Colby and Caleb Image from: Rhonda Michel
Colby and Caleb | Image from: Rhonda Michel

FRANKLIN COUNTY, VIRGINIA—A man was found guilty of killing two of his own dogs in Franklin County.

The man accused of killing two dogs after first claiming that they had been abducted was found guilty on both counts of animal cruelty.

Authorities arrested Terry Michel for the deaths of the dogs and for lying to police about his offenses back in February.

He is facing a maximum punishment of 5 years on each charge, and his sentencing is November 2, 2023.

According to the Deputies, the dogs Colby and Caleb were shot to death. The dogs were later found on the side of the road a week after Michael had reported them stolen.

Man found guilty of killing two dogs image by Franklin County Sheriff's Office
Man found guilty of killing two dogs image by Franklin County Sheriff's Office

During the first day of the trial last Wednesday, prosecutors showed the jury a piece of the interrogation video where Michael confessed to killing his two dogs.

The defense stated that Michel suffered from ‘dissociation’ at the moment because of his Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The defense called criminal psychologist Sharon Kelley, who said Michel was diagnosed with PTSD. She said that people suffering from PTSD are more likely to dissociate from situations, which is what Michel told her happened when he killed the dogs.

According to the prosecutors, Michel told the investigators that he killed the dogs to save his marriage since the pets were separating him and his wife.

After the guilty verdict, Rhonda Michel, his wife at the time, said that this had been a heartbreaking experience.

Anita Scott, the Director of the Franklin County Humane Society, helped with the search after Michel told the police that his dogs had been stolen. According to her, the case had been tough since the start.

“We were trying very hard to find who had taken these two dogs,” Scott added. “To find them dead on the side of the road and then to find out that Terry Michel killed them, it’s just been emotional from the beginning.”

Michel could serve up to ten years behind bars or five years for each dog.

“To know that what their last moments were and the fear that they had in those last moments,” Scott stated. “Absolutely, we are so grateful for this verdict.”


Toby loves spending time with his dog and two cats. They are the best stress reliever and affectionate pets, especially his Belgian Malinois, Shawie. Shawie's favorite activity is running or jogging. But their go-to spot is to chill and swim around a nearby river.