Mike Chedester, a self-proclaimed hunter and outdoorsman from Saint Clair, Ohio, has gotten himself into hot water for shooting his neighbor’s two dogs in the woods. He kept their collars as trophies, and bragged about shooting them on Facebook. After thousands of posts excoriating him, this vile man was arrested and has lost his job.
Pete Byers was preparing to set out on a work trip in Pittsburgh with his cherished companions, Emmy and Bella, when they vanished.
“I turned around to lock that gate. I turned around my dogs were gone,” he told WTOV9. “And it’s the opening day of gun season so I’m like dying inside. I’m scared to death.”
He recruited some neighbors and friends and embarked on a search that lasted for hours. They scoured the woods on ATVs, calling the girls’ names. Byers says that hunters in the area said they heard shots and a dog yelping. A trail of paw prints led them to Chedester’s tree stand some 800 yards away.
While the search was on, possibly within earshot, Chedester sat in his tree stand and watched the dogs. When they were within range, he shot them, took their collars, and attempted to cover up their bodies in the branches and leaves near a fallen tree. He posted his despicable deed online, inciting outrage from decent human beings everywhere.
“I asked him, ‘Did you kill my dogs, man? I want to know so I can bury them.’” Byers said. “Meanwhile he keeps eyeing this new brush pile. That’s new and fresh. 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.’
“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.”
A Belmont County sheriff’s deputy was called in to investigate the incident and interviewed the two men on the spot. Chedester was not cuffed at this point, but after an overwhelming amount of public outcry, he was arrested.
Prosecutor Dan Fry says Chedester will be slapped with two felony charges, and it’s thanks to Goddard’s Law, which was implemented just months ago. The law deems it a fifth degree felony to knowingly cause physical harm to a companion animal.
The Byers family is now mourning the loss of their Doberman and Weimaraner, who were about as close as they come.
“They were just really good friends, unconditional love all the time,” Byers said.
Chedester has been terminated from his job at American Electric Power (AEP), who do not want customers to think they condone this sort of behavior. The company issued a public statement last week:
“AEP expects the highest level of conduct from our employees, both on the job and outside of work. We are saddened by the situation that unfolded this week involving an off-duty AEP Ohio employee and the death of two dogs. This individual is no longer employed by AEP.”
The dog killer had a Facebook page called “Mike Chedester, Hunter and Outdoorsman,” on which he boasted about not having shot anything else that day, and needing to get a kill. The page appears to have since been hacked. His original posts about killing the girls have been removed, and recent posts are purposely inflammatory and claim ties to the group Anonymous.
Chedester is currently facing up to 12 months in prison and a $5,000 fine for each dog (24 months and $10,000 in total). A hearing has been scheduled for Monday, December 12th at 8:30 am. At least two petitions have been started (found here and here) asking that he be prosecuted to the fullest extent, however, the court is not allowing them to be submitted.
If you would like to show your support for Bella and Emmy and follow along as the case proceeds, like their Facebook page. A public event has been created to invite supporters to gather peacefully outside the courthouse that morning. If people are not able to make it, they are asked to please send a message to the judge.
JUDGE ALBERT DAVIES
400 Imperial Plaza
Phone: 1-740-676-4490 Eastern Division.
Case #16 CR A 00736
Michael Andrew Chedester
Saint Clairsville, Ohio