A woman twice arrested for animal cruelty charges has now sued the city of Killeen seeking damages for emotional trauma and defamation.
Ashley Nicole Miller, 28, now lives in Illinois because the publicity surrounding her arrests caused her to fear for her personal safety, according to documents filed in district court.
Miller was arrested on charges of cruelty to animals in May 2011. Her suit states those charges never came to trial.
She is seeking unspecified damages for the “unlawful” seizure of her dogs and defamation of character. Animal control took all of her animals into custody following her second arrest.
The suit states animal control would only allow the animals to be released to Miller if she paid $2,400. Some of her pets were then put up for adoption, and her dogs were scattered across Central Texas to at least five animal rescue groups.
The petition in the suit states that the publication of her charges caused Miller to lose her job, suffer humiliation and be a target of threats, some of which she claims were made by animal control employees.
Miller briefly ran a loosely organized group she called Killeen Animal Search and Rescue. She set up social media sites for her group and started taking animals into her home.
The organization arose from another arrest in 2010 on a criminal trespass charge that was later dropped. Miller had been searching for her dog Apollo, which had been stolen from her home.
She located the dog at a home and attempted to make contact with the residents. It resulted in a broken window.
Her animal rescue group consisted of about 15 volunteers who helped find residents’ missing pets. She claimed to have saved at least 30 animals at one point.
But in March 2011, police entered Miller’s home and found a malnourished kitten. Two months later, they arrested her and seized 12 cats and 10 dogs from her home.
Miller was then accused of attempting to neuter three dogs by placing rubber bands around their testicles.