ANNISTON, AL (WBRC) - The trial of Anniston restaurant owner David Mogil on animal cruelty charges began Thursday in a courtroom that was noticeably crowded, especially on the defendant's side.
That fact didn't escape the prosecutor, Calhoun County assistant district attorney Randy Moeller.
"Unfortunately, we don't have any family or friends for the dog here," Moeller told the jury.
Witnesses say they saw Dave Mogil slinging a hose as a dog yelped in pain. His ex-girlfriend said he was irate and told her not to cooperate with police.
But Mogil's attorney told jurors that the witnesses may not have seen what they thought.
The dog in question was Coco Lilly, a Cocker Spaniel belonging to his then-girlfriend, Allison Johnson. She was among the prosecution witnesses testifying on the first day.
Mogil is charged with aggravated animal cruelty and is accused of beating the dog with a hose before the dog jumped from a second floor balcony.
Mogil was owner at the time of the two locations of the Damn Yankees Oyster Bar restaurant, and his apartment, where the November 10, 2014 incident occurred, was located atop the Anniston location on Noble Street.
That restaurant has since closed and been replaced by a different restaurant serving mostly different cuisine.
Johnson had moved into Mogil's apartment with her three pets two weeks earlier. She said Lil, as she called her dog, was used to being an outdoor dog, and had just moved from a rural setting in Alexandria to Mogil's midtown, rooftop apartment, along with another dog and a cat.
Johnson testified she got a call that morning shortly after reporting for work at a nearby service department of a new car dealership saying she needed to come home, but no reason was given.
She said when she drove up, she found Lil lying in the alley, bleeding from her mouth and having uncharacteristically "used the bathroom on herself."
Johnson told jurors her priority was to get the dog to its usual vet, Southside Animal Clinic in the next county, Etowah County. But when she tried to take the dog up the stairs, "she wouldn't budge."
She said Mogil was at the top of the stair, yelling "Do not let that ******* dog in my house!"
She also says Mogil told her not to talk to the police, and when the officers tried to ask her questions, he kept saying, "Do not answer! Do not answer! Do not answer!"
Jurors first heard from three witnesses who were electrical contractors working next door to Damn Yankees where Rack and Roll Billiards was being renovated.
All three testified they saw Mogil slinging a hose, "hollering and cussing," and heard a dog yelping in pain. One of them even compared it to the sound of a dogfight.
The industrial rubber hose was evidence in the trial and defense attorney Bill Broome actually slung it against wood a few times during the trial.
The witnesses also insisted the yelps were of a dog in pain.
"It sounded like it was getting hurt," one witness said. "If you've got a dog you know what it sounds like," another witness added.
The workers said they yelled to him, "Dude, what the hell?"
"We're construction workers, we're going to say we want," said one of the workers, Jamie Wright, owner of Grady Electric.
Two of the workers say they saw the dog go over the ledge and fall two stories to the pavement. One testified the dog appeared to strike something, perhaps a picnic table, on the way down.
Later the workers testified Mogil came over to Rack and Roll and confronted Wright, saying "I did not hit that dog!"
One of the workers said no one had accused him of doing that before he said that. But the workers say Mogil went on to say he hit the dog because it bit him.
The veterinarian who treated the dog, Ginger Bailey, testified the dog had an abrasion and was bleeding from its chin but showed no other injuries.
But she also said had there been any bruising from the water hose, it would have shown up some 12 to 24 hours later and she wasn't around the dog at that point.
Bailey testified she prescribed some anti-inflammatory and antibiotics for the dog.
Ross Cash, a security guard for nearby Regions Bank, testified he had seen the dog before that day and even spoke to her when she poked her head above the balcony ledge.
He said he could see from the bank's security monitors that the dog was walking around on the ledge and immediately ran out of the bank to try to save her.
Cash testified he came out just as the dog leapt. He testified when the dog saw Mogil come through the door again, she jumped.
"She was petrified," Cash said of the dog after he saw her in the alley. Cash said the dog actually looked unconscious except for slightly moving her back feet, until Allison Johnson drove up. Then she ran to her owner.
"She was very happy to see me," Johnson testified.
During opening statements, defense attorney Bill Broome laid out a different series of events, suggesting it was all part of a chaotic morning in the Mogil household. Broome said Mogil was trying to call repair people to fix a burned stove while also taking the two dogs outside to use the bathroom.
Lil, according to Broome, wasn't adapting to her new home as well as the cat and other dog. He says the dog refused to go outside, so when Mogil picked her up, she bit him. And he says Mogil spanked her one time. That, he says, is the only time Mogil ever hit the dog.
Broome says Mogil, a "neat freak," wanted to clean up behind the dogs and also suggested Mogil was beating the hose against the patio because the water inside the hose was frozen.
The other witnesses did testify the weather was below freezing that November morning, but one witness also said he saw water come out of the hose when Mogil was slinging it.
Court recessed for lunch during Johnson's testimony.
After lunch, the judge, jury and attorneys toured the balcony where the alleged abuse occurred. Court recessed for the day around 3 p.m.