I am fighting to get a law passed entitled "Apollo's Law" based upon what happened with my dogs. Apollo, Koda, Phantom, Cowboy and Scooby were taken from me illegally by Killeen Animal Control. They were then sent out to rescue organizations who are refusing to return them to me despite the fact that an attorney has sent them demand letters, and they are still legally mine under the Texas statutes in regards to "property". The rescue groups refused to comply with the letters.
I want this law to protect dogs and cats from euthanasia, or being adopted out or released to a rescue group in cases where animals are unlawfully taken without "due process". This law will also protect owners from losing their pets under illegal and unethical circumstances.
This law should also assist in forming programs to offer free legal assistance and counsel in cases where people are unable to afford an attorney. There is no reason why anyone should have to pay thousands of dollars to be represented in a court case of which our basic civil rights of the U.S. Constitution have been violated.
PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING LETTER SENT TO BOTH STATE AND FEDERAL LEGISLATURES:
Dear Elected Officials,
I am writing to you pursuant a miscarriage of justice that occurred in May of 2011 in the city of Killeen, Texas. I was accused of Animal Cruelty and although I have never gone to any type of hearing, my rights to “due process” as well as several other rights have been violated. As a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the last thing I would ever expect is to lose something as important to me as I have had to endure with the loss my dogs.
Chapter 821 of the Texas Health and Safety Code specifically deals with the treatment and disposition of animals. According to subchapter B. the procedure for the disposition of cruelly treated animals is a follows: if an officer of animal control has reason to believe that an animal has been treated cruelly, a warrant to seize the animals shall be issued by a court or magistrate at which time a hearing must be set within ten calendar days of the animal’s impoundment. The officer executing the warrant must notify the owner of the animal with a written notice, and information as to the time and place that the hearing is supposed to occur. The chapter also states that each interested party is entitled to an opportunity to present evidence at the hearing. It also details the procedure in the payment of fines that must be paid by the owner if any which is all done through the hearing process.
In my specific case, I was arrested on May 25, 2011. My animals were never seized with a warrant. I was never notified in writing that my animals had been impounded. In fact, while I sat in jail, I spent many days worrying as to the safety and well-being of my animals because no one had notified me as to what had happened to them. I was never given a hearing in regards to my animals, but instead my animals were basically held for a ransom of $2,400.
I was told by Stacie Sherva, the head of Killeen Animal Control that the only way I would get my animals back was by paying that large sum of money. No judge or court hearing has ever given the city of Killeen custodial rights to my dogs. While Stacie had stated that they were taken as part of a police confiscation and that they had the right to disperse of them within ten days because “that’s our law”, State and Federal laws say otherwise.
My dogs were sent to rescue groups throughout Texas who have specifically threatened me, and smeared my name all over the internet. Not only have they committed such hate crimes, but they have also been found to be friends with not only each other, but also the officers who manage the Killeen Animal Control facility. These rescues have specifically told me I will never get my dogs back, and committed libelous and slanderous acts of defamation against me both on the internet and through third parties. The civil attorney I had hired to represent me sent each rescue that had obtained my dogs a demand letter for their return as they are still legally my dogs. Each rescue refused to return my dogs to me and I have been unsuccessful in getting them home. I have never been found guilty of any crime, yet my dogs of which I love very dearly were literally stolen from me by governmental authorities.
The fifth and fourteenth amendments of the United States Constitution guarantees us that “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of the law” which applies to both the people and the state.
In my case my property was not only unprotected, but stolen by people due to the fact that they wear a badge and are able to do things which definitely can be proven of violating the “color of the law”. I have found that both procedural and substantive due process rights in my case have been violated. I have spoken to several attorneys on this matter. Each attorney has verified that I do have a Constitutional claim against the city of Killeen. I have started a petition to Congress entitled “Apollo’s Law” to help protect other pet owners from losing their pets due to a corrupt system.
The sixth amendment of the United States Constitution states “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.”
In my case I have not been allowed the opportunity to review the veterinary bills, and medical treatment performed on my animals as to verify the costs Killeen Animal Control is claiming that I owe them. I have also been deprived of my Federal rights to the sixth amendment to have my own experts examine my dogs which are said to be evidence in my criminal trial. My dogs have been released to rescue groups and adopted into homes. This has not only violated the criminal code in regards to “chain of custody” for evidence, but my basic rights to examine said evidence.
State and Federal laws have been violated by city officials against me as an American citizen and accused person pending a criminal trial. I am asking for your assistance in not only helping me to get my dogs back, but also in protecting others who may be facing a similar fate due to a corrupt system. I have never been convicted of a crime, and I have most certainly not been treated as “innocent until proven guilty”. I can assure you that I am innocent in this case and have also been treated unfair throughout this process. I care deeply about all animals and to hurt any animal goes against both my nature and my beliefs.
Please take the time to review my complaints and assist me as I along with many others are needing your help. In recent months, the Killeen Animal Control has been under investigation for their failure to provide proper veterinary care for their animals. Several people have adopted very sick and mistreated animals from this facility. Not only has this made the news, but it can be found within the numerous amounts of complaints against the shelter made online.
There are four rescues involved along with Killeen Animal Control. Texas Husky Rescue, Heart of Texas Lab Rescue, Texas Tails of Hope Pet Rescue and Forever Homes Rescue are the four rescues which have received and refused as well as partaken in the illegal trafficking of stolen property of my dogs. All of these rescues are located in Texas and have been notified in writing by my attorney to return the dogs. Each rescue group has attended all of my pre-trial hearings and has also partaken in defamation of both myself and anyone representing me. I am also requesting a full investigation on each entity described. I would personally like to thank you for your time and assistance in this matter.
Ashley N. Miller
PLEASE CONTRIBUTE TO HELPING MY DOGS COME HOME BY THROUGH PAYPAL AT firstname.lastname@example.org OR http://helpoifveteransdogs.chipin.com THANK YOU!
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