Patrick Spires, 31, of Aiken, S.C. was found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison after an Aiken County jury convicted him of cruelty to a Bloodhound tracking police dog and resisting arrest. Spires cut off the dog’s GPS collar before stabbing him.
The K-9, named Duke, is an Aiken Bloodhound Tracking Team police K-9 and was stabbed while he was in pursuit of Spires, who was fleeing from law enforcement.
Members of the Tracking Team testified that in December 2011 law-enforcement officers were following Duke as he tracked Spires and another defendant trying to escape after allegedly stealing an 18-wheeler truck in Georgia and driving it to South Carolina.
Bloodhounds on the Tracking Team wear GPS collars, which allowed the officers to find their wounded K-9 comrade, Duke, at the sight of the attack where he was stabbed. Deputy Felton Craig testified that Spires had cut Duke’s collar off and inflicted the wounds, reports Mike Gellatly of the Aiken Standard.
After the team members tended to Duke, another tracking dog picked up the scent and continued the search, leading officers to Spires and his accomplice.
Assistant Solicitor Kevin Molony used the GPS map to show the jury the exact route taken by Duke and the second dog to where the two suspects were hiding in the attic of a barn in Beech Island. Spires started fighting with one of the Deputies, causing the officer to fall from the attic and suffer injuries, the Aiken Standard reported.
Circuit Court Judge Thomas W. Cooper sentenced Spires on January 15, to five years in prison on the charge of cruelty to a police dog for stabbing Duke and one year for resisting arrest, with sentences to run concurrently.
The Aiken Bloodhound Tracking Team is a joint operation comprised of 15 deputies and officers from the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, Aiken Department of Public Safety and North Augusta Department of Public Safety, according to Aiken County Sheriff’s Office.
The group maintains six bloodhounds, which are used to search for wanted and missing persons. Duke recovered from the stab wounds and returned to his duties as a member of the team.