Updated: Jun 8
- Connecticut, USA -
A family whose two dogs were murdered and skinned by 62-years-old hunter MICHAEL REINHOLD KONSCHAK (pictured) rightfully wants animal cruelty charges lodged against him in addition to the other charges he is facing in connection with this case.
It all started on November 18, 2022, when two beautiful 9-year-old Czech Shepherds named Cimo, a male, and Lieben a female, escaped through the damaged backyard fence of their family’s home in Ridgefield. Reportedly, a bear possibly tore down part of the fence.
Their family, the Caviolas, spent weeks looking for them, put up fliers, and reached out to social media for assistance.
Eyewitness News reports that on December 12, 2022, Ms. Erin Caviola received a call from someone who pointed the finger at KONSCHAK. Ms. Caviola also received distressing pictures showing Cimo and Lieben dead. The Voiceless Victims had also been beheaded.
KONSCHAK, a respiratory therapist who served in the U.S. Air Force, claimed that he mistook the dogs for coyotes. He told authorities that after he shot one of them with a crossbow, the other one came at him aggressively.
KONSCHAK went on to say that he then took the deceased animals to his home and skinned them. Eyewitness News reports that according to arrest warrant, KONSCHAK said the outcome of the skinning was “unsatisfactory” and discarded the pelts in the trash. “He said he threw the rest of the animals' remains in the woods around where he killed them,” reports Eyewitness News.
On February 8, 2023, Police with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection arrested KONSCHAK, of Carmel, Putnam County, NY, on charges including tampering with evidence, forgery, interfering with a law enforcement officer, and hunting-related violations.
On Wednesday, March 1, 2023, in Danbury Superior Court KONSCHAK’s lawyer, Brian Romano, argued that Cimo and Lieben’s deaths were an “hunting accident” and applied for a special probation program that could have resulted in the charges being erased. Romano requested accelerated rehabilitation, a pre-trial probation program that, if successfully completed, allows the case to be dismissed.
Danbury State’s Attorney David Applegate objected to the accelerated rehabilitation and he rightfully pointed out that KONSCHAK didn’t come forward until he’d been caught and that his version of the facts was filled with inconsistencies.
According to Bronx News, Applegate said: “When he approached those dogs, and I understand very quickly he cut those dogs up, he would have noticed that the male dog had been neutered, and he would have noticed that the female dog had a large hysterectomy scar, which would show anyone who knows anything about wildlife or has ever owned a pet that these weren't coyotes. Coyotes don't get surgery in the wild. They were clearly domestic animals. And at that point, if he'd done the right thing, he would've saved the family a massive amount of grief, but that's not what he did.” Applegate rightfully accused KONSCHAK of trying to “preserve himself rather than do the right thing.”
Bronx News reports that during the hearing KONSCHAK said: “This was simply an honest case of mistaken identity based on their physical appearance and their pursuit of two deer that morning, as well as lack of collars or identifying tags. I made a reasonable judgement call based on these observations.”
Judge Robin Pavia ruled the allegations were too serious and rejected KONSCHAK’s lawyer’s request.
As reported by Bronx News, KONSCHAK had been hunting in that area “with verbal permission from the landowner for almost 30 years.” And yet, he could not tell apart a dog from a coyote!
KONSCHAK was released on a $15,000 bond and a court date was set for April 12, 2023, in Danbury Superior Court.
On April 12, 2023, Supervisory Assistant State's Attorney Deborah Mabbet read into the record that the case was continued to May 23, 2023. Judge Charles M. Stango explained that attorneys in the case were gathering more information on the case before proceeding.
Online records show that KONSCHAK is due back in court on July 11, 2023.
Voice For Us Disclaimer: This story is sourced from official news outlets. Links included.
Details may be removed or additional information may be provided in future should such sources report an update.
Cimo and Lieben’s picture shared from Facebook Group Justice For Cimo and Lieben
KONSCHAK’s picture is a still image of a video published by Eyewitness News