"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 says an hours-long search began. He enlisted the help of friends and neighbors and used four-wheelers, all the while calling for his pets.
Byers says hunters reported hearing shots and a dog yelp, but eventually a trail of tracks allegedly led to Michael Chedester's tree stand some 800 yards away.
“I asked him, did you kill my dogs man, I want to know so I can bury them. Meanwhile he keeps eyeing this new brush pile. That’s new and fresh," Byers said. “Then he kind of looks down his nose at me and says ‘yeah, I killed your dogs. You want me to buy you two new ones? I'll buy you two new dogs."
|The owner of the dogs took a photo with Chedester for|
proof that he was out there with him.
“I asked him where are they and he looks at me like I’m confused and he points right there to my brush pile. And there's Emmy's paw, sticking out from the logs,” Byers said.
Byers notified authorities and a Belmont County sheriff deputy was called to interview Byers and the suspect, Michael Chedester (aka Mike Chedester).
“All that was taken, put in a very thorough report and forwarded to the prosecuting attorney," said Sheriff Dave Lucas.
PETE BYERS, THE OWNER OF THE DOGS:
I would like to thank Mike Chedester of St. Clairsville, for murdering the only things in this world which I had left to love. I have had really tough time with life since Kat left me this July. Those dogs he killed where my best friends,
my buddys , my foot warmers and my companions. I loved those dogs with all my heart. I don't know how you didn't hear me screaming for them from every hilltop in the valley, especially when you where 300 yards from one place I yelled. I think worst of all Mike, you kept their collars as a trophy. I know the temptation is very strong, but please stop DOXing him.
#JusticeforEmmyandBella should come through legal means, not illegal ones
Today is a sad day. Today my brother's dogs, Bella and Emmy, died. They got out and went running, and a man who was hunting deer that day saw them. He hadn't gotten any deer, and admitted he knew they were dogs... But as he told the Sheriff, he just "wanted to kill something". He then got out of his deer stand and removed their collars to keep for trophies. Trophies. His name is Michael A. Chedester and he works for AEP Ohio.
The offenses stem from the newly-imposed Goddard's Law, which only went into effect in Ohio on September 13 of this year. The law makes it a fifth degree felony to knowingly cause serious physical harm to a companion animal, such as pets or domestic creatures.
Meanwhile, the Byers family and friends are remembering five-year-old Emmy, a Weimaraner and six-year-old Bella, a Doberman.
“They were just really good friends, unconditional love all the time," Byers said.
Those two felony charges won't officially be filed until Wednesday morning. Chedester will then be summoned to court for a hearing.
If convicted, Chedester could be sentenced to the maximum of 12 months on each count or 24 months consecutively.
Petition: "Justice for Emmy and Bella -- Public Demands Maximum Sentence for Mike Chedester"
(WTOV - Nov 29, 2016)