Newport man charged with burglarizing house, killing dog

Newport man charged with burglarizing house, killing dog

Chris Haney (Source: Newport Police Department) Chris Haney (Source: Newport Police Department)

6 News Reporter

NEWPORT (WATE) - A Newport man is facing charges of aggravated burglary, aggravated animal cruelty and theft over $1,000 after his arrest in January.

Chris Haney, 22, is accused of burglarizing a home on 8th Street in Newport last November.

Police say during the burglary the homeowner's dog, Simon, was stomped to death.

News of Haney's arrest was a relief to Simon's owner, Tonia LaForce.

"I'm very excited. This is good news. It's given me some closure to what's happened to me and my family," LaForce said. "There won't be complete closure until the penalties have been served completely."

When 6 News spoke with her on Thursday, LaForce hadn't gotten a chance to tell her kids, but she knew they would be glad to hear it as well.

"It's made our lives more skeptical on everything," she said. "We've been fearful to be in our home, so we've got an alarm system now, and we're more wary of what we do."

Newport Police Chief Maurice Shults says the community and social media helped with the case.

"The community was great," Shults said. "They pulled together immediately and we had people coming in and saying they had been out talking to people, trying to get information, had several good leads. Detective Holt just followed up really well."

The LaForce family has a new dog now.

"He's a little rescue dog. He's had a little bit of a rough start," she said. "He had been left outside and not treated very well, and now he's got a castle with his little princess Carly, and he is living it up."

But LaForce says they still miss Simon.

Haney was also charged with theft from a home in the Clifton Heights Community of Newport.

Haney was served with warrants for his arrest on January 31 and was released on a $25,000 bond.

He waived a preliminary hearing. The Cocke County Grand Jury will likely hear the case at its next session.

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