Charges against man who shot dogs to save marriage going to grand jury

Watchful Eye
Photo byWVRJ / Franklin County District Court

After finding Terry Eugene Michel guilty on two counts of improperly disposing of a an animal, a Franklin County judge forwarded three more charges to a grand jury to decide whether Michel will face a trial for them.

The Ferrum man is accused of killing his two Labrador retrievers, Caleb and Colby, in February then reporting them stolen.

After the dogs were discovered on the side of the road, Michel confessed, according to multiple news sources.

Franklin County investigator Steven McFarling testified that Michel confessed to killing his dogs by shooting them in the back of the head with a 9 mm, Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. He claimed he did it to save his marriage.

Michel appeared in court yesterday and pled no contest to the improper disposal charges, 10 News reported.

That leaves the fate of the charges of filing a false police report and two felony counts of animal cruelty to be determined.

Michel’s attorney unsuccessfully attempted to have the two animal cruelty charges reduced to misdemeanors, arguing that felony animal cruelty requires an animal to be maimed or tortured but the dogs were shot with a single bullet.

The judge was not moved by that argument.

Michel remains in Western Virginia Regional Jail without bond, which is where he has been since his arrest in February.

At Michel’s bond hearing, his wife, Rhonda Michel, said she was fearful of her safety if her husband were to be granted bond, The Franklin News-Post reported.


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