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Hunter Accused of Killing, Skinning 2 German Shepherds He Thought Were Coyotes: 'Never My Intent'



Hunter Accused of Killing, Skinning 2 German Shepherds He Thought Were Coyotes: 'Never My Intent'

The dogs' family posted flyers of their missing pets for weeks after they both went missing​

By Brandon Livesay
Published on March 2, 2023 11:12 AM

Photos of the Caviola family dogs Cimo, right, and Lieben, left, on a poster outside Danbury Superior Court on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, in Danbury, Conn.

A hunter who allegedly killed a family's two pet German Shepherds with a crossbow and then skinned them told authorities he thought they were coyotes.

Michael Konschak faced criminal charges at the Danbury Superior Court in Connecticut on Wednesday, where he said he was ashamed of what he did, the Associated Press reported.

"Please know that it was never my intent that morning to harm the victims' pets," Konschak, 61, told the court. His lawyer, Brian Romano, said it was a "hunting accident," according to local outlet NewsTimes.

The pets' owners, who searched for their missing dogs for weeks without knowledge of what had happened to them, were in court, along with animal rights activists.


The two German Shepherds — who were both 10 years old and named Lieben and Cimo — escaped from their yard in Ridgefield on Nov. 18, 2021, after a fence was damaged.

In court, it was said that Konschak was hunting deer nearby and he killed the two dogs, believing them to be coyotes. Hunting and trapping the coyotes is legal in Connecticut.

The family posted flyers in the area for weeks and organized searches using social media to try and find Lieben and Cimo. But it was nearly a month after they went missing before a family member was sent a photo of the dead animals, who had allegedly been taken to a professional taxidermist by Konschak for tanning of their pelts, NBC Connecticut reported.

Konschak was then arrested in February, and after an investigation, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection charged him with tampering with evidence, forgery, interfering with a law enforcement officer and other hunting violations. Danbury State's Attorney David R. Applegate said the incident was still under investigation and more charges are possible, per the AP. Activists have pushed for animal cruelty charges to be made.

Erin Caviola said her family is heartbroken over what happened to their two pets. "We live with the emotional pain as we think about what they felt in their final moments lying beside each other dying," she said.

Caviola added that the dogs' heads were removed and are still unaccounted for, according to the AP.

Applegate asserted that there were inconsistencies in Konschak's version of events and his claims that he thought the dogs were coyotes, even after he had killed them.

He told the court "these were very clearly domesticated animals" with Cimo neutered and Lieben having a hysterectomy scar, according to NewsTimes. Applegate also alleged the hunter was told by a taxidermist the animals were not coyotes, they were dogs.

Konschak is due back in court in April.