Justice for Toby

 

An Afghan Veteran, active duty soldier, and Wilson County resident was a helicopter pilot stationed in Afghanistan and is a Captain in the US Army. In the midst of war, while out on a detail with her unit, the team found an innocent, wounded, and starving puppy in a burn pit/trash pile. He was tossed away to be burned alive. They saved the pup, named him Toby, and nursed him back to health. Unable to keep Toby with them anymore, she and her unit were faced with the unthinkable... Euthanize their best friend, leave him to fend for himself, or bring him home. A nationwide effort was made to get Toby home to his solider.... His story was an inspiration to so many. When I asked her why Toby was so important to her when I was assisting her with his rescue, her answer was simple “He is a bright spot and joy in a place far from anything familiar.” These dogs are family, reminders of home, best friends and sometimes even protectors.

After all we all did to save him... he has now been taken from us.

Toby's life came to a tragic end on April 12, 2014

Her next door neighbor had been making derogatory comments about her being in the military and threatening to shoot her "Afghan" dog for weeks to her young children. She had complained to local authorities, but they brushed her off.

On April 12, 2014 Toby was shot and killed by the neighbor. The deputy says the neighbor states Toby was shot in his yard. So that would mean someone opened her gate and let Toby out of the yard.... then put him back in the yard after he was shot to bleed out. Not one family member touched the gate. The gate was closed when they found Toby. If the neighbor wanted to get Toby out of the yard... he could have. Toby would follow anyone.... he loved all people and animals.

SUPPOSEDLY There was blood in the neighbor’s yard… no trail… just a few drops…. then blood in theirs. Wilson County has still not provided the soldier with the report.

Necropsy initial findings are that Toby was still and relaxed when shot, not moving, and slightly turned away from the shooter. This is not what the neighbor said.… The neighbor said Toby was running around trying to kill his cats. That is impossible… For that to happen the theory is the neighbor opened the gate and called Toby over to him as Toby would not leave the yard unless called. It was a trough and through in the abdomen. Toby bled out on her teenage sons lap in their backyard.... their gate was closed. Who closed it? How did Toby get back in their yard and how was the gate closed? It makes no sense. We think this was a staged plan made by an unstable person.

This man has been threatening the dog for weeks. He threatened the soldier’s children.

This is my research so far:

Texas Law:

Shooting “stray” Dogs and Cats (Penal Code 42.09 Animal Cruelty). Any person who shoots a non-livestock animal, which includes any stray or feral cat or dog, and a wild living creature previously captured, can be charged with a felony offense. Penal Code 42.092 of the State of Texas law states that a person must have the owner’s consent to kill the animal (exceptions to prosecution are provided in Section 42.092(e)(1)). It is clear that a “stray” dog or cat either has no owner or that the person who shoots the animal did not get the owner’s consent.

(e) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(5) that the animal was discovered on the person's property in the act of or immediately after injuring or killing the person's goats, sheep, cattle, horses, swine, or poultry and that the person killed or injured the animal at the time of this discovery.

No animals in the neighbor’s yard were harmed... so the neighbor violated the law if in fact Toby was in it.

You cannot just shoot a dog for just being on your property in Texas. They have clear laws on this. The Deputy said they are not filing charges because the man was defending his property… the cat…. But that is not legal because even though you do have a right to protect you, another, and your property (see Chapter 9 of the Texas penal code) from ANOTHER. "Another" means a person other than the actor. A dog is not "another", so the defense that Chapter 9 of the Penal Code offers does not work in this case.

They were also saying he was dangerous, but according to their laws, in this situation, Toby was not a dangerous dog.

"Dangerous dog" means a dog that:

(A) makes an unprovoked attack on a person that causes bodily injury and occurs in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own; or

(B) Commits unprovoked acts in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own and those acts cause a person to reasonably believe that the dog will attack and cause bodily injury to that person.

Texas - Dangerous Dogs or Coyotes that Attack Animals- TX HEALTH & S § 822.013

This Texas statute provides that a dog or coyote that is attacking, is about to attack, or has recently attacked livestock, domestic animals including (pets), or fowls may be killed by any person witnessing the attack or the attacked animal's owner or a person acting on behalf of the owner if the owner or person has knowledge of the attack. A person who kills a dog or coyote as provided by this section is not liable for damages to the owner, keeper, or person in control of the dog or coyote.

No cats were harmed, no people were harmed, dog was still and relaxed when shot. Shooting the dog was illegal. In fact… this neighbor’s cats are often on the soldier’s side of the fence. She has photos.

The deputy also stated that he smelled alcohol on the man’s breath when he interviewed him. If you are noticeably under the influence in Texas it is not legal to discharge your fire arm. A drunken individual would not be in the correct state of mind to determine whether or not a person or animal was a threat.

The deputy told the family that they should not pursue justice for Toby as they would be ruining a man’s life that made a bad judgment call.

That is unacceptable to me. This is America and you should be able to live in your home and be safe. You should not have to live in fear that your neighbor is going to get wasted on a Saturday night and shoot your pets while your children are outside playing.

Her kids are afraid to go outside. This is no way to live.

She needs our help.

-Meredith

President, Paws Unite People

To the Wilson County Attorney and Sheriff's office;


We are asking you to uphold Texas Law in Case#14-02095

According to Texas Law: 

Shooting “stray” Dogs and Cats (Penal Code 42.09 Animal Cruelty). Any person who shoots a non-livestock animal, which includes any stray or feral cat or dog, and a wild living creature previously captured, can be charged with a felony offense. Penal Code 42.092 of the State of Texas law states that a person must have the owner’s consent to kill the animal (exceptions to prosecution are provided in Section 42.092(e)(1)). It is clear that a “stray” dog or cat either has no owner or that the person who shoots the animal did not get the owner’s consent.
(e) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(5) that the animal was discovered on the person's property in the act of or immediately after injuring or killing the person's goats, sheep, cattle, horses, swine, or poultry and that the person killed or injured the animal at the time of this discovery.

No animals in the neighbors yard were harmed... so the neighbor violated the law. 

You cannot just shoot a dog for just being on your property in Texas. They have clear laws on this. The Deputy said they are not filing charges because the man was defending his property… the cat…. But that is not legal because even though you do have a right to protect you, another, and your property (see Chapter 9 of the Texas penal code) from ANOTHER. "Another" means a person other than the actor. A dog is not "another", so the defense that Chapter 9 of the Penal Code offers does not work in this case. 

They were also saying he was dangerous, but according to their laws, in this situation, Toby was not a dangerous dog. 

"Dangerous dog" means a dog that: 
(A) makes an unprovoked attack on a person that causes bodily injury and occurs in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own; or 
(B) commits unprovoked acts in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own and those acts cause a person to reasonably believe that the dog will attack and cause bodily injury to that person. 
Texas - Dangerous Dogs or Coyotes that Attack Animals- TX HEALTH & S § 822.013 

This Texas statute provides that a dog or coyote that is attacking, is about to attack, or has recently attacked livestock, domestic animals including (pets), or fowls may be killed by any person witnessing the attack or the attacked animal's owner or a person acting on behalf of the owner if the owner or person has knowledge of the attack. A person who kills a dog or coyote as provided by this section is not liable for damages to the owner, keeper, or person in control of the dog or coyote.

No cats were harmed, no people were harmed, dog was still and relaxed when shot. Shooting the dog was illegal. 

Your deputy stated that he smelled alcohol on the mans breath when he interviewed him. If you are noticeably under the influence in Texas it is not legal to discharge your fire arm. A drunk individual would not be in the correct state of mind to determine whether or not a person or animal was a threat. 

The deputy told the family that they should not pursue justice for Toby as they would be ruining a mans life who made a bad judgement call.

That is unacceptable to all of us. This is America and you should be able to live in your home and be safe. You should not have to live in fear that your neighbor is going to get wasted on a Saturday night and shoot your pets while your children are outside playing. 

We are asking that Wilson County uphold Texas State Law, propperly investigate this case and review necropsy reports. We are demanding justice for Toby. 

Update #22 years ago
Thank you all for the outpouring of support. I am upping the goal AGAIN. Let's show Wilson County we are serious.
Update #12 years ago
Thank you all for the outpouring of support. I am upping the goal. Let's show Wilson County we are serious.
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