Case Snapshot
Case ID: 19772
Classification: Shooting
Animal: dog (pit-bull)
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Monday, Jul 9, 2012

County: Staunton City

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Alleged

Alleged: James Miller

After "Boss," Shannon Baber's 55-pound pit bull, was shot during a home invasion on July 9, he was left with an entry wound to the chest, an exit wound in his side and shrapnel in his left hind leg.

After The News Leader reported on it a week later, Boss also had some new admirers.

"We've never seen something like this," said Elizabeth Cox, office manager at Westwood Animal Hospital since 1996.

Though Cox wouldn't reveal how much or how many people donated to Boss's account, the outpouring of support was incredible, she said, with people even trying to donate directly to wounded dog's veterinarian, Laura Kivlighan, in the street or at the store.

"We had to turn people away," Cox said. "There's enough here for him to be taken care of for a long time."

Boss's story might be good news for other pits too, said Candice Barnack, by helping reverse the breed's stigma as vicious.

"People that want dogs to fight choose pit bulls because they are very loyal," and that has given the dogs an unfair reputation, said Barnack, who co-founded Virginia Paws for Pits in March, an all-volunteer organization that works to adopt area dogs, including pit bulls.

"Half of our shelter dogs nationwide are pit bulls," she said, adding that they are the most abused and neglected dog she sees.

James "Munch" Miller, 30, is being held without bond in the break-in and faces several felonies and a misdemeanor charge for shooting Boss.

Staunton decided against pursuing a felony animal cruelty charge allowed under state law, Staunton Police Department Spokeswoman Lisa Klein said, a decision that is made collaboratively by police and the prosecutor's office.

"There are many considerations (that go into it)," Klein said.

In a July case in Newport News, a woman was charged with a felony under the law after she left a Yorkshire terrier in a hot car for four hours. The dog had to be put down after animal control officers rescued it from the car.

Baber's only concern was Boss's health, he said.

After all, as Baber explains: "He took a bullet for me." When an armed robber forced his way into Baber's Maple Street apartment, the only thing separating robber and would-be victim was a tapestry curtain.

And Boss.

The robber shot, then fled. As for Boss:

"He's great. He's back. He's the same dog," Baber said.

"I just want to give a big thank you for the donations and tell everyone that I appreciate everything."


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