A New York hunter is claiming that he mistook a Connecticut family's German Sheperd dogs for coyotes before he killed and skinned them.

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According to a report by the Associated Press, 61-year-old Michael Konschak of Carmel, New York is facing criminal charges after he killed and skinned two pet German Sheperd dogs. Konschak and his attorney claim that he made a mistake and believed the dogs to be coyotes, which are legal to hunt and trap in Connecticut.

New York Hunter Kills Dog Coyote
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The dogs reportedly escaped from their family's yard on November 18 before they came across Konschak while he was hunting deer nearby. When he saw the dogs, he believed that they were coyotes and shot and killed them before skinning them for their pelts.

David Applegate, the attorney prosecuting the case, argued that Konschak's story had inconsistencies and questioned how the hunter couldn't have known before skinning the dogs that they were not, in fact, coyotes.

New York Hunter Kills Dog Coyote
Yuriy Bogdanov/Unsplash
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The owners, Erin Caviola and her family, spent weeks searching for the dogs, posting flyers around town and searching the area. According to the report, the heads of the dogs were removed as well and are still missing. Caviola said "We live with the emotional pain as we think about what they felt in their final moments lying besides each other dying."

Konschak is facing charges including tampering with evidence, forgery, interfering with a law enforcement officer and hunting-related violations. Animal rights advocates have lobbied to have animal cruelty added to the charges Konschak faces, and Applegate said that more charges are possible as the investigation proceeds.

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