Elizabethton man charged with animal cruelty

By Kathy Helms-Hughes

STAR STAFF
khughes@starhq.com

   An Elizabethton man has been charged with two counts of animal cruelty among other charges after allegedly having sexual relations with the family's pet dog.
   Elizabethton Police Department Ptl. Tonya Scott was dispatched Thursday morning to 406 E. Mill St. regarding violation of an order of protection. According to the report, Cleveland Eugene Norris, 40, same address, also had been arrested Tuesday on the same charge.
   According to the incident report, Norris's wife told the officer Thursday that her husband had entered the residence and demanded his clothing. When she asked him to leave, he refused, then began cursing and threatening her. A witness to the incident corroborated Mrs. Norris's account.
   Norris was taken into custody and after reportedly making statements of wishing to harm himself, was transported by Ptl. Jack Ramsey to Sycamore Shoals Hospital Emergency Room for evaluation.
   Mrs. Norris also advised the officer that Norris possibly had sexually assaulted their dog, stating that when she arrived home, she found a large amount of dog hair on the living room floor, a half-empty bottle of lotion covered in dog hair, a towel with unknown excrement and fecal matter, and a T-shirt covered with the same substances.
   Mrs. Norris said the dog had been chained in the back yard and could not have freed itself. She also told the officer that the animal's hindquarters were red, inflamed and swollen and that the animal would not move or walk. Ptl. Scott observed the dog on the back stoop and noted that it appeared to be injured.
   After contacting the District Attorney's office, the officer was advised to contact the Elizabethton-Carter County Animal Rescue to attempt to gain evidence in reference to possible prosecution.
   While Norris was being transported to Carter County Jail by Ptl. Ramsey, the officer heard him talking to himself and asked him to repeat what he had said. Norris told him, "If she wants me dead, she's done it now." After questioning him about whether he wanted to commit suicide, Norris told the officer, "I already have," and later stated that he had taken six to nine nerve pills and that it would be over soon.
   Ptl. Ramsey then diverted from the sheriff's department to the Emergency Room, where Norris was evaluated by Crisis Response and admitted to Lakeshore Hospital.
   Ramsey then obtained a subpoena for Norris's drug and alcohol screens, which indicated that he had no drugs in his system.
   Norris has been charged with two counts of animal cruelty (sodomy to a dog), filing a false report, and violation of an order of protection. He was being held Monday in Carter County Jail under $3,500 bond.