Two dogs were killed over the weekend while helping Aransas and Refugio County sheriff’s deputies track a group of people believed to have entered the country illegally.
The dogs were strangled with their collars, according to authorities.
On Saturday, the dogs, who were often used to track elderly with Alzheimer’s and dementia who wander away from their homes, were sent into a brushy area north of Holiday Beach in Aransas County after a group of people fled from a truck during a police chase, according to a press release by the Aransas County Sheriff’s Office.
Refugio County offered the dogs to help track down the suspects. The dogs are non-aggressive and are not bite trained, according to deputies.
Officials on horseback located three of the people who bailed out and detained them after Border Patrol officials verified that their immigration status was questionable.
As the search continued, authorities said, three other people were located in a large area of brush. Two were quickly taken into custody, but a third allegedly taunted officers by saying “if you want me, come and get me,” and ran off into the brush.
Authorities went after the man and that’s when they found the two dogs, in that same area, dead from apparent strangulation.
“The collars carrying trackers had been twisted tightly about their necks causing their deaths,” a post by the sheriff’s office said.
Authorities believe the person who verbally taunted them is the person that killed the dogs, according to the post.
Six people in total were detained and interviewed by U.S. Border Patrol Officials. Police say the undocumented immigrants came from Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico.
All six individuals, five males and one female were transported to the Aransas County Detention Center where they were picked up by U.S. Customs and Immigration Officials.
Local authorities say bailouts do not usually end with such aggressive behavior.
“While most ‘bail outs’ end with detentions after exhaustive searches they do not show this level of aggressive behavior,” Aransas County Sheriff Bill Mills said. “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.”