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Trial starts for Joliet man in dog shooting case

By Associated Press
Published On: Apr 09 2013 09:57:12 AM MDT
Updated On: Apr 09 2013 09:57:39 AM MDT
court gavel
RED LODGE, Mont. -

The trial has started for a Joliet man authorities say shot at law enforcement officers and killed 54 sled dogs with a shotgun.
    
Attorneys made opening statements Monday in the trial of 52-year-old Peter Clifton Northcutt.
    
Northcutt is charged with three counts of felony assault on a peace officer and one count of aggravated animal cruelty.
    
Carbon County sheriff's deputies were called to Northcutt's property July 21, 2011, after his brother reported the man might be suicidal.
    
Northcutt is accused of firing a shotgun at responding officers, who were not injured, and then of walking among the kennels on the property and shooting the dogs.
    
Northcutt's attorney says Northcutt didn't shoot at police but was testing the firearm while humanely killing the kennel full of dogs.