ARANSAS COUNTY, Texas – Two highly-trained canines used to help locate people with dementia and Alzheimer’s were found strangled to death in Texas Saturday.
The Aransas County Sheriff’s Office posted the incident to its Facebook page saying the dogs were highly valued and trained to locate people with Dementia and Alzheimer’s that wandered away from their homes.
The sheriff’s office said the two dogs were used to assist Aransas and Refugio County Deputies, DPS troopers, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Wardens in locating a large group of people who reportedly fled a crash scene on foot.
Deputies said they attempted to stop a black Ford truck that appeared to be coming to a stop, but the truck took off at a high rate of speed hitting a fence line and going eastbound on Highway 35. The truck then came to a stop and deputies said the occupants fled the scene on foot into a heavily brushed area.
The canine unit was then deployed, specifically because the dogs were trained to be non-aggressive, to ensure the occupants’ safety. Deputies said the dogs, handlers on horseback, and multiple officers were canvassing the area when they found three individuals on foot after making contact with U.S. Border Patrol.
The sheriff’s office said Border Patrol verified the immigration status of the people was questionable. Three more people were then found, two of which surrendered quickly, and the third yelled “if you want me, come and get me,” in Spanish, according to deputies.
At the same time, the two trained canines were found strangled to death nearby. The sheriff’s office said the collars carrying their trackers had been twisted around their necks causing their deaths.
A sixth individual that was found was believed to be responsible for the canine deaths and was detained and interviewed by U.S. Border Patrol officials. All six people, five men, and one woman were transported to the Aransas County Detention Center and picked up by U.S. Customs and Immigration Officials, according to the sheriff’s office.
Deputies said one of the individuals was seen with a tattoo showing known Cartel ties. “While most “Bail Outs” end with detentions after exhaustive searches they do not show this level of aggressive behavior,” the sheriff’s office wrote in the Facebook post.
The sheriff’s office also said while every effort is taken to ensure people’s safety, not all people show that same level of respect for the law or even highly trained animals.
“It was an afternoon that left me wondering how many lives of Dementia and Alzheimer’s individuals in the future may have been put at risk with the deaths of these two Canines.”