The hunter in Belmont County, Ohio who shot and killed two dogs appeared in court on Monday and pleaded not guilty to two counts of knowingly causing serious physical harm to companion animals. Just two weeks ago, Michael Chedester, 59, shot his neighbor’s two dogs in the woods and kept their collars as trophies while bragging about the despicable deed on social media.
According to Wtov9News, Chedester’s attorney entered a not guilty plea after having filed a petition with the Belmont County’s Eastern Division Court stating that under Ohio law he had the right to kill animals on his property if they were disturbing the deer during his hunt. He also deposited a “good faith payment” of $2,000 as to the value of the dogs and as property damage. Pete Byers was at the court and feels Chedester had no remorse for what he had done. The judge did not address Chedester’s petition.
Byers, the owner of the two dogs named Bella and Emmy, was just about to leave for work two weeks ago, when the dogs disappeared. Tragically it was the opening day of gun season, and Byers was terrified that something could have happened to his beloved dogs. After an hours-long search of yelling the dogs’ names and with friends using four-wheelers to aid in the search, one of the men reported having heard gun shots and a dog yelping. Byers followed the trail and came up to Chedester and his tree stand.
And there he found five-year-old Emmy, a Weimaraner and six-year-old Bella, a Doberman. Both dogs were dead as their lifeless bodies laid in the brush; their bloodied paws sticking up out of the weeds. Byers called the Belmont County Sheriff’s Department.
Chedester has since been fired from his job at American Electric Power with the company issuing a public statement about the employee’s behavior:
“AEP expects the highest level of conduct from our employees, both on the job and outside of work. We are saddened that unfolded …. and the death of the two dogs. This individual is no longer employed by AEP.”
If found guilty, Chedester faces up to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine for each dog.
(Photos of hunter kills 2 dogs via Facebook)