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Tuesday, Jul 25, 2006County: Fairfield
Defendant/Suspect: Mark D. Miller
Case Updates: 1 update(s) available
A Lancaster man accused of running a puppy mill out of a home on Garfield Avenue said on July 26 that he's innocent of the charges.
Mark D. Miller, 27, of 528 Garfield Ave., was arrested for cruelty to animals, neglect of companion animals and harboring a wild or exotic animal.
If convicted of all the charges, he could be sentenced to up 590 days in jail.
A total of 32 dogs and puppies - and one skunk - were removed from the Garfield Avenue home Tuesday. City Prosecutor Randall Ullom described the operation as a puppy mill.
Miller pleaded not guilty on July 26, 2006.
"But I can change my plea later, can't I?" Miller asked Fairfield County Municipal Court Judge Patrick Harris.
Harris said Miller could. Miller then asked for a court-appointed attorney.
Ullom said he was called to the home when Lancaster police officers, officers from the Fairfield Area Humane Society and the city's code enforcement division entered the home on July 25 after the Humane Society received a complaint.
"I had the unfortunate opportunity to be present when they entered the home," Ullom said. "There were feces everywhere. No windows had been opened. There was no ventilation."
The stench was unbearable, Ullom said.
"It was deplorable and reprehensible. The building has been condemned," Ullom said. "It certainly looked like a puppy mill to me."
Miller's bond was set at $5,000 cash along with a $2,500 recognizance bond.
Harris also ordered Miller not to have any animals until the case is settled, and to stay away from the home until it is cleaned up.
Suzanne Varney, a member of the Board of Directors of the Fairfield Area Humane Society, said the animals all needed medical help after they were taking from the home.
"Veterinarians from Fairfield Pet Hospital donated their time and came in to look at all the animals," Varney said.
The animals are being kept at the Humane Society, 1721 Granville Pike, and at the dog shelter next door.
None of the animals are available for adoption right now until their legal status is settled and their medical conditions improve.
Lancaster Code Enforcement Officer Sean Fowler condemned Miller's home temporarily, saying it was unfit for humans to live in.
"The notice was put up on the building today," Fowler said. "The Millers will have 20 days to show some improvement in the home, and it will probably take longer than that to make the home habitable."
Valorie Miller, 54, Mark's wife, became so despondent about the animals being taken from the home that she threatened to harm herself and was taken to Fairfield Medical Center, Ullom said Wednesday after the arraignment.
Ullom said that when Valorie Miller is released from the hospital, she will face animal cruelty charges as well.
|Mark D. Miller will not be able to own animals for five years. The man accused of running a puppy mill reached a plea bargain with city prosecutors on Aug 15.|
|Source: CentralOhio.Com - Aug 16, 2006|
Update posted on Nov 13, 2006 - 12:08PM
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