Montgomery farm sanctuary under investigation as videos surface of possible dog overcrowding and mistreatment
The owner of a Montgomery farm and animal sanctuary is under investigation over several videos appearing to show the mistreatment of a dog and animal overcrowding.
Town of Montgomery police say the owner of Bella Acres Farm and Sanctuary, Jason Miller, was recently issued multiple violations for having at least 10 unlicensed dogs without a kennel permit and for allegedly violating the town’s noise ordinance for persistent barking.
Authorities say they are also investigating the farm and sanctuary after a video surfaced appearing to show someone on the property grabbing a dog by its neck and collar, then repeatedly shaking its head in the air and into the ground.
News 12 spoke to Miller at his farm Friday morning. He said the video shared is taken out of context and that he was trying to revive the dog after it had been in a fight with one of the other dogs on the property.
“The dog was passed out, so as I got the dogs off, I was shaking the dog to get them back up,” said Miller.
He showed News 12 portions of the farm and admitted to having eight dogs, which were visible outside, but would not say how many dogs he has.
“To me, it’s a personal matter and honestly, I don’t even know because for me, I don’t sit there and count them. It doesn’t matter to me how many dogs I have and I’ll continue,” said Miller.
Miller said he keeps other dogs inside his house, and that he lets them out in rotating shifts. He said he is not required to have a kennel license, since he claims his property is considered a farm and zoned agricultural. Miller also claims to take in surrendered animals that would otherwise be euthanized.
“I take dogs in that have mental and physical disabilities,” said Miller.
The Town of Montgomery Zoning Department says Miller’s property is zoned residential/agricultural but that he is required to apply for a kennel license since dogs are considered domestic pets, not farm animals.
Hudson Valley SPCA president Joan Kay said humane law enforcement is working with police and that the conditions are “a disaster waiting to happen."
News 12 was alerted to concerns on Thursday that were shared by a neighbor on social media.
That neighbor says a dog on Miller’s property got loose and attacked her pig in 2021, resulting in the animal losing its ear. They allege Miller is breeding the dogs and has as many as 100 dogs on the property.
“We are investigating the allegations being made,” said Town of Montgomery Police Chief John Hank. “We encourage anyone with information to contact the Town of Montgomery police."
Miller says he is being targeted by his neighbor in what he describes as a civil dispute.
He’s due to appear in Montgomery Town Court on Aug. 16.