It's a sick crime against the defenseless that's hitting a nerve with animal lovers.
Three teenagers are in custody, suspected of stomping on a 32-year-old man's beloved little dog to death.
The attack happened on February 11, at around 1:30 p.m. in the area of South Winchester Boulevard and Colonial Way in San Jose.
Preliminary investigations reveal two 15-year-olds and a 16-year-old attacked the man, thinking he was a rival gang member and then stomped on his little 4-pound mini Yorkshire named "Shadow."
Animal Care and Services said the dog may have been protecting its owner and was attacked in the process.
Two of the suspects were already in police custody on unrelated charges, and a third was booked into Santa Clara Juvenile Hall.
Police referred the case to the District Attorney's Office, including a review for animal cruelty charges.