This sad story goes back more then 3 years to April 4, 2004, when three very sick and twisted men thought it would be amusing to have some fun with a tiny, 2-lb, 16 yr old Yorkshire Terrier. Their ‘fun’ consisted of one holding the tiny dog like a football and another kicking it among other things. The poor dog flew through the air, landing approximately 30 feet away, his tiny body rolling under a parked vehicle. The men laughed about it then took off. All of this while Gizmo’s owner, Jelani Lewis, watched in horror!
The man accused of actually kicking Gizmo, Chad Daniel Crawford, then 23, was arrested and charged with animal cruelty and felony vandalism at the time. The man accused of holding the dog, Michael Lee Davis, then 21, was also arrested several months later. Both men were indicted on charges of intentional killing of an animal and aggravated cruelty to animals in September of 2004. The third man had never been publicly identified by authorities and had not been charged with any crime.
Chad Daniel Crawford & Michael Lee Davis
In May of 2004, Gozmo’s owners, Jelani Lewis and wife, Jessica, filed a $200K civil suit against the three men accused as well as Nashboro Village Apartments, where they lived.
”Gizmo was more than just a pet,” Jelani Lewis said. ”He wasn’t just an animal. Myself and Jessica, we took care of Gizmo, and that was our kid. I can’t describe the emptiness I feel, and I don’t know that it will be replaced.”
In the civil case, Jelani Lewis said the suit is partly designed to get the attention of state lawmakers and encourage them to pass tougher laws against those who attack animals.
Asked about the money, Jelani Lewis said, ”that’s not even important. What is important is that all three individuals are prosecuted to the fullest and then getting new laws that this state should have on record.”
This case received such widespead coverage that Crawford’s and Davis’ lawyers requested it to be moved and even worried for their clients’ safety.
Lawyers for a man accused of killing a small dog by kicking it like a football are worried that their client cannot get a fair trial in Nashville.
News stories about the death of Gizmo, a 16-year-old Yorkshire terrier, saturated local media, and emotions have run so high that animal lovers have threatened their client with bodily harm, the attorneys say.
There’s no doubt about this as the numbers show;
- Emails received by the Lewis’ – 600
- Pageviews on the story – 168,135, which is 30-40 times great than a top-story would usually receive on Tennessean.com
- Messages posted on the Tennessean Forum about Gizmo’s death – 335
And now, with the civil suit having been settled in 2006, finally a trial date has been set for the criminal charges. On October 22, 2007, Chad Crawford and Michael Lee Davis, charged with the intentional killing of an animal and aggravated cruelty to an animal will face up to their crimes and we hope that justice will finally be found for Gizmo.
NOTE – there are many details which I did not go into but you can look at the sources listed below for much more indepth information.
- A Dog’s Worst Enemy
- 2-Pound Dog Used for Deadly Place Kick
- Dog killed when kicked like football
- Gizmo owners seek $200,000 in suit over dog’s death
- Gizmo case too emotional to try here, defense says
- Gizmo by the numbers
- Trial date set in the case of the place-kicked dog, Gizmo
- Pet-Abuse.com – Dog Kicked Like Football – Nashville, TN
I’d like to give a special thanks to my friend Caroline, for her tenacity in helping to dig up many of the background stories and sources on this horrendous story, thanks Caroline!! 🙂