An Ohio man is facing charges after killing two dogs for no other reason other than it was the first day of hunting season and dammit, he “just wanted to kill something.”
Pete Byers said that his two dogs, Emmy and Bella, “were my best friends, my buddies , my foot warmers and my companions. I loved those dogs with all my heart.” But when they took off from his property early Monday morning as he was preparing to leave for a business trip, he would never see his beloved pets again.
“I turned around to lock that gate. I turned around my dogs were gone,” Byers said. “And it’s the opening day of gun season so I’m like dying inside. I’m scared to death.”
Byers spent hours chasing after them. Sadly, in the end, it was all in vain because Emmy and Bella had been slaughtered to satisfy one man’s sickening bloodlust.
After calling everyone he could think of and searching the areas he though they may have been, Byers got a call from a friend who said that he thought he may have “just heard a dog get shot.” Byers went to look for his dogs in the area his friend suggested, and that is when he first came across the man he would later learn had brutally killed his pets.
“A hunter emerged from the woods who I now know was Michael Chedester,” Byers said. “I noticed his hands positioned near his pockets as though he was armed, and he appeared nervous.”
His friend arrived to help Byers with the search and “Mr. Chedester stated that he also had heard the same thing, ‘a dog being shot,’ and pointed vaguely into the woods. He acted nervous. Greg and I resumed the search in the direction he indicated.”
Byers continued his search for hours with no sign of his dogs. “Continuing my search brought me closer and closer to Mr. Chedester’s tree stand,” he said.
“On the way I spotted two sets of dog footprints I recognized as belonging to a two dogs close in size to Emmy and Bella: a broad, rounded foot with stubby nail marks running side-by-side with and a skinny longer dog foot with long and deep nail marks. I began tracking them carefully.”
“As I neared the stand, I heard a ladder clinking and looked up to see Mr. Chedester coming out of his tree stand. As he approached me, he kept his hands as though he was carrying a pistol and I was openly carrying my sidearm, as I had been all day. I then noticed a pile of freshly moved brush, and smelled what I was fairly confident was blood. As he approached me nervously, I asked him directly and desperately, ‘Did you shoot my dogs? Look. If you shot them fuckin’ tell me so I can at least give em a proper burial. I just wanna bury them proper, please… did you shoot them?’ He leaned back a little, looked down at me and said, ‘Yes, I shot them.”
Byers was shocked. “I asked him why he’d done it,” Byers said. “He said, ‘Because I wanted to kill something.’ Point blank. ‘and they were in my woods,'” Chedester added, “almost an afterthought.” Even more abhorrent, Byers would later discover that Chedester had kept Emmy and Bella’s collars as trophies.
Belmont County Prosecutor Dan Fry said Chedester “will be charged Wednesday with two counts of knowingly causing serious physical harm to a companion animal.” If convicted, Chedester could end up behind bars for up to two years. Thanks to the Goddard Law, which went into effect on September 13, the charges Chedester is facing are felonies. This newly enacted law “makes it a fifth-degree felony to knowingly cause serious physical harm to a companion animal, such as pets or domestic creatures.”
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