So I am circling back to the topic of horse rescue. Briefly. It is my hope since the media that is interested in horse rescue irregularities now knows how to find their way to Chester County, they will check out what is up with horse rescue. Especially since so many come literally off a track in Pennsylvania.
See this horse photo posted? His name I am told is Wildcat. He has a story posted with his photo. I found it all on Facebook yesterday, and it is quite recent. I will share that too:
Yes it is fugly out there when it comes to horse rescue, and I wish that just one iota of the media attention shown to other types of animals, animal cruelty, and animal rescue would show here. Wildcat ended up with a happy ending of sorts because he ended up thousands of miles away on a farm of a caring woman from Oklahoma….who is still waiting apparently for either Turning for Home through Parx or Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue to pony up the horse’s paperwork and medical records. I can’t make this stuff up, just look for yourselves:
Horses are expensive and when they change hands they have all these things that are supposed to go with them. I am too tired to go into all of it again, but can we leave it as horse rescue seems to me to be a somewhat dirty business? And can we also say around here that these race horses that come off the track via a woman named Barbara Luna and Turning for Home and in turn go to a rescue that isn’t even a non-profit called Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue at 261 Fairview Road in Glenmoore are long overdue with some explaining on Wildcat and other horses placed into rescue? Are there still horses related to this rescue at a place called Lasko Farm in Oxford? After all how else do you explain why some horse lovers/owners are still so upset in Chester County? That photo of Wildcat above is on Facebook in a couple of different places – in once place it cause enough uproar for over 80 comments . These PA “rescues” are even being discussed by a pretty big deal nationally known horse rescue person, and I would not say it is all positive and love, is it?
The dogs in our world have a lot of good people to look after them and fight for them. Horses, not so much. Around these parts they are supposed to have LAPs, but does that do any good? No one can ever seem to answer that question for me.
My final comment this morning is for the dogs. The outpouring of love and support for the Bock family over the loss of their beloved dogs Argus & Fiona is so truly amazing and wonderful…some of the more negative behavior I have heard about associated with this? Not so much. I really don’t dig the idea of strangers taking the nosy pleasure ride through Chester Springs to see “where it happened” or the comments I have seen threatening innocent animals or when I heard about the freak of a woman who stood in the road with a bull horn screaming.
I find this morning’s article in The Daily Local interesting. Especially since West Vincent officials pretty much hid from the media and public for days on this. Are they utterly innocent in this? Only time will tell. Seems to me they were advised to get on the publicity bandwagon. People don’t generally think warm fuzzie bunnies and chickens when it comes to these supervisors do they? I do applaud the Chief of Police for stating flat-out that they freaky vigilante justice has to stop. No civilized person condones that kind of behavior so good for them.
So my better half comes out of the basement today with a box of dolls. I swear you never know what lurks in basements or attics. Anyway they belonged to my late mother in law. Her parents had bought them on trips for her between 1933 and 1939.
If anyone out there recognizes any of the dolls , let me know.
- Punishment AND fines for animal cruelty need to be tougher all the way around. It needs to mean more than an inconvenience
- Pennsylvania as in the Commonwealth needs to recognize companion animals like dogs as more than property- people discussed that a few years ago when trying for stiffer puppy mill laws but I do not recall anything than some stuff getting watered down. I bet Tom Hickey from the state is watching this blog, and I would like him to connect with me.
- Also farm statutes must be updated so there is less “fuzzy” area. My thought is two-fold: protect the dog owners better, but still give farmers recourse. I have not fleshed that thought out anymore than that but in PA we need to remember the importance of farms as they do drive enough of state economy still.
- I believe that municipalities like West Vincent that used to be extremely rural need to be made to look at their zoning more closely. After all, when you get down to it development doesn’t happen without them does it? So it is incumbent upon them to work harder for better relationships between old and new. Also what defines a farmer versus a hobbyist with tax breaks?
- Gun and gaming laws. I do not want this tragedy to be overshadowed and used by a national political debate. My frame of reference is simple: school people on existing laws because one of the things so irresponsible about what happened is the fact a shotgun was discharged like that in what I am told is R2 residential as opposed to land area zoned agricultural and am I wrong in that?
State Senator Andy Dinniman who represents a lot of us and is a huge animal advocate is working on some law having to do with dog owners being able to sue for damages. He says and I quote ” I am drafting a law that would allow pet owners to civilly sue those who harm or kill their pets.” I do not know the specifics other than that but would ask that if some of his staff is watching this blog if they could post specifics as they occur.
I urge you to contact your lawmakers on a state and federal level and ask for change that will protect our dogs better. They are a part of our families not like an ear of corn.
In Chester County to connect with Andy Dinniman:
One North Church Street
West Chester, PA 19380
Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m
In Chester County to bump it up to a Federal level to Congress:
111 East Uwchlan Avenue
Exton, PA 19341
940 West Sproul Road
Springfield, PA 19064
Phone: (610) 690-7323
Fax: (610) 690-7329
I will also comment briefly that in spite of media spin the Facebook page Justice for Argus & Fiona , it was set up with a peaceable goal of true justice. As in through the legal system, including changing laws to better protect dogs.
After all, one of the people who helped set up the Facebook page was Mary Bock, who is a truly lovely and gentle woman who has shown such grace and peace in the face of unbelievable family tragedy. Make no misunderstanding with regard to that page as it is not for deviant purposes and implication is resented. People are banned and comments are removed. Posting and commenting is a privilege, not a right.
However, the unfortunate reality is that in this world two of the most heated topics in the world are issues having to do with children and pets, and this issue involves BOTH.
Below are some media snippets from yesterday afternoon as the region learned the dogs would start to have justice, and did not die in vain. I will comment that I am struggling with the statement Mr. Pilotti is purported to have released about remorse and prayers for the family. Part of me hopes it is true, yet part of me wonders why he simply did not do that before the media and public got news of what happened? Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t he have almost a week in between the actual date of tragedy and media whirlwind to pray and show remorse?
In any event, those of us supporting the Bock family do not support violence. Nor do we support nut jobs that stand outside anyone’s home screaming anything. No matter WHAT has transpired, we as a society cannot swirl downwards into utter lawlessness. More bad acts will not solve any issue.
So I ask all of you to use your energy to speak out for dogs. Get laws changed. And oh yes, no matter what West Vincent says if you live there you have a right to be heard at the Supervisors meeting. They may decline comment, but you have the right to public privilege of the floor or public comment. They do not have to respond, but as elected and appointed officials part of their job is to listen. Just be polite.
I am told that this coming Monday is a normal Supervisors meeting. Monday at 7:30 PM at their Township building 729 St. Matthews Road, Chester Springs, PA 19425
Media has reported that West Vincent has not really been chatting with anyone. I guess “unavailable” and “declining comment” would describe it best? In any event, they provide their township contact information on their website as:
729 St. Matthews Road Chester Springs, PA 19425
Phone: (610) 458-1601 Fax: (610) 458-1603
As always, thanks for stopping by. And to that eternally curious woman who keeps asking a mutual friend about this blog to the point of obsession? Lady, if you have to ask you don’t need to know. Grow up and quit looking for chickenman conspiracies behind every bush and hillock in West Vincent. (No I do not know who chickenman is, nor do I care. Even chickens have First Amendment Rights…)
Face it, you live in warped Mayberry and the sooner you own that the more at ease your mind will be. I know it is hard for some to fathom that I post recipes and discuss politics and local issues, but so be it. Far more interesting than standing in someone’s kitchen telling birthing stories and discussing which mustard goes best with a honey baked ham, yes?
Now personally, I think the Chester County District Attorney’s Office should be thanking all of us for bringing the topic to their attention, and to thank the lawyers not involved who suggested that there was more to be looked at, but I will take gladly these baby steps towards justice as per below press release. Someone said to me the political translation loosely was: West Vincent was hog tied and couldn’t make it go away but even I don’t want to be that mean. – they after all have proven cruelty to chickens, right? (HINT to West Vincent: treat your residents with respect at the upcoming meeting on Monday, they have a right to be heard.)
The charges filed by the DA seem to be animal cruelty and reckless endangerment.
But there is more to do, and laws to be changed. So can we work together on this so Pennsylvania dogs are safe from harm like this?
Please write or Facebook or call your elected officials today. Let them know that we want Justice for Argus & Fiona and other dogs who have suffered needlessly and tragically like and before them.
Prior posts on this blog about Argus & Fiona:
When I posted “the post” almost 48 hours ago now, I hoped this would take off as an issue so this family could have peace and justice, but truthfully this has surpassed my wildest imaginings. Justice for Argus & Fiona has spread far and wide and the Facebook page set up for support by the Bock family’s friends has almost 1500 members and continues to grow. And a petition has begun as well so feel free to sign it!
The outpouring of support is so amazing. From every day people to almost every media outlet that exists regionally, people care about what happens. People who sometimes normally can’t agree on anything have come together with this issue because they want better things to happen then two dogs getting gunned down within twenty minutes (give or take) from when they escaped their home yard for a tragic first and only time.
To be clear, I am not a big fan of West Vincent government. I think they rule oddly over one of the prettiest places in Chester County. And weird and unnecessary things always seem to happen. And for Pete’s sake, elected officials seem to spend an inordinate amount of time worrying and spreading nonsense about a writer called Chickenman don’t they?
West Vincent the truth shall set you free but that is a topic for another day. Well, it won’t be if you aren’t respectful of your citizenry at the upcoming Supervisors Meeting on Monday February 25th at 7:30 pm. I know full well residents have contacted you and requested that the matter of the shooting to death of puppies Argus and Fiona be put on the agenda. If you try to stifle your people on this, West Vincent, the hue and cry over attempting eminent domain at Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show will be child’s play by comparison.
West Vincent Township is located at :
729 St. Matthews Road
Chester Springs, PA 19425
Phone: (610) 458-1601
Residents want to learn about firearm use in a residential area, what constitutes a farm, and how to make changes to bad laws. And in addition to all of this, they strive to find a positive from this tragedy. West Vincent, you owe decency and answers to your citizenry.
To the citizenry I urge you to make your voices heard respectfully. Emotions are running hot on this issue and I was told by a reporter today about a woman who stood outside the dog shooter’s house yesterday and just stood in his driveway yelling “Dog killer!!” at him for 5 minutes. That, I am so sorry, is not cool. First of all he has guns and isn’t afraid to use them, and secondly he has neighbors who must feel under siege by all the media crawling around West Vincent, and third and most importantly things need to happen the right way with this. Don’t stoop to the level of someone who shoots dogs, please.
Last evening on the heels of the truly remarkable coverage by NBC10 Philadelphia and CBS3 . Today came coverage from 6ABC, KYW News Radio 1060, Syndicated talk show host Michael Smerconish, Main Line Media News, The Daily Local, Patch, and a really good piece from Claudia Gomez at Fox 29. Tomorrow will bring more – the Inquirer and who knows what else.
If you want to help, get Pennsylvania lawmakers to update outmoded farm statutes and other laws so Pennsylvania’s dogs are PROTECTED.
If you want to help, go show support for these people at the upcoming West Vincent Board of Supervisors meeting and ask them to do their jobs as elected and appointed officials the RIGHT way.
If you want to help ask the Chester County DA to ensure that people use firearms responsibly as in DON’T fire them in residential areas and gun down dogs and possibly put unsuspecting humans at risk. Violence should NOT beget violence. As adults we have the free will and ability to pay this forward the RIGHT way.
Let us get back to the business at hand: Justice for Argus & Fiona and peace and love for their humans. Together we can enact positive change so other dog owners don’t go through this. thanks for reading.The momentum is growing. Truly together we can enact change. It might take time, lots of petitions and bus trips to Harrisburg, but we can do it. And if we are successful, other pet owners and their furry friends might be spared unspeakable tragedy.
From: “Billela, Barbara C.” <email@example.com>Subject: Dog Shooting IncidentDate: February 21, 2013 4:31:28 PM ESTTo: “Billela, Barbara C.” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Chester County District Attorney’s Office will have a press release tomorrow with significant new information about the dog shooting incident in Chester Springs, PA.
Barbara BillelaAdministrative Assistant to District Attorney Thomas P. Hogan,First Assistant Michael Noone, and Chief of Staff Charles GazaChester County District Attorney’s Office201 West Market Street, Suite 4450Post Office Box 2746West Chester, PA 19380-0989(610) 344-6827
I have no idea what this means, but I hope it means they are taking a second look.
I am also taking this opportunity to share something from the Justice for Argus & Fiona Facebook page written by Mary Bock:
The outpouring of support has been amazing. Can I say that again? There is even support from elected officials like State Senator Andy Dinniman. Congressman Jim Gerlach has also been made aware, so I urge anyone who reads this to contact elected officials about this horrible turn of events.
Now a lawyer I know sent me three things for people to read, so please do:
I have to say this whirlwind has left me dog tired, so I can’t imagine how the Bocks feel. More media coming tomorrow I hear. And oh yes, please check out the Daily Local article by Michael Price:
WEST VINCENT — The Chester County District Attorney’s Office is expected to release new information Friday in the shooting deaths of two family dogs in Chester Springs last week.
According to a statement from a District Attorney’s Office spokesperson, authorities will release “significant” new details related to the killing of two Bernese Mountain Dogs who were shot on Feb. 12 after they escaped a fenced-in yard in the unit block
The District Attorney’s Office previously determined that the shooting was legal due to a century-old state law allowing someone to kill animals that pursue their own livestock or pets.Officials said Thursday afternoon that investigators received additional information in the case and that the investigation is ongoing.
Mary Bock, the owner of the two dogs, spoke out Thursday about the experience and expressed hope that her pets’ deaths may lead to a change in the law that allowed their killing to initially be ruled legal.
Bock also spoke about the neighbor, Gabriel Pilotti, who told police he killed the dogs with a shotgun because they entered an enclosure housing his sheep. She said Pilotti expressed no remorse over the dogs’ deaths when her husband, William Bock, confronted him last week.“It seemed like he almost enjoyed it a little bit,” Mary Bock said. “He was so cold and callous, he feels like he did nothing wrong. There were a million things he could have done differently, and he chose to pick up that gun and kill them.”
The dogs, 2-year-old Argus and 1-year-old Fiona, were shot less than 15 minutes after escaping the Bock’s two-acre property through a fence that was damaged by a falling tree limb several days before. The dogs eventually made their way to Pilotti’s nearby property, where they began an attempt to “herd” his sheep, Bock said.
My previous post which was the first thing out there on this horrible tragedy can be found by clicking on this link called “intolerable cruelty”. And I know those funkadellic horse rescue folks think I have forgotten all of that, they should think again. I am hoping now that the media knows how to get out to Chester County they will check it all out too. (Well Fairview Road in Glenmoore is not that far away from the scene of the dog crime is it?) Especially since Victor Fiorello wrote on Foobooz today about Philadelphia chefs wanting to add horse meat to the menu. (As an aside, can I tell you how I will now never go to a Mark Vetri or Peter McAndrews restaurant again as a result?)
Ok people, thanks for reading, thanks for supporting Justice for Argus & Fiona. Hug your pets and say a prayer to St. Francis.
Over and out.
Contact Carolyn Davis at 610-313-8109, email@example.com, or @carolyntweets on Twitter.
Inquirer staff writer Mari A. Schaefer contributed to this article.
To the Bock family of Chester Springs, the Bernese mountain dogs Fiona and Argus were happy, loving pets. To neighbor Gabriel Pilotti, they were apparently pests.
And when he found them loose among his sheep last week, he shot them dead.
“It was just really vicious,” Mary Bock said. The dogs had not touched the sheep.
As of Thursday evening, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office and the West Vincent Township police still were trying to determine what happened the morning of Feb. 12 in a part of Chester County where sheep, horses, and alpacas amble in yards larger than the patches of green in more urbanized suburbs and smaller than more rural farms.
On that day, the dogs, two-year-old Argus and one-year-old Fiona, got out of their enclosed backyard when a tree branch fell and collapsed part of the fence, Mary Bock said. The dogs ran through yards of residences on the street behind them and ended up on the 72-year-old Pilotti’s property, which includes a pen where he keeps sheep.
Around 11:30 a.m., Pilotti saw the dogs near his sheep, pulled out the 20-gauge single-shot shotgun he legally owns, and fired, said West Vincent Police Chief Michael Swininger. Mary Bock said police told her Pilotti first fatally shot Argus in the face, then shot and killed Fiona.
Police investigated and sent their report to the District Attorney’s Office. That office has not filed charges against Pilotti, citing a portion of the Pennsylvania dog law that says, “Any person may kill any dog which he sees in the act of pursuing or wounding or killing any domestic animal.”
That could change.
“We have gotten new information and are continuing to investigate,” said First Assistant District Attorney Michael G. Noone, adding that a development could come Friday.
Pilotti could not be reached for comment.
And oh yeah, people from some church called Calvary Fellowship in Downingtown have been calling the Bock family and I have to ask why? And what do the West Vincent police have as far as info for the family? Someone says they want to speak with them today?
When I saw a post on a friend’s Facebook wall this evening from one of their friends, I had to read it half a dozen times to make sure I wasn’t reading incorrectly. When I read what I read I started to cry, and also thought I would throw up. It was Just. That. Awful.
I have to ask why these things happen in West Vincent Township? I am told this occurred in West Vincent Township within the last week? This is crazy and it is sick and this guy shooting up dogs should not be able to hide behind antiquated farming statutes.
Do we really believe this guy with the gun doesn’t know his neighbors’ dogs? Do we believe that he really gave these dogs a chance? Can it be said if he had, they would be with their humans?
I am generally speaking a big supporter of farmers, and I get how farmers do not want livestock worried in a field. The thing is this: if you are a farmer or are dog saavy you know when a dog is herding, playing, or attacking.
Oh and here is a voicemail left for a neighbor (who turned this over to grieving family and police apparently) by the dog shooter:
I just don’t believe this farmer guy did not have any options other than to gun down two dogs who could still be considered puppies. The family knows nothing can bring back these beloved pets. But they do feel there should be some accountability – the wife said to me in a note:
[We] know that nothing will bring our pups back, but if we could save another family from having to go through this, we would do anything. This man will do this again, I know this in my heart. He is using this law as justification and is showing absolutely no remorse
These people have little kids. How the heck do you tell little kids their neighbor shot their beloved dogs? And yes I get there are laws designed to protect farmers, but most of the farmers I know wouldn’t just shoot puppies. They might round up the dogs and turn them over to animal control for return to their families but they wouldn’t just gun down a neighbor’s pets.
My heart bleeds for these people. I think West Vincent resdients should bring this up in person at the next township meeting. I think the media should investigate. I think the Chester County SPCA and Humane Society should investigate.
I am told by sources that the Chester County SPCA is going out to investigate today? Here is hoping they check things out thoroughly. Sources tell me this guy really isn’t much of a farmer that the sheep mostly keep his lawn cut? Also if this guy is in a R2 (think that is the residential zone) in West Vincent, does he legally have enough acres to keep farm animals/livestock which is what sheep are? If his acreage with the amassed lots he owns is under 10 acres how does that work? I mean out there you must have a minimum of 2 acres to keep one horse for personal use, right? But farm animals are different and how many years has this guy had sheep? I ask because is it not true if he does NOT have the correct acreage he could be in violation of current zoning and prior to the 2010 revisions as well? Are all his grazing or “pasture” areas fenced in? Is he connected over there or something? Also, if this guy is in a residential zone, is he compliant with PA gaming laws in a residential area with regard to the safety zone for discharging rifles and shot guns?
I had more farmers contact me today. Some who were very amusing to me because they scoffed at the idea of this guy really being a farmer. (I don’t know so I leave it up to the experts as it were.) Including one who said he had to shoot a feral dog years ago because it mauled and killed two of his sheep – he said he hated to do it, but in that case the dog was wild and was caught in the act. This farmer said to me if he had seen these dog he would have maybe fired a warning shot, but most likely he would have plunked them in a stall in his barn and called the police to return the dogs to the owners with a warning.
I found a reference to PA law below – not a lawyer, not sure if it applies, but read it:
§ 2505. Safety zones.
(a) General rule.–Except as otherwise provided in this
title or to any political subdivision, its employees or agents,
which has a valid deer control permit issued under section
2902(c) (relating to general categories of permits), it is
unlawful for any person, other than the lawful occupant, while
hunting game or wildlife, taking furbearers of any kind, or
pursuing any other privilege granted by this title, to hunt for,
take, trap, pursue, disturb or otherwise chase any game or
wildlife or to discharge, for any reason, any firearm, arrow or
other deadly weapon within or through a safety zone, or to shoot
at any game or wildlife while it is within the safety zone
without the specific advance permission of the lawful occupant
(b) Penalty.–A violation of this section is a summary
offense punishable by a fine of not less than $200 nor more than
$500. A second or subsequent offense within two calendar years
is a summary offense punishable by a fine of not less than $500
nor more than $1,000.
(c) Definition.–As used in this section, the term “safety
(1) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (2), the
area within 150 yards around and that area which is below the
highest point of any occupied dwelling house, residence, or
other building or camp occupied by human beings, or any barn,
stable, or other building used in connection therewith or any
attached or detached playground of any school, nursery school
or day-care center.
(2) When applied to properly licensed persons hunting
with bow and arrow or crossbow, the area within 50 yards
around and that area which is below the highest point of any
occupied dwelling house, residence or other building or camp
occupied by human beings or any barn, stable or other
building used in connection therewith and the area within 150
yards around and that area which is below the highest point
of any attached or detached playground of any school, nursery
school or day-care center.
(Nov. 25, 1988, P.L.1082, No.125, eff. imd.; Mar. 29, 1996,
P.L.41, No.13, eff. imd.; Dec. 19, 1996, P.L.1442, No.184, eff.
60 days; June 28, 2002, P.L.474, No.79, eff. 60 days; June 23,
2004, P.L.435, No.43, eff. July 1, 2004)
Cross References. Section 2505 is referred to in section
2741 of this title.
West Vincent Zoning: See Satndards for Raising Animals Codified-Draft%20ZO-TOC-4-12-12 (Also see other pages like page 83 of the West Vincent Zoning Code
So this Bing image shows how residential this is, right? Maybe Chester CountyDA needs to look at discharge of weapons in R2 zone ? Do you all not see
numerous dwellings that *possibly* could be well within the 450 ft gun safety zone? I am told the area where he keeps the sheep is fenced, but in poor repair, with a section patched with plastic garden fence? If dogs as big as sheep can get in, sheep can get out, right? Again, is he possibly in potential violation of zoning and gun laws? Pine Drive is the first development approved in WVT in the late 60’s or early 70’s, correct?Isn’t it the only development ever approved with 1 ACRE LOTS? So what about that safety zone in the entire residential development and discharging a weapon? Guns are a hot nationwide topic are they not? Even in PA?
FIVE people have sent me photos. Here are the ones pertinent to this discussion:
I was astounded that when I went to the village of Historic Yellow Springs for dinner at the amazing Yellow Springs Inn over the weekend that Historic Yellow Springs or whomever owns Vaughn House has not done a blessed thing yet as far as saving this historic structure. I mean it has been years at this point.
There stood Vaughn House last Saturday evening like a ghetto shell of its former self. I had not been to the village since early fall, and would have thought by now that something other than demolition by neglect would have been happening.
And yes, I understand some of my readers take *issue* with me mentioning the deteriorating, run down Vaughn house when I talk about fabulous dining experiences at Yellow Springs Inn. The truth is I do it on purpose. Historic Yellow Springs in my opinion neither respects nor appreciates the treasure that is Yellow Springs Inn and I find them extremely hypocritical at this point because if a private citizen owned Vaughn House I have no doubt everyone would be on them like white on rice to do repairs….yet what is happening? Vaughn House continues to rot. I can’t help but wonder if it is salvageable at all at this point.
Vaughn House should not be allowed to continue to rot and moulder. It brings down property values of everything around it in its current state of disrepair it also might be dangerous as a structure. It is criminal that it is being allowed to rot like this. Have they even had a structural engineer do an assessment?
I really do hate to criticize Historic Yellow Springs but sometimes I can’t help but wonder if they squander the breathtaking beauty and charm that is this historic village? It’s not just all about the art studio and I think for all the effort they put into the studio and promoting the studio and promoting events at the studio that they could hold a fundraiser or something to raise the roof back up on Vaughn House and repair it before it falls in on itself.
Historic Yellow Springs needs to decide what they want to do one way or the other. If they want to repair Vaughn House they need to get busy. If they need to admit that perhaps the structure is too far gone at this point, that is something else they need to decide. Otherwise what it eventually going to happen is West Pikeland might decide for them. Of course if they are passively aggressively hoping for that, they could just be honest about it.
Historic Yellow Springs is a village of beauty and history. Like many other non-profit places of historic import it apparently also has lots of problems doesn’t it?
Here’s hoping they have an epiphany sooner rather than later. They can’t recreate the specialness, so why not get back to preserving it?
Wow. Way to go Pete Kennedy from Malvern Patch! Millions of tax dollars were spent on making SEPTA’s Malvern Train Station new and improved….and I thought that meant fully ADA accessible. Only, as Malvern Patch is reporting it is NOT truly ADA accessible after all.
SEPTA seems to have provided Patch with some amazing non-answers. I find it absolutely astounding that train stations are being reconstructed at the tune of millions and millions in tax dollars, grants, you name it and they are supposed to be new, improved, shiny, and ADA accessible…only they aren’t?
Rob Anderson, a daily rail commuter for more than 12 years, writes:
[T]hey installed all the ADA required ramps, etc. and that is great. But, how can a person in a wheelchair get onto the train? Has SEPTA made any indication of how they are going to install ramps for riders to get on/off the train?
We reached out to SEPTA, and spokesperson Kristin Geiger explained that there’s currently no way for someone in a wheelchair to board the train in Malvern, despite the many new ramps. They can, however, request free transportation from Malvern to a nearby station with a high-level platform
You can read the full SEPTA response on Malvern Patch.
So how are the railroads accountable exactly? Shouldn’t they be fined and forced to remediate? I pretty much just asked Philadelphia Inquirer reporter that question a few moments ago as he wrote a rather large article the other day about the Paoli Station makeover which is moving forward. If all new and reinvented, rebuilt, repurposed train stations are supposed to be ADA accessible, why aren’t they? I mean ask anyone who opens a business that has public rest rooms for example. They can’t just say “oops we’ll add handicap accessible bathrooms later” can they ? So why is it any different for public transit entities like AMTRAK and SEPTA?
According to AAPD “Of the nearly 2 million people with disabilities who never leave their homes, 560,000 never leave home because of transportation difficulties“
I can tell you off the top of my head in addition to Paoli, Bryn Mawr and Ardmore train stations are not ADA accessible. So now Malvern is back on that list after a very expensive face lift that included all sorts of fancy ramps. I was using Malvern station a great deal almost two years ago now when being treated for breast cancer. It was so difficult for me to navigate, and I kept thinking that at least at the end of the project people with temporary and permanent disabilities would be better served when the renovation was complete.
I am utterly amazed that Malvern Borough did not stay on top of this project to ensure ADA compliance, but should I be surprised? Malvern Borough has some of the worst sidewalks I have ever seen in their downtown, so obviously ADA compliance is not a huge priority is it? Maybe it will be when someone trips on a sidewalk and sues the borough?
I figure I would bring this up now, given the money about to be spent in Paoli on a new train station. I am thrilled that this project is moving forward as in Ardmore there is nothing transit related happening with regard to THAT train station project and one can assume people will be riding Dranoff condos or apartments into Center City Philadelphia. The Paoli project will remove that hideously dangerous and outmoded North Valley Road bridge, but Paoli Train Station has serious ADA issues now, so will the station be ADA compliant?
Part of why these train stations are getting makeovers isn’t just parking and aesthetics, the functionality is supposed to be bought current. I guess I just don’t understand the thinking of SEPTA with regard to Malvern and wonder why they can’t just do something right the first time?
To quote the AAPD again:
Transportation and The Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is the landmark civil rights law that addresses the rights of people with disabilities. Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in public transportation services, such as city buses and public rail (subways, commuter trains, etc.). Under the ADA; all new vehicles used in public transit must be accessible; key existing rail stations and all new rail stations and facilities must be accessible; and transit operators must provide paratransit (on-demand, door-to-door) services for those who cannot use available mass transit.
Twenty years after passage of the ADA, transportation choices for people with disabilities are still limited. The ADA has led to major improvements in transit systems across the United States. However, there are persistent gaps in compliance that continue to create significant barriers for people with disabilities. In addition, because the ADA only addresses public transportation, few transportation options exist for people with disabilities where no public transportation is available. In some areas, such as in rural communities, insufficient funding has left people with disabilities with little or no transportation options. In urban areas, where individuals often rely on accessible taxis, a lack of requirements has meant very uneven progress.