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DANBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — A New York man accused of brutally killing and mutilating two dogs in Ridgefield, Connecticut, went before a judge Wednesday in Danbury Superior Court.

David and Erin Caviola were devastated when they discovered their German Shepherds escaped the yard after a black bear tore down their fence in November.

Lieben, a 10-year-old female, and Cimo, a 10-year-old male, were not only family to the Caviolas but were loved by their entire neighborhood. Friends, neighbors, and Ridgefield Animal Control officials spent weeks searching for the missing dogs when they disappeared.

The Caviolas received a tip that their dogs had been killed by a hunter from New York named Michael Konschak.

Court records showed, Konschak got in touch with a taxidermist and said he wanted work done on the bodies of two coyotes he killed. He sent photographs to the taxidermist, who recognized the animals as German Shepherds, not coyotes.

The taxidermist then researched missing German Shepherds in the area and discovered they were the missing pets of the Caviola family.

According to court records, Konschak confessed to killing the German Shepherds with a crossbow while hunting deer. In statements made in court, Konschak claimed he did not believe the animals were dogs but eastern coyotes.

Police charged Konschak with multiple offenses, including tampering with evidence, forgery, interfering with an officer, and multiple hunting violations.

As of Thursday morning, more than 90,000 people have signed a change.org petition started by Erin Caviola.

The Caviola family is speaking out, hoping another family never has to endure this pain.

“This is horrific, it has been absolutely devastating, and we don’t understand how this can happen. Nothing that we would want any family to go through, which is really why we would like to get this out,” Erin Caviola said.

A judge denied Konscak’s motion for accelerated rehabilitation, a probationary program allowing charges to be dropped on Wednesday. The prosecutor is now moving forward with the charges.

“The murders and skinning and beheading has taken a large emotional toll on our family, the violence of Lieben and Cimo’s death and mutilation has caused unimaginable trauma and suffering and exhaustion and has left a black hole and cloud over are usually happy and loving family,” Erin Caviola said.

The Caviolas said their dogs were intelligent, affectionate, and an absolute joy.

News 8 contacted Konschak for comment, but he did not respond.