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A Man Reported Someone Stole His Two Dogs From A Park. Now, He's Sentenced to 15 Months for Killing Them.

Man Reported Dogs Stolen. Now He is Sentenced for Killing Them.
Source: Franklin County Sheriff's Office; Franklin County Humane Society

Terry Eugene Michel was sentenced to 15 months in jail for killing his dogs, who he first reported as stolen.

Nov. 25 2023, Published 10:01 a.m. ET

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A Virginia man was sentenced after he killed his own two dogs but reported they ran away from him and were stolen by men in a park, according to authorities.

On Feb. 7, investigators from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office began looking into a pet theft from Waid Park in Rocky Mount, officials said.

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The owner of the dogs, Terry Eugene Michel, 58, "reported that the dogs had broken away from him and were picked up... by men in an unknown vehicle," the sheriff's office said.

On Feb. 14, the two black labs were found deceased in Franklin County.

The dogs were taken to the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech and necropsies determined the dogs' causes of death to be gunshot wounds.

During the investigation, Michel gave numerous versions of what took place, all of which officials determined to be false.

On Feb. 16, Michel admitted to shooting both of the dogs two days earlier and then disposing of their carcasses where they were found in Franklin County, the sheriff's office said.

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Michel was arrested and charged with two counts of felony animal cruelty, and one count of filing a false police report. He was also given two summons for improper disposal of a companion animal.

He was being held without bond.

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In October 2023, a jury found Michel guilty on two counts of animal cruelty, authorities said. During the trial, video showed Michel admitting to killing the dogs to help save his marriage to his wife, who still divorced him in April 2023, according to The Roanoke Times.

Michel was recently sentenced by Franklin County Circuit Court Judge Timothy W. Allen to 15 months in a state correctional facility for killing the dogs, authorities said.

He will get credit for time served.

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