Couple Convicted Of Tying Child To Stake And Shooting Dog Get Probation

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Dana and Joshua Gabbard

WASHINGTON COUNTY (KFSM) – A Fayetteville couple convicted of tying a child to a stake and shooting a dog were sentenced to six years of probation on March 12, according to court documents.

Joshua and Dana Gabbard were sentenced to 72 months probation after pleading guilty to aggravated cruelty to animals and second-degree endangering of a minor, court records state.

Police were sent out to a residence at 1548 N. Leverett Ave. on Oct. 25, 2014, after Gabbard had called into a suicide hotline to say she was feeling homicidal toward her neighbor, according to an arrest warrant. Gabbard also admitted to shooting and killing her dog, Gizmo, the warrant states.

When police arrived, they spoke with Joshua Gabbard, who admitted he had put Gizmo “out of his misery” due to the abuse suffered from Dana Gabbard, according to the warrant.

Officers found the dog in a nearby dumpster with “apparent trauma to its head and muzzle,” the warrant states.

The dog’s body was turned over to a veterinarian for a necropsy, according to the warrant.

Police immediately seized a dachshund named Nevaeh from the residence, and they later found out that dog had also been shot with a BB gun, the warrant states.

While at the residence, the Department of Human Services requested that Dana Gabbard’s four-year-old son be placed in the custody of his grandmother over concerns of environmental neglect at the home, according to the warrant. The living conditions were described as “horrid,” the warrant states.

Dana Gabbard was taken to a nearby hospital by Central EMS and later gave a statement to police. She admitted to slamming Gizmo down outside, whipping him with a braided leather belt and shooting him point blank with a BB gun, according to the warrant.

The dog suffered until it was killed by Joshua Gabbard and another man named Corey Douthitt, the warrant states.

Gizmo’s body was taken to the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission in Little Rock for a thorough examination. While there, a veterinarian found evidence of trauma throughout the dog’s body and removed two BBs from Gizmo’s corpse, according to the warrant.

On Nov. 4, 2014, the four-year-old son was interviewed by investigators, and he told them he witnessed abuse to the dog by Dana Gabbard, the warrant states. He also said he saw Joshua Gabbard and Douthitt kill the dog behind the residence, according to the warrant.

He also told investigators that his parents would place a collar and leash around his neck connected to a stake in the ground outside, the warrant states.

Later, DHS confirmed to investigators that Joshua and Dana Gabbard tested positive for marijuana, according to the warrant. Joshua Gabbard also tested positive for methamphetamine, according to the warrant.

On Nov. 12, 2014, Joshua Gabbard was interviewed at the Fayetteville Police Department. While there, he admitted to breaking Gizmo’s neck, striking him over the head with a shovel and putting the dead body in a nearby dumpster, the warrant states.

He also said Douthitt had stomped on Gizmo’s head and hit the dog with a shovel, according to the warrant.

On Nov. 18, 2014, police interviewed Douthitt. He told officers that he and Joshua Gabbard took the dog outside to kill him, the warrant states. Douthitt told police that Joshua Gabbard tried to smother Gizmo and then snapped his neck, according to the warrant. Despite having his neck snapped, Gizmo was still alive, Douthitt said.

Douthitt said he advised they hit Gizmo in the head with a shovel because that “would be more quiet than shooting it,” the warrant states.

Joshua Gabbard hit Gizmo over the head with the shovel three or four times until the handle broke, according to the warrant.

Douthitt said he went inside to find a box to put the dog in but noticed the four-year-old son had been watching both of them from the living room window, the warrant states.

An arrest warrant was later issued for Dana Gabbard, and she was taken into custody on Dec. 3, 2014, according to jail records.


  • Debbie Sherman Whaley

    My only hope is that that four year old child gets lots of counseling for all of the trauma that he went through! Do not EVER give him back to those parents, EVER! They are incredibly sick, evil people! As for the neighbor who also abused that poor dog, he wasn’t trying to put the dog out of his misery! He added to that poor dog’s abuse and tortured that animal in front of the four year old child! May they ALL get what they deserve and go to prison for a very, very long time. Disgusting people!!!!!

  • Ann Parmenter

    I hope the child is never returned to his parents. and that he gets counseling for all of this. these two should have been given a long jail term instead of being turned loose to do more harm and maybe kill someone.

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