Connecticut family traumatised by sport hunter’s alleged shooting, beheading, skinning of their two dogs

NEWS AND OPINION: This is a story which is almost from a parallel universe. The story of a sport hunter living in Putnam County who has been named as Mike Konschak. At the moment these are allegations. It is alleged that Mike Konschak shot the two German Shepherd dogs, Cimo and Lieben, living with the family of Erin Caviola when the dogs escaped a six-foot tall fenced yard after a bear had torn down a part of the fence.

Cimo and Lieben
Cimo and Lieben. Photo: Erin Caviola

Caviola says that her dogs gave chase and were allegedly shot by Mike Konschak who was apparently out sport hunting coyotes. Caviola says that her dogs don’t look like coyotes as they don’t have the colouring of a coyote and neither is there size similar to that of a coyote. They were clearly domestic dogs.

They were killed on November 18, 2022, a matter of hours after they went missing. The killing took place off Topcrest Lane. The “murder” of these dog took place not far from an elementary school and the backyards of other properties.

Caviola is absolutely clear that the killer is Mike Konschak. She also alleges that he forged his permission to hunt on private property in the area and that he is from New York.

Konschak also allegedly beheaded and skinned the dogs and wanted a taxidermist to tan the skins. The taxidermist refused.

“Cimo and Lieben were both shot to death, skinned, beheaded, taken to taxidermists (who turned them away), and eventually had their remains scattered throughout various locations in Connecticut and New York State.” – Erin Caviola on

Having been identified, initially Konschak applied for what is called accelerated rehabilitation (AR). It’s a rehabilitation programme conducted before any trial which lets offenders without a criminal record have their charges dropped provided they finished the rehabilitation programme.

The family and friends naturally want justice. They don’t want to see Konschak get off lightly with an AR. They want to see him accountable for his cruel acts. And indeed, they are horrendously cruel.

They started a petition on the website to ensure that Konschak faced justice as they see it.

At the time of writing this, the petition has received almost 80,000 signatures. The target is 150,000. On the website Erin Caviola has published her impact statement in full and that of her teenage son. A small part is published here.

“Their murder, skinning, and beheading has taken a very large emotional toll on our family. The violence of Cimo and Lieben’s death and mutilation has caused unimaginable trauma, suffering, exhaustion and has left a black cloud over our usually happy and loving family.”

“This black cloud has remained over our family as we try to rationalize what would make someone do this to our dogs. Instead of talking about our days or happy memories, the conversation in our house is stressful and emotional as we discuss the investigation or the crime or actions we feel should be taken. We are constantly stressed ourselves or watching another family member feel stressed out. We break down retelling the story to friends and family. The killing of Cimo and Lieben has completely taken over our large and happy family and we want our joy back. “

They make difficult reading. There is a link to photographs of the murdered and mutilated dogs. I would not advise anybody to see them. I have not seen them myself and I don’t want to. Images like that can stay in the mind forever.

Her impact statement vividly describes the trauma that the family has suffered; their great loss and their search for their dogs with the help of neighbours and friends. All the while the dogs were dead, beheaded and skinned. It is a horror story.

The petition has been successful in that it is now reported that Mike Konschak will face charges in court at the next hearing which is on April 12, 2023 at Danbury Superior Court.

This means that Konschak’s application for AR has been denied by the court.

We will have to wait and see how this pans out. It appears that Konschak has either verbally or by implication admitted his guilt. Although I don’t know whether he has actually pleaded guilty in a court hearing thus far. I don’t think he has. So, at the moment these are allegations and the man is innocent until proved guilty.

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