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Man Allegedly Filmed Himself Beheading Dog, Playing with Severed Head in ‘One of the Most Disturbing’ Cases Top Cop Has Seen

Harvey Willis Smith (Griffin Police Dept.)

Harvey Willis Smith.  (Image via the Griffin Police Dept.)

Authorities in Georgia arrested a man accused of brutally killing his sister’s pit bull while she was away, beheading the animal, then filming himself playing with its severed head. Harvey Willis Smith Jr. was taken into custody last month and charged with one count of aggravated felony animal cruelty, police said in a press release.

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

According to the Griffin Police Department, Courtney Smith on Feb. 6 called authorities to report evidence of what she believed to be animal cruelty. GPD Officer Mathew Kerlin responded to the call and met with Courtney, who allegedly showed him a series of horrific photos and videos she claimed showed her brother killing her dog then mutilating its remains.

Courtney allegedly told police that in November 2019 she temporarily moved to New York and left her dog with her brother Harvey Smith. When Courtney returned to Georgia more than a year later, in March 2021, she said her brother no longer had her dog and she was not sure what happened to the animal.

Sometime after returning to Georgia, Courtney said she needed to get a new phone, and her brother gave her an old cell phone to use in the meantime. While in possession of her brother’s old phone, Courtney said she made a grisly discovery while scrolling through his pictures and videos, several of which allegedly showed him “slaying the dog,” police said.

“Courtney Smith described them showing the rear seat of a vehicle with blood, her brother holding a severed dog’s head, and a video of her brother holding the dog’s skull and moving its jaw as if it was talking,” the press release states.

The police say Courtney then confronted her brother about what happened to her pit bull. He allegedly admitted that the dog in the photo and videos was Courtney’s dog, the police continued. He even allegedly said that he had “put the dog out of its misery” in what Courtney described as a “joking manner.”

Investigators obtained the photos and videos from Courtney, which they said indeed showed the incidents she described.  The authorities said the evidence revealed that the incidents took place at a residence located in the 1000 block of Lake Avenue.

A detective reached out to Smith in connection with a separate case, but asked him about his sister’s dog during the interview. Smith allegedly told the detective that he did not kill the dog. Instead, the police say he claiming that the animal was hit by a car. Smith allegedly added that after being struck be the car, he had “eaten the dog,” per police. However, investigators said that the photographic and video evidence reviewed “did not support his account of the incident.”

Police arrested Smith on Feb. 15. He is currently being held by the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office without bond, jail records show.

[image via Spalding County Sheriff’s Office]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.