Momentum is growing across the globe in support of family of the rescued dog killed by a neighbor and “Justice for Toby” campaign by way of petitioning, writing letters, sending emails, and commenting on various social media sites.
Toby was a starving puppy rescued from a burning trash pit in war torn Afghanistan by a U.S. Army Captain. Soldiers nourished, named and nursed the dog that they found 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. Toby found a loving family in a secure and spacious yard at a good home in Texas merely to be shot and killed by a neighbor on April 12, 2014.
When Rachel Ries, Toby’s owner, heard the shots from her next door neighbor’s gun she was 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 Rie. “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, 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.”
While many residents of small town of La Vernia, a community 30 minutes southeast of San Antonio, are concerned Wilson Country law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office may not take the killing of Toby seriously, citizens are getting support from unexpected places. Correspondence from as far away as Norway, United Kingdom, Italy and Australia has reached various "Justice For Toby" related social media sites. Even Gretchen Carlson of Fox News posted about Toby on her Facebook page.
Local television news stations CBS affiliate KENS-5 and ABC's KSAT-12 have recently aired reports on the killing of Toby.
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Below is a sample of some of the correspondence coming to Justice For Toby, the petition site, and the Examiner.
Toby arrives in U.S.
Mr. Jeffrey Webb, IL
"The man violated the law to serve his own means. He does not deserve to be forgiven by the law. Animal cruelty was displayed here and what would be next? Suppose he was complaining about the kids, will he shoot them? The Wilson County Attorney and Sheriff's office should be held accountable for not properly processing the case, and even sued, possibly."
Dr. L Belles, OH
"Animal Cruelty has gotten out of hand. There must be harsher penalties for these living, breathing, creatures. If Toby had been a K9 police officer, that deputy would be singing a completely different tune. That neighbor does not deserve to be spared from justice."
Toby was very friendly
Carol Goiburn, Fresno, CA
"If Texans allow this county to bury this investigation, close this case without even giving the victims their day in court, expect even more outrageous law-defying activity on the part of these men and men like them, America. Expect even more because we all know that stubborn, mean, cruel people don't all of a sudden become sweet, caring, understanding people. The laws don't make us good; that comes from within, but the law can do something to those who choose to break it like Coulter did the day he decided to gun down a family pet for no apparently good reason."
Mr. Matt Phelps, FL
"When are people going to understand that our animals become part of our family? It's like my son retrieving his baseball climbing a fence and being shot. Convict!!"
Mr. Arthur McDade, TN
"Please help provide justice for Toby. No animal should be treated this way, and Texas needs to take action or I'll not visit there again."
Rescued in Afghanistan
Ms. Em Desmond, CA
"Though there is no solace in a case like this, know that Toby accomplished more, and shared more true love, in a lifetime than most people. Love is the eternal flame. Good dog! Well done. Toby, we will all remember you in the faces of all rescue animals. Rescuing an animal is the ultimate revenge against amoral humans. Do it!"
Toby after rescue
Ms. Tracey Shover, VA
"Acts of cruelty to animals are not mere indications of a minor personality flaw in the abuser; they are symptomatic of a deep mental disturbance. Research in psychology and criminology shows that people who commit acts of cruelty to animals don’t stop there—many of them move on to their fellow humans."
Mr. Terry Sublette, CO
"As a disabled honorable retired military member who works to help K9s out of abuse and neglect situations I am simply speechless over this neighbors actions."