the jury that everything that was confiscated was used to show his dogs professionally -- not engage them in fights. Miller was arrested last February, after a tip from a neighbor led police to his Richmond home. There, they found 16 dogs and what they believe to be evidence of dog fighting. One had been found dead on the property. Prosecutors say two others died as a result of the cruel treatment at the hands of their owner.

Wednesday's testimony revealed that investigators found animal treadmills, IV's and books on dog fighting, in Miller's home. On Thursday, an expert veterinarian testified what she saw, when she examined the dogs. The prosecution team showed large pictures of each animal, as the doctor described their injuries. Most of them, she said, "had injuries that looked like they were caused by another dog." But there were a few that she noted to be in good condition. Members of the jury closely watched that part of the trial -- leaning in to get a good look at the pictures and taking notes.

The jury recommended a four year prison sentence and $20,000 in fines. Miller is out on bond awaiting formal sentencing in March. Miller's attorney says he plans to appeal.

As for his dogs, they have been in the care of Richmond Animal Control since the case started in February.
Source: NBC 12 - Jan 12, 2007
Update posted on Jan 12, 2007 - 1:39PM 
Stacey Miller has been found guilty of 15 counts, three of them felonies. Miller is now facing four years in jail and a $20,000 fine. His attorney tells 8NEWS he is unhappy with the verdict and plans to appeal. Attorney John Mann says, "I am very disappointed. I think the jury obviously didn't listen to the evidence."

Prosecutor Alexander Taylor says, "He was proffiting from the fighting of dogs. These are pets we're talking about for most people."

Miller will be formally sentenced in March.
Source: WRIC - Jan 12, 2007
Update posted on Jan 12, 2007 - 12:09PM 
A jury is deciding the fate of a Richmond man accused of animal abuse and running a dog fighting ring.

It was a very long day of testimony, where they got to hear from the accused, Stacey Miller himself. The jury is now deciding his guilt or innocence on 18 charges, including one charge of dog fighting.

An animal control vertinarian testified today that several of the dogs that were taken from Miller's property back in February had scars consistent with dog fighting. During his time on the stand, Miller said the dogs sometimes fought among themselves but, that he never engaged in any dog fighting and never sold any pit bulls to be used for dog fighting.

He said he watered and fed the dogs twice a day and that he was treating some of them for health problems himself with medicines he bought online and in area stores. He testified that he kept the 16 pit bulls as a hobby and that he used the treadmills at his home to train his animals for dog shows.

Miller's wife declined an interview with 8NEWS outside of court Thursday. We're told the jury will be working a long evening but the courts are closed Friday for the holiday. It could be a very long night here.
Source: 8News - Jan 11, 2007
Update posted on Jan 11, 2007 - 11:15PM 
Jury deliberations are expected to begin today in the case of a Richmond man on trial for alleged animal abuse. Stacey Miller is facing 18 charges, including dog fighting.

In court Wednesday, the prosecution called witnesses to testify that evidence collected at Miller's home indicated he ran a dog fighting ring.

But, the defense contends that Miller is running a legitimate dog supply company.
Source: WRIC - Jan 11, 2007
Update posted on Jan 11, 2007 - 3:36PM 

References

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