Tonawanda News

Local News

September 1, 2011

Family pet stomped to death

TOWN OF TONAWANDA — Police and SPCA investigators are looking for two suspects accused of stomping a 10-pound Chihuahua to death.

The incident took place at approximately 12:45 p.m. on Tuesday in front of a Dupont Avenue residence near the corner of Two Mile Creek Road.

Devin Leonard, 14, said was sitting on his grandmother’s porch watching her  4-year-old long-haired Chihuahua, Gizmo, as two individuals described as teenagers walked by and began harassing the animal.

“My grandmother was at work and nobody was in the house,” Leonard said. “Gizmo was going to the bathroom on the front lawn.”

At first, the individuals began teasing the dog, at which point he began to growl and then bark, Leonard said.

“Then the first guy kicked him but didn’t kick him hard,” he said. “Gizmo sort of turned his head then the same one brought his foot down on him.”

The two suspects, described as a white and a black male, then fled the scene and were followed by Leonard.

“They started running and I chased them,” he said. “The black kid punched me in the stomach and they kept going. They were too fast for me, I couldn’t catch them.

“I went back home and picked Gizmo up and he was in shock. You barely could see his chest going out. I put my ear to his chest and listened to his heartbeat and it just got slower and slower. Then he died.”

Leonard said he then ran in the house and called the police.

Devin’s grandmother, Pam Leonard said she’s only owned the dog for about six months after getting him through a family acquaintance.

“He always told me when it was time to go to bed because he slept with me,” she said, after mentioning that she has lived in the same house for close to 20 years without incident.

Gina Browning, director of public relations for the SPCA, said her agency is still investigating the incident.

“He was dead when he arrived here,” she said. “He did die of multiple skull fractures that would be in line with blunt force. This one’s bad.”

Investigators are hearing varying reports on the incident including questionable details on whether the animal was confined as well as the age of the suspect, according to Browning.

“We’ve heard about six different stories,” she said. “It’s consistent that they are young. Some say they’re teenager some say they’re young adults.”

If the suspects are found, Browning said they could be facing felony charges.

“Felony charges are tricky,” she said. “But at least New York state is one of the few that allows for felony charges. A misdemeanor is punishable by a year in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.”

The SPCA is encouraging community members to come forward with any details they may have regarding the animal’s death or the suspects.

“In an investigation like this I don’t know if I can stress enough the importance of community members coming forward,” Browning said. “Somebody knows what happened. This doesn’t only harm the animal it harms the neighbors. If people are willing to do this to animals what will they do to people?”

If you have any information of the incident call:  692-3514 or 875-7360.

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