A man is facing charges after killing and skinning what he thought were two coyotes – only to discover they were a family’s pet German Shepherds.
Michael Konschak, 61, of Carmel, New York, said in court in Danbury, Connecticut, that he was ashamed of what he did in November.
“Please know that I never intended to harm the victim’s pet that morning,” he said.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, police said Konzak killed the dogs with a crossbow after they escaped from the garden of the Caviola home on Nov. 18.
He had been hunting deer nearby and said he killed what he believed to be two coyotes — which is legal in Connecticut.
Erin Caviola said she and her family had been searching for their 10-year-old pet dog — a male named Cimo and a pair — for weeks after they went missing. A bitch named Lieben.
A bear is thought to have torn down part of the six-foot fence that encloses her property, allowing the dogs to escape.
Ms Caviola said she did not learn of the dogs’ fate until nearly a month later, when she discovered their photos had been shared with taxidermists, who were asked to preserve them.
She said the family was heartbroken, adding: “We live in emotional pain as we think about how they felt as they lay dead beside each other in their final moments.”
She said the dog’s head had been removed, but it was still missing.
Konschak’s attorney, Brian Romano, said his client peeled off what he believed to be coyotes and that the dogs’ deaths were purely accidental.
Konschak was arrested in February on charges including tampering with evidence, forgery, interfering with law enforcement officers and hunting-related offenses.
Animal rights advocates call for more fees
Animal rights advocates, some of whom were heard in court, called for the animal cruelty allegations to be added to the list.
Danbury State Attorney David Applegate, who said more charges were likely, told the court that Conshak’s account was inconsistent and asked how he couldn’t see the animals were dogs before skinning them.
Konschak, a respiratory therapist and Air Force veteran, is due to appear in court again next month.