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No word of Grand Jury from DA in Texas hero dog killing case

Toby was flown from Dubai to JFK Airport in NY. After countless hours in a plane and kennels, Toby's first action in America was to give a perfect stranger a kiss.
Rachel Ries

According to the Wilson County, Texas District Clerk’s Office there were no indictments against Michael Coulter listed from the Grand Jury’s meeting this morning in regard to the killing of his neighbor’s dog. The dog, Toby, was rescued by U.S. Army soldiers in war torn Afghanistan and eventually found a home near La Vernia, a small town located 30 minutes southeast of San Antonio.

Toby’s owner, Rachel Ries, identified Coulter as the neighbor who shot her dog in the security of her back yard on April 12, 2014.

A spokesperson for the District Attorney’s offices of Rene M. Pena and Audrey Louis indicated that office would not release public information out to the media.

Soldiers, stationed in Afghanistan, nourished, named and nursed Toby and found the dog to be especially gentle and friendly. Toby became a symbol of love and solace for many soldiers and after hundreds of people raised thousands of dollars, the dog was welcomed to the United States.

The killing of Ries’s dog has prompted inquiries, comments and concerns across the globe, while investigators from local sheriff Joe Tackitt, Jr. have been fielding information from the parties involved. Ries has submitted various affidavits, statements and documents to the District Attorney’s Office to aid in the investigation when she noticed the investigators appeared reluctant to take some of this information. According to Tackitt, the investigation was due to wrap up Wednesday of this week.

On the night of the killing, Ries heard gun shots and became immediately frightened because her boys were outside that evening.

“I ran out and saw our Toby laying in my son’s arms in our back yard,” said Ries. “He was bleeding and died in his arms.” Knowing her fence and yard was secure, Ries remembered her neighbor, Mike Coulter, had threatened one of her boys on February 22 indicating he was going to shoot “that white dog.” Ries went next door to talk to Coulter about that incident, she describe him as acting strange and kept mentioning that she was not easy to talk to because she “always wears a military uniform when you are coming home or leaving for work.”

After 911 was called on April 12, Ries went to find Coulter.

“When I approached him and asked him why he shot our dog, he completely denied it,” Ries recalled. “But he finally admitted he killed Toby when the deputy arrived and started asking him questions.”

“The deputy agreed with us that he could smell alcohol on Coulter’s breath,” Ries added. “We were so shocked and it was so hard to believe he would do this to such a friendly dog.”

Some residents of the La Vernia community have contacted the Examiner concerned that Wilson Country law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office may not take the killing of Toby seriously.

The next Grand Jury is scheduled on July 16, according to a clerk who identified herself as Sharon, from the Country District Clerks office.

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