It started innocently enough. A friend of mine shared a horse needing a home on her Facebook timeline. It seemed like the horse was in rather dire straits. So I shared the post. And someone steered me towards this article:
The horse sale started. There were several thin horses going through the sale, however, all were within the legal limits of Pennsylvania law. One draft horse had a milk leg and horribly neglected feet. Prices were average and all the kill buyers were obtaining their share of horses.
Investigators walked outside to check for animals left in trailers. Inside the farrier barn, they noticed a group of horses in poor condition. An emaciated draft horse not fit for sale under PA law. An emaciated grey with a large bleeding sore on his point of buttock. Two thin and depressed looking Standardbreds. Observing from a distance, investigators noted that the auction veterinarian Dr. Holt, proceeded to check the animals. When approached by the investigators, he stated that these horses belonged to a horse “collector” named “Gene” and that this individual would gather up horses in bad condition and flip them. He added that these horses would not be going through the sale and that he had “told him the law”.
Investigators documented the condition of the animals when they were confronted by “Gene”. Claiming they were interested in purchasing the animals, Gene became friendlier and stated that these horses had been brought in by a kill buyer from Virginia and that he was flipping them to a rescue. He bragged about being well connected to over 40 rescues and how much money was to be made with this set-up. He elaborated that the “man from Virginia” did not like to deal with the rescue folks, that’s why he was being used as a middle-man. Suddenly, Gene’s phone rang, and the auction veterinarian Dr. Holt was on the other end. After listening to Holt for a while, a concerned looking Gene hung up the phone, called his transporter and urged him to come to the barn. “They have been seen, I need to get them out of here now…”, Gene told the person on the phone. Judging by his reaction, it is entirely possible that Holt informed Gene of our investigators’ presence, potentially putting their safety at risk.
So I called the zoo and got transferred to human resources. I think at first they thought I was completely nuts. But I said I just want to verify if this guy is doing horse rescue and he says he’s a trainer at the Philadelphia Zoo is he really?￼ The woman said well first of all we have keepers we don’t have trainers. So is this man someone who works for your zoo I asked again?￼￼ they said no so who is this guy really?￼
Equine Rescues Scams says this guy is a fake. They also seem to have put a lot of energy into alerting people.
If you visit their page on Facebook there’s a lot about a lot of fake horse stuff up there. I haven’t posted on questionable horse rescue in years. The last time I questioned horse rescues I received all sorts of menacing and threatening private messages and comments.
But what made me sit up and take a look at this was also another post people are sharing about a baby cow that needs a home. And it’s this same person this page is talking about:￼￼
Anyone who knows me knows that I have a distinct affinity for cows and goats and chickens and horses. It’s probably good that I don’t live on a farm. But I do know farmers. And I do know that Holsteins are very expensive beasts.￼
A four day old Holstein calf should be with its mother or being hand bottle-fed if its mother died correct? So this really bothered me to see this.￼ and then somebody else posted one of the guy’s horses and I thought here we are again in 2020 and where are the people the two large animal stuff that are supposed to keep an eye on things like this? LAP or whatever?
As far as unregulated horse rescues and charities go here’s an article from January out of a New Jersey paper:
A Mercer County woman who took in more than $344,000 in donations for what she described as a horse rescue charity put the money in her personal bank account and never properly registered the organization, officials said.
Dina Alborano, of Hamilton, used the internet and social media to promote her “I Care I Help” thoroughbred rescue organization, authorities said. She accepted more than $330,000 in donations via PayPal and personal checks in 2018 after reeling in more than $12,000 the previous year, the state Attorney General’s office said in a statement Monday.
So I don’t understand still to this day why the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Attorney General’s office doesn’t look into problems like this in Pennsylvania?￼
Josh Shapiro needs to take action. He’s our Attorney General. Follow this LINK to contact his office.
Sometimes I think rescues of all kinds start with well-intentioned people who get in over their heads. I don’t know what to think here.
It started extremely happily as I was doing something I really love to do. I had a wonderful time… until sadly I didn’t.
I encountered a woman, a total stranger, who upset me enough that I just stopped what I was doing and decided to go home. That doesn’t generally happen.
On the way home I saw something that made me smile. It was something happy that reminded me of what’s important and what’s lovely about life.
It was a group of boys, obviously good buddies, all clumped together on a public street corner hanging out as boys are wont to do. Of course, they are modern boys, so they were all clumped together each one staring at their smartphones. And they were standing next to a very important historic sign marker.
It was a moment. Frozen in time. It made me smile and I took the photo.
There was no malice. I captured a moment on a public street that made me smile. And shared it.
But oh no, because of the world we allow ourselves to live in, my happy moment caught in an image where you couldn’t even see the boys’ faces, was twisted and made ugly.
All of a sudden, a man I don’t know is leaving comments that I am a “sick person” and a “pedophile”. That I was a “twisted voyeur of children” unfit to live in my own community and that (and I quote) “you get banned all around Malvern and now you leer on kids.”
I have, among other things, never been banned from anywhere.
I took the comments as what they were, threats, and sent them in native format to the police in case something happened to me.
That is not something I regularly do, but I took those comments as the threats they were intended to be. I am a woman. And when a man is that viscerally verbally abusive in comments, I am not necessarily going to just say “well that’s ok”.
As a matter of fact I am NOT going to say any of this is ok any longer.
Whenever it is something to do with me, because I am the local blogger, people all over social media, including in community groups I am not part of, pile on. Comment after comment after comment.
It’s enough to make you puke because these groups all have “statements of community” after a fashion and how they are all about love, and family, and community and neighbors…unless it’s me or anyone else who will never be a cookie cutter version of them.
Whether it’s me or anyone else who isn’t in their limited circle of life or school car rider line, it’s just fine to tear everyone apart. We don’t have feelings. We’re not like you. We don’t matter.
And you people wonder why some of your kids are called out in school for being bullies or having behavioral issues? Where do you actually think they learn the behavior?
Last night, the day thankfully changed yet again. I was with friends for a surprise party for another friend.
I belonged there. I felt loved and safe there. I was with people who actually, truly, really know me. They all reminded me again of what is important in this world. And what’s not important are the people who want to turn lovely days ugly and dirty. What’s not important are those of you (some with extraordinarily flawed and messed up lives, I might add) sitting in judgement of me or anyoneelse you find suspicious for not being exactly like you.
PSA: I am done with the BS. I am over being judged, maligned, defamed, harassed, harangued, bullied….yet when some want something done I am the one they seek out?
Can’t have it both ways.
I am not a bad person and I don’t have to defend my existence to any of the shlubs who wish to sit in judgement of me, my blogging, my opinions, and what I choose to photograph on public streets. Or bars and restaurants I choose to review. Or for writing about what’s important to me.
I have been threatened, harassed, you name it. And for what? Because I am not some freaking Nouveau Stepford Wife or I didn’t grow up in Malvern when dinosaurs roamed the earth?
Get over yourselves.
Those who know me, know me to be loyal to a fault. Those who cross me know I don’t suffer fools lightly.
This comes to me from a friend in neighboring Berks County. A horse was stolen out of a barn where people she knows keep horses and has asked people to spread the word. The two photos were accompanied by this information:
Hanoverian Stallion Black 16.3 hands taken from 19 Featherhill Road in Lenhartsville on 11/13/2013 between 10 and 3p.m
Caz has a full white blaze one white right sock and one left white sock.
Any information regarding this contact Trooper Beck at the Hamburg State Police Barracks located on Industrial Blvd Hamburg Pa 610-562-6885
We do believe that the owner of the property one Mervin Z Martin alias Martin Mervin whom owns Martins Harness in Ephrata whom currently is in Berks County Prison regarding this issue knows where the horse is as do those whom worked with him to participate in the theft of Caz .
This is just weird. And awful. Anyway, if you have seen this horse which apparently the owner has raised from a foal and is heartbroken, please call police as per information provided. Apparently this gent is no stranger to court system given what the court summary says?
Wow, I haven’t written about horse rescue in forever (I mean what is the point it is not regulated in PA is it and does anyone in elected office even care about horses?)
Is it true she who shall not be mentioned by name no longer operates a rescue from rented barn space in Glenmoore? So what happens to that rescue now? Are they still around? Are they still in Chester County?
But what I am really curious about as I find the above a side-show circus in the scheme of things at this point is something going on at Turning for Home the Non-Profit that Barbara Luna was I thought the head of? Not only am I not able to bring up what used to be Turning for Home’s own website and can only access information through Patha.org, but well Barbara Luna doesn’t lock down her Facebook page and by posts she has written it appears she has (a) moved to Virginia and (b) is starting a new non-profit for horses so what’s up in Equine Land people?
I now understand why reporters say sometimes what they see in a court room haunts them. I will be haunted a long time by the crime scene photos which were shown of the slain Bernese Mountain Dog puppies Argus & Fiona.
The scene photos (I am not a police officer so I don’t know what to call them), were not intentionally gruesome, they were what they were. (We saw a photo of the shotgun too. It was not one that repeats, either, which means the buck shot had to deliberately reloaded, correct?) There seemed to be some sort of quiet sidebar conversation as in jury and audience could not hear) before the audience, judge, and jury saw the photos. I am thinking it had to do with the photos – but I don’t know for sure.
The photos – Argus lay there on the ground like he was shot in mid-flight. He seemed to be facing away from us. Then there was the photo of the female puppy Fiona. This photo made me cry (several things made me tear up this afternoon- so much was so hard to hear) it was so heart and gut wrenchingly awful. Fiona was curled in a semi fetal position staring at the camera with lifeless eyes. That is the photo I will see in my head for a long time it is so awful.
But back to the beginning. Three papers were there: Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily Local and Brandywine News Media. There were Argus and Fiona friends and family and supporters on one side and Gabe Pilotti had a mish mosh of people on his side. I never saw the man in person before today so I have no way of knowing who was family and who might have been church folk. I will note that whomever they are had minor children with them, who were in the room when the photos of the shot up dogs were displayed. Not to judge, but would you have wanted your children to see that? The smiling Pilotti from the mug shot was not present today.
Ramsey, Pilotti’s attorney referred to a “media campaign” over this issue. He seemed to make a lot of referrals to the Justice for Argus and Fiona Facebook Page and obliquely this blog (or in my opinion that is what it was) like we were all bad people for talking about this. Judge Nagle seemed to shut this commentary down on several occasions as being somewhat irrelevant to the case at hand.
Pilotti’s attorney was somewhat brutal with the Bocks. But that is a defense attorney doing their job I suppose. I do think the defense attorney was unnecessarily hard on Mary Bock in particular – asked her something like did she have remorse over the whole incident. My personal opinion was that asking something like that was gratuitously nasty. She was practically in tears having to relive parts of that awful day as it was.
Pilotti’s attorney seemed to make a big deal out of these neighbors of Pilotti’s that the Bocks used to be friendly with – people named Dallas and Kelley Definbaugh. I wonder, are those the people holding Pilotti’s gun? Anyway, it is not like it is some dirty secret. The couples used to be friendly, more from the wives knowing each other and kids being in same sections of classes at school. But that changed. The kids moved on into different groups and classes at school and the wives don’t hang out any more. So what? Do you keep in close contact with people with whom you no longer share any meaningful commonality? I don’t.
I wouldn’t know the Definbaugh people if I fell on them, and am just getting to know the Bocks, so I can only go with my gut. I like the Bocks. They are honorable people who experienced something so horrible. And when you see the photos of those dead puppies from that day and hear about how they were moved in a front end loader or a tractor or something to the township building the day they were shot, well let me tell you, you get a much more clear picture of how these people have suffered.
Remember this news report?
I also did not get why Pilotti’s attorney kept bringing up a letter that Mary Bock wrote to her neighbors after her dogs were shot. I mean get real, there are tons of kids out there and tons of people with dogs. If she wanted to tell her neighbors is that so wrong?
And Pilotti’s attorney wants to make a big deal out of this blog? I did not drive his client to shoot those dogs. And I am not condoning violence against his client, only like hundreds of others out there hoping for justice and a strengthening of Pennsylvania dog laws.
Today we heard from Officer Russell from West Vincent Police Department. He was the first on the scene and apparently present later when Pilotti was interviewed by police. He seems like a totally honorable and stand up guy. He also seems to be some sort of authority on fire arms and he spoke with some intelligence about the gun used – a 20 gauge single shot non repeating shot-gun with 9 pellet buck shot if I have it correctly.
Officer Russell recounted that fateful February day calmly with some degree of detail. He remarked that at the time (as in day of shooting) he found Pilotti’s answers “vague”. (his verbiage) . He reported that on the day of the shooting in front of the Police Chief he asked Pilotti for a written statement to assist in the investigation. He stated that Pilotti in his opinion seemed hesitant to do so, but eventually went back to his garage and sat down and compiled a “list”. Officer Russell also described seeing the dogs. He reported that Argus took a fairly direct hit to the head and the dog’s head was “kind of blown apart.” He described Fiona’s position (that I saw in the photos) and the blood coming out of her mouth and I believe he said on her paws. I will admit the photo of her so disturbed me that I could not get past the quasi fetal position and lifeless eyes staring at the camera.
District Attorney Tom Hogan appeared in court to watch for a while at approximately 3:45 p.m. That made people sit up and take notice – he is a busy guy so you know he can’t audit every court proceeding. I was thankful for his presence.
I stayed until just before the defense was going to cross-examine Officer Russell. People in the court room said that got out of hand. I remember before I left Officer Russell stating that they wanted to talk to Pilotti again because “something did not seem right.”
Pilotti’s attorney at one point referred to when Pilotti had shot dogs before, but West Vincent locals told me that those dogs were shot on a neighbors property because the neighbor’s animals were being mauled and is that not the truth? So that was something different from when Argus and Fiona were shot, huh?
And I have to ask (bearing in mind my limited knowledge of buck shot) but if Argus and Fiona were actually pursuing sheep why is it the audience and jury didn’t hear about injured sheep? Or see photos of bloodied sheep or dead sheep? I ask because as buck shot was explained today to everyone in that courtroom it sort of spreads or sprays out, right?
Watching the face of the jury all afternoon was quite interesting. That is all I will say on that.
Court continues tomorrow at the Criminal Justice Center in Downtown West Chester, PA. I strongly urge dog lovers to attend if possible. The Bock family and the memory of these puppies deserve our support in a peaceful way as an extended community. It is a public proceeding and the courtroom is open, not closed. You can go to all or part of tomorrow. Parking is not expensive in the new garage, either. You just park, go through the court screening and ask to be directed to Judge Nagle’s court (7th floor room 8 off the top of my head)
Today was deeply disturbing and very emotional. But I am glad I went. It makes me even more resolute than ever that dog laws need to change.
In a case that outraged animal-rights activists and generated national attention, a trial began Monday for a Chester County man charged with killing his neighbor’s dogs because he believed they posed a threat to his sheep.
Gabriel Pilotti, 73, of Chester Springs, was charged with cruelty to animals for shooting the two Bernese mountain dogs — 2-year-old Angus and 1-year-old Fiona — after they had escaped the fenced yard of their owners, Mary and William Bock….In his opening statement, Kevin Pierce, assistant district attorney said Pilotti willfully and maliciously killed the two dogs in cold blood and then left a voice message for a neighbor bragging about the incident……Argus was shot in the head as he trotted up toward Pilotti and that Fiona was shot as she ran away. Pilotti did not try to yell at the dogs or chase them away with a broom, he said.
“He choose to go to the most extreme measure first,” said Pierce.
Also noteworthy? The Chester County SPCA which is currently under fire in Chester County and beyond did NOT bother to show up today. I found that extraordinarily cowardly. They should have put the other stuff aside and shown up for the dogs. Good thing no one was depending on them for anything.
WEST CHESTER – Gabriel Pilotti, the 73-year-old West Vincent resident on trial for shooting two dogs that wandered onto his property, was portrayed in two different lights Monday as his case opened in the Chester County Justice Center.
To the prosecutor, Pilotti was a trigger happy man who shot first and asked no questions – taking the matter of dogs in his pasture to the “most extreme measure” by killing the two dogs without provocation.
“This is a simple case of a cold blooded killing of two family pets,” Assistant District Attorney Kevin Pierce told the nine women and three men on the jury in Senior Judge Ronald Nagle’s courtroom. He said the defendant “mowed down” one of the dogs as he “moseyed” toward him, and then reloaded his shotgun and shot and killed the second, younger dog as it ran from the yard.
Snapped this photo while on vacation in Amagansett, NY recently. If I were a horse I would want to live at Stony Hill Stables. That place is immaculate and the animals so happy. And yes, they have a few retired race horses living there with all the right paperwork too I am told.
This photo was just such a beautiful and peaceful, yet unpretentious scene so thank you for the indulgence. I have a LOT of photos to share from the trip, I am still editing (I took over 1000 photos).
Back in the saddle getting back to everyday life means more gardening and barn picking and all that good stuff! Back in the saddle also means getting back to some of the blogging of it all.
I am not some blogging newbie. I have been at this long before it was either fashionable or trendy.
Some might not care for my opinion or some other blogger’s opinion, but opinion is one of those great things allowed in the USA courtesy of our founding fathers.
Just because I blog it does not make me a free publicist or phtographer. I get paid for that if that is what you want.
I also always do my research and trust me there are a lot of people who should deeply appreciate the fact I do not let loose with all the info I dig up on the public record. My sources, generally speaking are honest and above-board, and as a source I am also trusted by the media….because I do my homework. So have a care. And if you want to split hairs and play semantic monopoly, that is fine. But don’t play me or play passive-aggressive patty-cake. Fibs always come out. And telling people different stories catches up with people, it’s a tough game to maintain, yes?
This blog is different from the purely activism/civic activist- based blogging I used to do, but occasionally you will find that here because there are just things I believe in.
Take Justice for Argus & Fiona – the two Bernese Mountain Dog puppies shot months ago. Their family and dog lovers everywhere are still waiting for justice to be served. Mr. Pilotti now apparently wants a jury trial of his peers, so apparently from what the Bocks tell us via the Chester County District Attorney’s office that has yet to be scheduled and there is to be no plea deal – another rumor we heard.
Mr. Pilotti we have not forgotten. Chester County DA? We have not forgotten. What he did was wrong. It was intolerable cruelty. And it is really frustrating to be doing things the right way from our end, yet there is no justice and the dog laws have not moved one bit.
And for those hopping all over my back because I think West Vincent and the District Attorney should have confiscated the gun used to shoot the dogs pending the outcome of a trial? Get over yourselves. That is not something unusual. What is unusual is the fact that one simple thing never happened did it?
Here is the docket link. The first page has a docket entry of bitter end of summer for a new trial date but have no way of knowing if it is for real. My somewhat jaded opinion is it would be easier for the District Attorney and Mr. Pilotti if everyone forgot about the dead puppies but why should we? So it can happen again?
But what do we expect with anything having to do with West Vincent? Normalcy?
Speaking of West Vincent, Chickenman just celebrated his 4th anniversary. Everyone should read his anniversary message because if you live in West Vincent with this local government no one can afford to be an ostrich with their head in the sand can they?
And in the whole West Vincent of it all, another thing I believe in is the preservation of Birchrunville Village. So check out the flyer titled BirchrunvilleFlyer – you had beter get involved if you love the village because it is about to be super-sized if government officials get their way. a development plan proposes to insert 3 additional buildings plus parking for almost 50 cars, effectively creating a commercial strip mall in front of the historic schoolhouse building!
Birchrunville People sent out a message:
Please join concerned residents for a discussion at the Birchrunville Café on Saturday August 17 at 10AM. Learn what you can do to help make sure township ordinances are properly enforced in order to retain the character of this historic village. Also…Please attend the next scheduled Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday August 26. For more information, please check out the web site http://birchrunvillepeople.com
I hope everyone is having a delightful summer! As always, thanks for stopping by!
Well lo and behold, that has happened. No it isn’t Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue or that Turning for Home out of Parx Racing run by that Barbara Luna and why on earth would you think that feds might be interested in little old them anyway? They are angels are they not? Do you sense sarcasm? Good.
I am sick of horse rescue. I love horses. I rode many moons ago, and don’t ride now and have never owned horses. Some say that means I have no business saying boo about horse rescue, but I am sorry, horse rescue is the new puppy mill in Pennsylvania. It is not really regulated and those who are supposed to keep track of horse rescues like that LAPs (Large Animal Protection Society) just seem to be asleep at the tractor or something.
And yup, sorry I am allowed an opinion on this. And my opinion is there is a lot of money being made by different folks only it is hard to keep track of the horses, their paperwork, who is caring for them, who is responsible for them and all that.
Every time we turn around a new “rescue” pops up. Some of them are retreads and contacts of already suspect rescues and some are new. I love the ones that say they are a business but also a rescue. Call me confused but are they businesses selling horse or a non-profit rescue? It is all very confusing and we’ve been over it a dozen times at least.
I would say the issues with horse rescues in Pennyslvania are legitimate given all the comments. And to those who leave comments with problems with horse rescues please go to the authorities. If the authorities won’t listen you need to stand up somewhere under your own steam as many others are doing and be counted. I do not know what else to say.
Published: Apr 30 2013 11:51:14 AM EDT Updated On: May 01 2013 04:40:48 PM EDT
NORTH HEIDELBERG TWP., Pa. –
Federal investigators raided a horse rescue operation in Berks County on Tuesday.
The FBI, acting on a federal search warrant, conducted the raid at Another Chance 4 Horses on Station Road in North Heidelberg Township.
Agents seized computers, cell phones, financial records, veterinary records and boxes of other items and documents related to the nonprofit operation and its sale and purchase of horses, according to an inventory list compiled by the agents.
Onto Justice for Argus and Fiona. The trial of Gabe Pilotti is coming up unless it does a dance, and here is an update from Mary Bock:
Talked to the D.A.’s office today, it’s been we’ll over 2 months since Mr. Pilotti shot Argus and Fiona and he still has the shot gun in his possession. As each court date comes and goes I am starting to lose faith in our justice system. How can this be that Tom Hogan was so passionate in his press conference announcing the charges they were going to file against Mr. Pilotti and now the D.A.’s office cant even seem to have the shot gun removed from his possession. I’ve been given excuse after excuse as to why they are not in the drivers seat. It is completely discouraging! Our justice system at its finest. I’ve been quiet, I’ve held back but now my patience is no more and I feel like my family and all of the people who have supported us have been taken advantage of and made to look like fools. 🙁 We have new dogs that we love very much, but we haven’t forgotten our old loves who were brutally shot by a sick man who then bragged about his conquest. Hoping and praying that our justice system will do what it is meant to do.
Of course there is reported drama over who actually “quit” and who was “fired” and are you surprised? What is it they say about truth being optional for these people?
So what the what? And if Barbara Luna and Turning for Home are moving horses does that mean all these people worried about all these horses for all this time were right? And if Barbara Luna is moving horse around like pawns on a chessboard so they finally have their paperwork together? And what does Barbara Luna and Turning for Home have to say about all of this? After all Off the Track Thoroughbred Rescue never magically just clapped their hands and twitched their nose for horses to appear, right? So what does Barbara Luna have to say for herself? Does she track all the stipend money doled out along with the horses?
And where is LAPs on this? You know the mythical Large Animal Protection Society? Do they have a handle YET on horse rescue in Chester County or are they pretending that probelms with horse rescues in Chester County isn’t really like problems with puppy mills in Lancaster County?
And speaking of LAPS, can someone please explain to me this brand new horse rescue over in Oxford that popped up on Facebook and loves everyone but doesn’t take donations? What rescue doesn’t need donations? For real? Are they on some unknown DuPont estate with a giant endowment running them or are they over maybe on the fan heiress’s farm?
And here I thought Triple D was only Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives.
This of course begs the question once more of how many horse rescues exist in Chester County and how are they regulated? I ask because my horse friends tell me one sick horse coming into a barn can put the entire barn at risk. Other animal rescues are regulated so how exactly do horse rescues get regulated?
Finally, someone sent me this photo. They described it as “horse training” at a horse rescue? So are these kids even old enough to drive or vote that are handling this horse? Looks dangerous, but what do I know, right?
Horse rescue remains a great mystery of life to me. I just wish anyone seemed to know what the rules and regulations were, right?