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Testimony: Man shot, killed dog after father fought with owner
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Jose Almendarez is sworn in Tuesday during the trial of Matthew Motes in Hall County Superior Court. Almendarez was a neighbor to both the victim and the defendant in the case. - photo by Erin O. Smith

After his father was bitten by a mastiff, a Gainesville man allegedly shot a pink child’s rifle multiple times, killing the animal, according to statements Tuesday in Superior Court.

Matthew Steven Motes appeared for trial Tuesday on charges of aggravated animal cruelty and aggravated assault.

He is accused of shooting Charles Todd Speer’s presa canario mastiff July 26, 2015, in Gainesville, after Speer and Matthew’s father Dewayne Motes fought that day.

Assistant District Attorney Anna Fowler said Dewayne Motes was on Benson Drive, complaining that Speer’s dog was making too much noise.

Fowler said both of these men were “highly intoxicated.”

“Dewayne slaps him in the face, and I told him, ‘If you take a swing at my dog, I’m going to take a swing at you,’” Speer said on the stand about his dog.

The two men fought, Fowler said, and the dog injured Dewayne Motes on his wrist and leg. Speer then left to go to a convenience store.

“While Todd’s going to the store, Dewayne goes to find his two adult sons, Matthew and Nicholas,” Fowler said.

Matthew Motes’ attorney Clinton Teston said his client does not deny shooting the dog.

“Matthew wants to go find out: Did this dog just attack him out of nowhere? Is the dog dangerous? Should we call animal control? Do we need to call the police? Or did my dad, who’s drunk, kind of cause this bite?” Teston said.

When the Motes trio returned to Speer’s home, the elder Motes began arguing with Speer, according to the attorneys’ opening statements.

Teston then claimed Speer was trying to let the dog out of the car, and Teston’s client then allegedly told Speer he would shoot if the man opened the car door.

Teston asked the jury to return a not guilty verdict on the basis of justification and self-defense.

The jury will return this morning to hear closing arguments and jury instructions.

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