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Area law enforcement canines strangled after chasing suspects

Posted: 5:59 PM, Sep 03, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-03 19:57:31-04

The search for more than a dozen suspected undocumented immigrants took a deadly turn, when two dogs trained to find missing people were killed.

The Refugio County Sheriff’s Office received a call from the Aransas County Sheriff’s Office requesting backup from their canine unit on Saturday.

Law enforcement officers were chasing a group of more than a dozen undocumented immigrants who bailed out of a truck and hid in heavy brush north of Holiday Beach.

“We get surrounding counties asking for our dogs weekly,” Refugio County Sheriff Pinky Gonzales said.

The dogs are trained by reserve deputies and live on a ranch in Refugio. They often search for missing elderly people and children.

“These were female dogs that they used. They’re non-violent, just like a pet dog. All they do is track,” Gonzales said.

Events apparently turned violent when the dogs zeroed in one one of the immigrants in the brush, Gonzales said.

“He said, ‘If you want me, come get me,’ and when they went in there to get him they saw that those two dogs had been strangled,” Gonzales said.

The two dogs had been choked to death with their own collars.

“There was no need to kill those dogs,” Gonzales said. “Those dogs weren’t biting him. They weren’t barking at him. He was just an evil guy.”

At least six of the people who bailed out of the truck were captured. One of them is believed to be the person who killed the dogs. That individual, as well as five others, are being held by the Customs and Immigration Department.