Nolan Doxsee says he was trying to protect his two little dogs, when a pit bull mix he’d never seen before attacked him outside his family’s home in East Moline.
“It came at me, bearing its teeth, growling and barking.The dog was jumping at my face and that’s when I put my forearm up and that’s when it bit me”, Doxsee testified at a preliminary hearing in Rock Island County on Tuesday. “I couldn’t fend him off”, he said.
His stepfather, Michael Coulter. 44, is now charged with two felonies for shooting the dog to death. On the witness stand under questioning by his defense attorney, Coulter admitted firing one shot at the animal.
“I heard Nolan yell, ‘Help pit bull’, and I saw Nolan defending himself against a huge pit bull so I ran and got my twelve gauge shotgun”, Coulter testified. He says he had never seen the dog before.
Prosecutors say Coulter took the law into his own hands and endangered other neighbors. They say the dog had already left Coulter’s property and the threat had passed when he was shot.
Coulter today told the judge he fired one shot while standing in his yard, and admitted the dog was off his property and in the next yard, but turning toward him and in an “aggressive” stance and still growling.
“He was protecting his home and his family”, said defense attorney Dan Dalton. “I think by law when an animal attacks an animal or family member there’s a statute that says you can kill the animal.”
Dalton also says Doxsee, Coulter’s stepson who was bitten, had to undergo a series of rabies shots because the dog’s immunizations were not up to date.
Dalton also told the judge in open court that the dog had bitten a postal worker in the past. No documentation or testimony was offered to confirm the statement.
The dog’s name was Ycee, pronounced Icy, and its owner had moved to Atlanta and was living with her mother, Virginia Torres.
“Why did he have to shoot him? 140 feet away? He was almost home”, Torres said. “Why did he drag the body across the street, to his house, and hide the body? Why was he hiding? He knew he had done wrong”, Torres said.
Police say Coulter initially denied knowing anything about the dog, but after they followed the blood trail to his home, and smelled a “strong odor” of bleach in his garage, he admitted dumping the body in a creek in Mercer County.
Coulter is charged with aggravated cruelty to animals and reckless discharge of a firearm. His attorney asked Judge Frank Fuhr to dismiss the case, but the judge ruled there is enough probable cause to move the case forward toward trial and let a jury decide.
“When it comes to picking 12 people, I think at the end of the day they’re going to say he’s justified and not guilty of a crime”, Dalton said.