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Michael Konschak: US Hunter Shoots & Skins Two Family Dogs Thinking They Are Coyotes

A New York man is facing criminal charges after he shot two beloved German Shephard dogs with a crossbow and skinned them - he claims he thought the family pets were coyotes.

The animals were shot and killed with a crossbow before being skinned.
The animals were shot and killed with a crossbow before being skinned.

61-year-old Michael Konschak, from Carmel, New York, appeared in court in Danbury, Connecticut, he expressed his regret over the incident and said he was ashamed of what he had done in November last year.

He told the court: "Please know that it was never my intent that morning to harm the victims' pets."

Mr Konschak had been hunting deer nearby when the two dogs escaped from the Caviola family's garden on November 18.

The hunter shot and killed both of the dogs with his crossbow, thinking they were coyotes - something which is legal in Connecticut.

Erin Caviola recalled how she and her family had spent weeks searching for the dogs. Cimo and Lieben, after they went missing.

It was said that the dogs were able to escape after a bear tore down part of the six-foot fence that enclosed the property.

Michael Konschak in court (picture AP)
Michael Konschak in court (picture AP)

Ms Caviola said it took almost a month before she found out about the fate of her beloved dogs when photos of them were shared with a taxidermist who had been asked to preserve them.

She added: "We live with the emotional pain as we think about what they felt in their final moments lying beside each other dying."

She said the dogs' heads had been removed and remained missing.

Brian Romano, Mr Konschak's lawyer, said his client had skinned the animals for their pelts, believing they were coyotes, he added that the dogs' deaths were an accident.

The accused was arrested in February on charges including forgery, interfering with a law enforcement officer, tampering with evidence, and hunting-related violations.

Several animal rights advocates attended the court hearing, calling for animal cruelty charges to be added to the list.

Danbury State Attorney David Applegate said more charges against Konschak are possible, telling the court there were inconsistencies in his story and asking how he could not see the animals were dogs before skinning them.

Mr Konschak, an air force veteran and respiratory therapist, is due to appear back in court next month.

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