justice for argus & fiona

poolWhen 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.

kidsTo 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

a2Residents 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.

dog killer signA friend of mine commented  something that is worth repeating. She was afraid of people getting too vigilante justice for lack of a better term. She is absolutely correct that cooler heads must prevail.
It is with that in mind that I must say that  encouraging people to call this guy who shot the dogs or stand outside his property is NOT the right thing to do. In my mind that falls into two wrongs don’t make a right.
If you want to help, show the Bock family support and condolences and empathy- losing a pet under ANY circumstances is so hard, and what happened to their dogs IS intolerable cruelty, but justice should be served under the law by those qualified to serve it.

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.

And among other things, we need to pass that along to our children. Ok so lecture is over.

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.

Now as far as the Chester County District Attorney goes, the following message was sent to media today:
From: “Billela, Barbara C.” <bbillela@chesco.org>
Subject: Dog Shooting Incident
Date: February 21, 2013 4:31:28 PM EST
To: “Billela, Barbara C.” <bbillela@chesco.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 Billela

Administrative Assistant to District Attorney Thomas P. Hogan,
First Assistant Michael Noone, and Chief of Staff Charles Gaza
Chester County District Attorney’s Office
201 West Market Street, Suite 4450
Post Office Box 2746
West 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:

459-501 statute re dogs



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:

Officials: West Vincent dog shooting legal under state law

 By MICHAEL N. PRICE mprice@dailylocal.com

Posted: Thursday, 02/21/13 10:31 am Updated: Thursday, 02/21/13 06:16 pm

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.

Shooting of dogs sparks ill will in Chester Springs

Carolyn Davis, Inquirer Staff Writer

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013, 3:01 AM

Contact Carolyn Davis at 610-313-8109, cdavis@phillynews.com, or @carolyntweets on Twitter.

Inquirer staff writer Mari A. Schaefer contributed to this article.

APRIL SAUL / Staff Photographer

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?


20 thoughts on “justice for argus & fiona

  1. Great post , I agree wholeheartedly. It is easy to be carried away with emotion but to truly affect change we, the community ,need to use our collective judgement and political clout.
    I am very impressed with your blog. I have spent the evening reading all of your posts. Thank you for keeping an eye on things here in Chesco.

  2. Thank you for you excellent coverage and advocacy. You are a good person. The whole situation is sickening. The family will never be able to fill the hole in their hearts.

  3. Even though this sicko is protected by one law that allowed him to commit this heinous act, I believe the malice standard from the animal cruelty act supersedes that from the case law posted above and I would hope and expect this dangerous menace to society is charged by the DA today under the animal cruelty act.

  4. I believe the “roommate” lied in the ABC story…it was a neighbors alpaca and sheep that were killed by the pit bulls last spring.

    Thank you for your excellent coverage. West Vincent Township officials are the worst.

    • Chickenman has been busy-from him this morning:

      If you are on my list and don’t read the news, besides the majority of the police calls to Miller Towers (Oxford Rise now Stone Rise), the bludgeoning to death of a person with a hammer (OK, that was a couple years ago) and the rampant mid-day house break-in’s over the last year here in West Vincent Township, now comes the dog massacre of Pine Dr.

      Haven’t heard of it? Pull up a chair and read the following link. It has Channel 10 and Channel 3 news reports and the story of what happened to these two dogs that were in the wrong place at the wrong time.



      These dogs were gunned down by the owner of a property with sheep on it. I certainly understand both sides of the story. Dogs trespassed on his property. The property owner had recently shot some pit bull or pit bulls that attacked the neighbor’s animals and then been on the shooters land. I understand the emotional panic of having a pet attacked by another animal. I understand the shoot first, ask questions later mentality. I don’t agree with it, but I understand.

      Unfortunately, the entire situation should and could have been avoided if West Vincent Township had done it’s job. How is that possible, you may ask? The sheep were not legally allowed to be on the property. A review of zoning for that property all the way back to 1967, before that development was built, only allowed farming operations on properties of 5 acres or more. This specific property is NOT one property but 3 separate but contiguous parcels of 1 acre, 1 acre and 2 acres, for a total of 4 acres. According to the Chester County documents, the parcels were acquired in 1995, falling under the zoning of 1987, having a 10 acre minimum for farming of any type. Therefore, the keeping of sheep in this locale is clearly illegal.

      These dogs died because West Vincent Township has not enforced it’s zoning laws. If there had been no sheep, there would have been no shooting. Did the person have the right to kill the dogs? Yes, PA State law allows the shooting of a dog in pursuit of any animal on their property, a good law. We all have to be able to protect our animals. There is another knee-jerk reaction from some to have laws passed to prohibit that ability. The claim is that the law is “antiquated”. Protecting our property is not antiquated. We don’t need more laws taking away rights. What should be considered is how did the dogs get in the fenced area to pursue the animals and just as important, if the sheep were not there since the keeping of those animals was illegal, how would the dogs have been shot? The simple answer is that they could not.

      Will West Vincent now enforce it’s zoning after this tragedy that is sure to tear this neighborhood apart or will they allow the illegal operation to continue? In a side note, Pennsylvania law states “A safety zone for firearms hunters is the area within 150 yards of an occupied residence, camp, industrial or commercial building, farm house or farm building, school or playground. That distance is reduced to 50 yards for archery hunters.” Yes, I realize this is for hunting, but there is a reason for the distance. West Vincent Township is solely responsible for this sad and avoidable incident, the sole product produced by the negligence of their zoning officer. I would hope the neighbors demand a cease and desist of this illegal operation in their neighborhood on Monday night at the West Vincent Township meeting. It won’t bring the dogs back, but it will protect the sheep and eliminate from this ever type of incident from happening in this neighborhood ever again.

      To see my previous mailings please click on http://tinyurl.com/westvincentinfos As usual, if you want to be on or off my list, or have some comments or suggestions, or know someone who would like to be on the list, please let me know. Feel free to forward this email on to anyone you think might be interested. Especially though, if you don’t want to continue to receive my mails, please tell me, it will be done. Just hit reply to this email or write to chestercountynews@gmail.com

      • While I have differing views than Chickenman on being able to shoot a family pet that is just chasing some sheep around, we are all entitled to our opinions, but I absolutely disagree with him on supporting the “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality.

        This goes against all tenets of firearms safety – always assume a gun is loaded, keep your finger out of the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot an identified target, always point your gun in safe direction until ready to shoot your target, know exactly what your target is and what is behind it.

        It’s the “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality that gets hunters killed by other hunters with buck fever who don’t know their target. They just shoot something that moved in the woods.

        It’s the “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality where you shoot your teenage kid coming home late at night when you did not realize he was out and thought he was a burglar.

        The “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality gives law-abiding gun owners a bad name and I absolutely reject it.

        That the dog killer admits he has a “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality says a lot – and none of it is good.

      • Correction – Chickenman stated he “understands” the “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality. He did not say he “supports” it. He did say he does not agree with it.

        I still stand by what I posted. From what I posted above, I don’t see how anyone can “understand” that mentality in relationship to responsible and safe firearms ownership and use.

        The “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality.implicitly implies you may well not know what you are shooting at and that you don’t care what you are shooting at.

        I absolutely support he right to bear arms, but not for people with such a dangerous mentality as gun ownership requires a certain level of responsibility and a “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality is just asking for all sorts of tragedies to happen by not following proper firearms safety protocol.

        Mr. Gabe shooting the second corned and cowering dog removes all doubt that he was shooting first because he did not know if the dogs would harm his sheep or not.

    • I’m on his list…the two of you are awesome when it comes to all this funky in WVT…

  5. Nice article, thanks. West Vincent sounds as bad as West Brandywine– and I won’t go on about what I think about the whole Ludwigs Corner affair 🙂 Something about Chester County I guess. Anyway, I post just to send my condolences to the Bock family. This was tragic, sick, and uncalled for. I cannot believe someone can be so cruel. If this was in the area of Pine drive off of Horseshoe Trail, the man is even crazier than I thought. It’s residential up that way and he should not be shooting firearms anywhere in the vicinity–there are families with children.nearby and one of the houses is also a group home for mentally disabled girls–wonder if he would have shot one of them if they had wandered off on to his property…and good point about the zoning enforcement and keeping sheep, if it’s anything like West Brandywine it’s enforced based on who you are or who you know and whether you’ve drawn someone’s ire or not. Thanks again and send my condolences.

  6. Pingback: NEW! more on justice for argus & fiona: chester county district attorney press release | chestercountyramblings

  7. I used to live right next door until a couple of years ago. Gabe was a good neighbor, very friendly. Once in a while a sheep occasionally got into my yard, my dog in his pasture once in a while. No problems. Of course, I don’t know what happened here other than the news accounts but I have a hard time reconciling it all.

  8. Keep your stinking dogs on your own property!!!! your fence was damaged, check your property line daily, and make repairs, IT’S YOUR FAULT!!! YOUR DOGS ARE DEAD, NOT your neighbor or anybody else, again this whole situation is YOUR FAULT!!!!!!!!, stop crying to the media, and get over it!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Pingback: argus & fiona’s laws? can we do that? | chestercountyramblings

  10. Unless Pilotti has an IQ of ZERO he had to know that these dogs were NOT assaulting his illegally kept sheep. Pilotti is a yellow bellied ()^&#$^&*( ! Bet this numb nutz would chicken out when facing something that could threaten back. This guy should be given a fair trial and then hung from the nearest tree ! Hey, “Can’t fix stupid”…you are describing yourself; Animals get loose at times… It is up to us to act reasonably in this event and indescriminately killing another living creature without just cause is against all that is good!.

    • I got on here late,but I totally agree with Mr. Nonemaker. As of this writing, Pilotti,the so-called “born again Christian” has received his punishment,such as it is. He is a cold hearted phony little creep and karma will get him someday. He is very fortunate that he did not slaughter MY pets. The Bock family has been through so much and they have handled the sitiuation with grace.
      I was truly hoping Pilotti would get some jail time and become someone’s “bitch”
      although even that would be too good for him.
      What is wrong with people who enjoy hurting animals?
      Pilotti should not ever possess a firearm again, and his illegal sheep farm should be done away with.
      I hope he enjoys looking over his shoulder the rest of his life,as he no doubt has angered enough people who may want to hurt HIM. He is a sorry excuse for a human being; and God knows what is in his black heart.

  11. Pingback: back to the dogs | chestercountyramblings

  12. I am a sheep farmer. If a dog not under the control of its owner threatens my sheep, and its a dead dog, If I don’t get with the gun, my livestock guardian dogs will. If you care about your dogs, keep them under control.

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