BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio — Belmont County prosecutors plan to file charges under Goddard’s Law against a hunter who allegedly shot a man’s two beloved dogs.
Pete Byers, the owner of the dogs named Bella and Emmy, posted about the situation on Monday — and it quickly spread on social media.
In his Facebook post, which contained graphic photos of his deceased dogs and where he found them, Byers said in part: “Those dogs he killed were my best friends, my buddies, my foot warmers and my companions. I loved those dogs with all my heart.”
Byers told WTOV that he was getting ready to head to Pittsburgh with his dogs for a work trip when they disappeared Monday.
“I turned around to lock that gate. I turned around, my dogs were gone,” Byers told WTOV. “And it’s the opening day of gun season so I’m like dying inside. I’m scared to death.”
A search was launched, and friends and neighbors spent hours looking for the dogs. Hunters told the search group that they’d heard shots and a dog yelping.
WTOV reports the group eventually found Michael Chedester, 59, of St. Clairsville, who had a tree stand in the area.
Byers said he asked Chedester if he killed the dogs. He said the hunter admitted to shooting them and offered to “buy him two new ones.”
Byers said he found his dogs in a brush pile near the tree stand after spotting Emmy’s paw sticking out from under the logs.
Sheriff’s deputies investigated what happened, and Belmont County Prosecutor Dan Fry says two charges of prohibitions concerning companion animals will be filed against Chedester.
If convicted of the charges under the recently-passed Goddard’s Law, Chedester could face 12 months in jail for each charges.