Man charged with killing neighbor’s dog says its a case of self defense

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Michael Coulter says he did not commit a crime but is a man who protected his son and his own two dogs when he shot and killed a neighbor's loose dog.

"There are two sides to every story and when the facts come out, they'll speak for themselves," Coulter, of East Moline, said after a brief court appearance in Rock Island Friday afternoon. When asked if this was a case of self defense, Coulter replied. "Absolutely."

Defense attorney Aaron Dyer said he believes the evidence will show that Coulter, a former military police officer, acted appropriately when he fired one shot at the Austrailian Shepard pit mix. He says the dog showed up in Coulter's yard, and allegedly attacked his own two Shih Tzus and son when he tried to intervene.

"Mr. Coulter came out after hearing cries from his son, and was being protective of his family, he's trying to defend his house, his own dogs. He's a dog owner. This wasn't just a case of an individual going out and randomly shooting a dog for the fun of it," Dyer said.

"I think the facts are going to show Mr. Coulter was protecting his family, his property and his own animals against an aggressive animal."

Coulter, 44, is now charged with aggravated cruelty to an animal and reckless discharge of a firearm, both felonies.

The dog's owner, Virginia Torres says she doesn't understand why the animal was shot 140 feet away from Coulter's yard. Coulter's attorney says the dog was still a threat at the time.

"I think the evidence is going to show this animal was still in attack mode", said Dyer.

Coulter and his attorney say more facts will come out in court, and believe he will be vindicated.

"In this case, my client is a dog owner. He's a dog lover. He didn't have a choice", said Dyer.

"It's extremely hard on not just myself, but my family and everybody involved", Coulter said.