Thief robs Newport home, kills family's dog

12:22 AM, Dec 6, 2012   |    comments
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A Cocke County family wants justice after a burglar killed their 1-year-old terrier mix during a break-in.

The incident occurred November 28 in Newport. The Laforce family had come home from work and school to find their backdoor had been kicked down.

An unknown culprit took $6,500 worth of possessions, including guns, medication and money.

But, that was least of the family's concerns.

"I leaned over to touch him and he was already stiff," said Newport mother Tonia Laforce.

The family had found their 11-pound dog, Simon, dead on the floor of their kitchen next to the refrigerator. He was laying in a pool of his own blood with broken ribs.

"I can't even imagine to get inside of the head of someone who could do that to an animal," Laforce said.

According to Newport Police Chief Maurice Shults, there are a few leads on the case and the department's detective, James Holt, has conducted a few interviews. He told 10News this case is not unprecedented in the area.

"We've had a lot of community input into this thing, people trying to help us solve this burglary," he said. "It's just a disappointment someone would take the time to kill a dog right in the middle of a burglary."

According to Laforce, Simon was a gift to her 8-year-old daughter, Carly.

"She always wanted a dog and Simon was one of the greatest gifts that she got," Laforce said.

She has yet to tell Carly the exact way Simon died.

"It's been very hard for her to lose her best buddy," she said.

Facebook Group: Justice For Simon 

In the meantime, Laforce has searched diligently for answers. She's created a Facebook page to solicit tips from the public as to who may have committed the crime.

Some in Cocke County are even offering up rewards to solve the case.

Robert Brannon, an animal cruelty officer with Friends of the Animal Shelter in Cocke County, plans to take out to 4 to 5 ads in the Newport Plain Talk that will advertise a reward of $1,000 to the man or woman that offers a credible tip that leads to an arrest. His number is 423-613-4004.

The Newport Police Department also ask that if you have any tips on the case, contact Det. James Holt at 423-623-5556.

Shults says the person or people responsible for the crime could be charged with aggravated burglary, theft over $1,000 and animal cruelty.

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