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Boys kill Elizabethton TN police dog

The dog, Yoris, was a Belgian malinois and was a two-year veteran of the Elizabethton Police Department. He was euthanized on Sunday after suffering numerous injuries, including knife stabbings.

Yoris was the partner of K-9 officer Shane Darling.

Officer Darling said Yoris was a very well trained dog and also a very sociable dog.   “I have four kids and Yoris loved to play with them. They would get down and wrestle and play.  He was a part of our family. He was not an aggressive dog at all, he was very playful.”

Darling said Yoris had never shown any aggression toward anyone.  Even in making several civil apprehensions of fleeing suspects, Darling said Yoris never bit them.

He said Yoris was trusted so much that he was taken to several area elementary and high schools and churches, where he visited with the students as they learned how dogs found illegal narcotics and helped catch suspects.

Darling said Yoris was also very good at his job.  “He had over a dozen arrests on narcotics,” Darling said. Yoris also ended a recent pursuit out of Johnson County by catching two suspects who abandoned vehicles in an attempt to flee on foot.  He said he accomplished all of these without biting anyone.

Darling said he and Yoris were also called out at 2 a.m. recently to assist in a federal case where a gun had been thrown out on Tenn. Highway 67.

“Within 2 minutes Yoris located the gun,” Darling said.  After two years of service to the department, Darling said Yoris was just starting to get into his prime.

He said Yoris will be very greatly missed by him and his family. “He was a great dog. He enjoyed being with kids and he loved his job.”

Darling was in Florida over the weekend on family business when Yoris somehow got out of his kennel. The dog apparently wandered onto an open grassy field off Sunrise Drive that was part of the Elizabethton Municipal Airport property.

According to a report by the Carter County Sheriff’s Department, there were three 16-year-old boys on the field, playing a game they called “air soft,” when the dog came onto the field.  “Air Soft” is a game like paint ball, but using plastic pellets shot from air rifles.

The boys told the sheriff’s department that the dog started biting two of them. The third boy ran over to help his friends. He said they had to stab the dog several times in their attempt to get away from the dog.  A Deputy said each of the three boys was injured.  He said two of the boys had small injuries due to dog bites.  The third boy was transported to Sycamore Shoals by ambulance because of his injuries.  The mother of the third boy said her son suffered bites to his lower back, spine and buttocks, but the worst bite was to his left forearm.

She said the dog jumped on one of the boy’s back.  Her son came to the aid of his friend and tried to get the dog off.  That is when the dog turned on him, according to the mother.  The other boys then came to his aid and began stabbing the dog.

In the midst of the struggle, she said the boys accidentally stabbed her son twice, once in the forehead and once in the forearm.

A nearby resident who witnessed the incident gave a different story.  David Ward said he looked out the window  he saw the boys in the field.

“It looked like all of them had rifles,” Ward said. He said when he first saw the dog, he thought it appeared friendly.  “I couldn’t see the dog too well because the boys were in front of him but it looked like he was kind of wagging his tail,” Ward said.

Curious, Ward went to get his binoculars.

When he came back, he said the scene had turned violent.  “I saw them beating the dog. They were stomping it and kicking it real hard.”

Ward called 9-1-1.  He said the boys left the dog and he went to check on it.  “It was still alive but it was lying in a pool of its own blood.  It was bleeding profusely from the head and neck.  It was panting heavily, trying to catch its breath.”

The circumstances surrounding the dog’s death remain cloudy and an investigation is continuing. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating the incident.

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