Jill Kessler Miller
Expert Witness in Dogs, Dog Bites and Behavior
About Jill Kessler-Miller
As a Dog Expert and Dog Trainer
I have been training dogs since 1987. I have trained and titled my own dogs in obedience, protection, scent discrimination, agility, conformation, and barn hunt. I am a certified trainer with CCPDT and APDT. I work extensively with abnormal behavior issues, aggression, dog bites, as well
as other basic issues. I also worked for veterinarians for several years, and have a keen interest in veterinary medicine.
I graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts degree, as an English Literature major. I also hold a Graduate Certificate through the Humane Society of the United States in Animal Policy and Advocacy. It has given me a great appreciation of the legalities and humanity of animal-related areas.
As an Investigator
I am fascinated by dog bite cases. Probably because they are never simple, and never truly unforeseen.
There are always red flags, and usually multiples of them. I like putting together all the puzzle pieces, and explaining what happened,
how and why. For my expert work, I have now taken 3 certification courses. They are:
1. Dog Bite Investigation (HSUS): Elements of a dog bite investigation; what evidence to take
and how to properly take it; case response and investigation; veterinary forensics ethology;
dog-fighting involvement and injuries; different types of aggression.
2. Veterinary Forensics (HSUS): A very intense look into investigating and making cases in animal cruelty cases, involving such abuses as neglect, starvation, beating, killing, hoarding and sexual assault. Protocols in establishing timelines, collecting evidence, making a case for prosecution. Note: I am NOT a veterinarian. I was a biology major and worked for a vet for many years, and understand the medical side but am not
qualified to give veterinary medical advice.
3. Veterinary Forensics: Bite Marks (ASPCA & Univ. of Florida): 2 days of reviewing animal bite marks. How to identify, preserve and prove a bite. Casting and creating a bite impression from an animal. Using photos as evidence, translating bite marks for attorneys.
As an Evaluator
Besides training my own dogs for show and competition, I have also been involved in evaluating dogs through the American Kennel Club (www.akc.org) as a Canine Good Citizen tester, and as a Chief Tester for the
American Temperament Test Society (www.atts.org). I also assist in evaluating the many Rottweilers that come into our rescue program (www.rottrescuela.org).
I did teach all-breed classes and private training programs for many years, and so I am quite comfortable with both large and small dogs.
Of course, the more popular a breed is in the population, the more I handled it, such as Golden Retrievers, Chows, Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Pit Bulls, and, of course, my chosen breed, the Rottweiler.
There are “tests” such as the one used by the ASPCA by Emily Weiss (which I like),
SAFER (which I’m not so fond of), Volhard, PAT, etc. They all have their place and merits. I’m not a fan of doing an exact test, as I like the dog to
tell me who they are—and they always do. I will test them through handling and environment, and that way I am able to decide whether or not to continue in one area of their temperament or not.
As a Dog Expert in Legal Matters
I started expert witness work around 2008. have now worked on several hundred cases, reviewing particulars,
giving advice, writing reports, evaluating dogs. I have testified many times in the Superior Courts of Los Angeles, Contra Costa, Alameda,
Riverside and Orange counties, and have been deposed over a dozen times.
But Can You Speak or Write Under Pressure?
Yes and yes!! I have been a writer since junior high, where I started on the school newspaper. I wrote about music, food and travel for high school and a bit in college, and then after college it morphed into dog writing. I have written articles on behavior and training for over 20 years.
I was the Editor of The Rottweiler Quarterly magazine for 2 years, until it was sold to another party.
I enjoy writing, and do not find it a chore.
I love to talk. Just ask anyone who knows me! I have never been uncomfortable speaking to groups of people, and thoroughly enjoyed having a radio show. I actually look forward to depositions and testimony because I get to talk! I love to teach and explain, so this field is right up my alley.
If you're thinking, “I’m an attorney and I want to talk to you!” or “I would like to see your full resume,” then that's great!
I’m always happy to discuss a case. Please call me at 310-573-9615, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.