Griffin man charged with brutally killing and decapitating his sister’s pit bull


Police say a Griffin man is in custody on charges related to the horrifically brutal killing and decapitation of his sister’s pit bull.

Griffin Police Department Office Matthew Kerlin on Feb. 6 responded to a call reporting animal cruelty.

Kerlin spoke with Courtney Smith, who said she had left her pit bull with her brother, Harvey Willis Smith Jr., when she travelled to New York in November 2019.

When she returned in March of 2021, she was unaware of what occurred to her dog.

Courtney Smith said her brother later gave her his old cell phone to use until she could get a new one, and that when she looked through photos left on his phone, she discovered a series of images and a video of her brother killing a dog.

She described the photos depicting the bloody rear seat of a vehicle, her brother holding a severed dog’s head and a video of her brother holding the dog’s skull and moving its jaws as if it was talking.

Courtney Smith said that when she questioned her brother about the photos and video, he allegedly said, jokingly, that the dog was hers and said he had, “Put the dog out of its misery.”

Authorities say photos and video obtained in the investigation substantiate the incident as Courtney Smith described, and say the incident was consistent with the residence located at 1015 Lake Ave.

GPD Investigator Rich Powell contacted Harvey Smith regarding a separate case, and during that interview, officials say Powell questioned him about the dog.
Investigators allege Harvey Smith said he did not kill the dog but that he had “eaten the dog” after it was struck by a car.

Officials say the photographs and video evidence does not support his account of the incident.

Harvey Willis Smith Jr. has been arrested and warrants have been obtained for aggravated cruelty to animals.

“This is one of the most disturbing Animal Cruelty cases I have seen in 30 plus years,” said GPD Chief Mike Yates. “I cannot comprehend the mind of an individual who would commit such acts on an innocent and defenseless animal.”

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