A Carmel man accused of killing two German Shepherds belonging to a family in Ridgefield, Conn., has been charged with violating archery hunting regulations and wild game hunting regulations, tampering with evidence, forgery and interfering with an officer, and has been denied an application for accelerated rehabilitation, a diversion program for first-time offenders.
According to the arrest warrant application obtained by NBC Connecticut, Michael Konschak, 61, was allegedly hunting with a crossbow in November when he mistook the dogs for cayotes and killed them, then beheaded them skinned the animals for their pelts.
The Ridgefield animal control officer received reports of the two missing dogs – a 9-year-old female named Lieben and a 9-year-old male named Cimo – when they escaped Nov. 18 from the yard after a bear damaged the chain link fence.
The family searched for two weeks for their dogs, when someone responded to the family’s call for help on social media. However, the news was bad, with the person sending a photo of the dead animals.
Investigation lead to an interview with Konschak, who told investigators that he had been deer hunting on Topcrest Lane, where he had permission to hunt and where he had been hunting for about 30 years, and saw what he thought were cayotes chasing deer, and killed them, reported NBC Connecticut.
Konschak reportedly contacted a professional taxidermist Nov. 18 and said he had two coyotes he wanted to have tanned, and showed up at the studio. Upon seeing the animals, the taxidermist refused to store them. Konschak then beheaded and skinned them himself.
Also during the investigation, a member of the town’s deer management implementation committee said hunting is never allowed in the area of Topcrest Lane because it is close to a school.
According to the arrest warrant application, the owner of the property where Konschak was hunting told police the signature on the private land consent form was not hers, said NBC Connecticut.
The case was turned over to the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, and the state’s attorney’s office is prosecuting it.
Konschak was released on $15,000 bond and appeared in court March 1, when his application for accelerated rehabilitation was denied. He is due to return to court next month.
Erin Caviola, one of the owners of the dogs, said the whole experience has been horrific. “It’s not a normal way for dogs to end their lives and certainty this duo that we had that are the most loving animals,” she said, reported NBC Connecticut.
Regarding Konschak’s arrest, she said: “It gave us hope that this man will never hunt again. It gave us hope that his charges would remain public.”