ST. CLAIRSVILLE -- Belmont County Common Pleas Court Judge John Vavra recently denied a motion filed by an attorney for alleged dog killer Michael Chedester seeking to allow his client to argue he had a right according to Ohio law to shoot the dogs because they were chasing deer on his property.

Chedester, 59, of St. Clairsville, is facing two counts of knowingly causing serious physical harm to a companion animal, fifth-degree felonies, for allegedly shooting and killing Emmy, a 5-year-old Weimaraner, and Bella, a 6-year-old Doberman, who were owned by former Quaker City resident Peter Byers.

The charges were reportedly filed under Goddard's Law that protects companion animals.

The dogs were reportedly chasing deer on Chedester's hunting property near St. Clairsville when he shot them.

In March, Chedester's attorney asked the Belmont County judge to decide if the Ohio law that allows a property owner to shoot dogs chasing animals on his property applies to his client.

The attorney reportedly believed Goddard's Law does not supersede an Ohio Revised Code statute that gives landowners the right to shoot animals chasing other animals on their property.

The Belmont County Prosecuting Attorney's Office said the ORC protects animals such as livestock, but not wild animals, such as the deer being chased by the dogs.

If convicted of the fifth-degree felony charges, Chedester faces up to two years in prison.

Chedester's trial is scheduled for May 4 in the Belmont County Common Pleas Court.