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Dog’s death grabs Internet attention
This photo of Toby is from the “Justice for Toby” Facebook page, which as of May 13 has 9,544 “likes.” The page’s creator alleges that Toby — a Koochee dog rescued by his owner while she was stationed in Afghanistan — was shot and killed by a neighbor.
Wilson County News
May 21, 2014
News of a dog shot near La Vernia on April 12 continues to reach all corners of the world via Facebook. A “Justice for Toby” petition at thepetitionsite.com has garnered more than 20,000 signatures.
Investigator Stephen Moore of the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office said Cpl. Manuel Perez responded to the home in the Country Hills residential subdivision after two separate 911 callers reported that a dog had been shot.
The man who shot the dog reported being in his house and seeing two dogs from an adjacent home chasing his cat into his garage.
“He went into the garage, grabbed a rifle, and tried to shoo away the dogs,” Moore said. “One dog turned on him and he shot it.”
The dog in question was Toby, a 100-plus-pound Koochee dog that was rescued by his owner while she was stationed in Afghanistan. See “Koochee dog” for more about this breed.
Moore said Toby’s owner alleges that he was shot on her property and that her neighbor fired his .357 caliber lever-action rifle three times toward her home. Moore said evidence suggests that only two shots were fired, one of which struck Toby’s left flank while he was on the neighbor’s property.
Evidence also suggests that Toby fled back to his owner’s residence and died on her porch. Moore said the sheriff’s office has concluded that the dog was shot in self-defense and -- despite talk of the contrary -- there was no evidence that the man who shot the dog was intoxicated at the time.
Additionally, Moore said the sheriff’s office has three documented cases of complaints involving dogs kept at the woman’s residence. In October and December of 2013, some of the dogs allegedly were chasing cattle in a pasture behind the property. Another neighbor in February reported having to swat Toby away with a shovel after the dog had lunged at him.
Moore said the case has been presented to the 81st Judicial District Attorney’s Office for possible consideration by a grand jury at a later date. In the wake of the incident, the man who shot Toby has hired an attorney to represent him, and has reported to the sheriff’s office that he has received harassing telephone calls at his place of employment.
According to the website, koocheedog.com, the Koochee dog has changed little from its origins in 2000 B.C. when it was bred by Afghan nomads to protect herds and camel caravans as they traversed Central Asia. The word “Koochee” also is spelled as “Kochi” or “Kuchi,” both variations of a Persian word that refers to nomads.
Unlike recognized canine species, the Koochee dog is not subject to Western breeding standards. Breeds that closely resemble them include the Anatolian Shepherd and the Central Asian Shepherd.
Appearance never was a criterion for breeding Koochee dogs. The dogs typically measure approximately 32 inches at the withers and have an average weight of 135-155 pounds.
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