requiem for a farmhouse

There she sits like a ghost on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer, East Whiteland Township. I I have photographed her in varying stages of decay over the past few years.

Her end is near, she lived a hard life, not sure it was a good life or not.

It is a crying shame no one loved her enough to keep her. She will be bulldozed soon to make way for McMansions. Because we all need more McMansions in Chester County, apparently.

Pennsylvania is a private property rights state, and it is just pathetic that the commonwealth isn’t a little more preservation minded.

the stolen berks county horse “caz” is still missing!

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Last week I told you about Caz the beautiful horse that was stolen for spite in Berks County.

Fox 29 Philadelphia featured a story on him the other day –

Hamburg Police Need Help Finding Stolen Horse Posted: Nov 15, 2013 11:40 AM EST Updated: Nov 15, 2013 11:47 AM EST

The photos in this post are of Caz. Please, if you are a horse person and even think you have seen him, please contact police. Caz’s owner is heartbroken.

Wouldn’t you be?

Please keep your eyes open and help Caz come home for the holidays.

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stolen horse alert! have you seen caz?

IMG_20131113_182052This 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 .

Any and all information is greatly appreciated.  

There is a court docket. (MDJReport MZM) .

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?

neigh it isn’t so! rumors abound about horse rescue?

luna2Wow, 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?)

Anyway….

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?

Seriously this is what PATHA says about Turning for Home:

With the help of the following organizations and farms, we have been able to succeed in our mission. Many of our adoptable horses can be seen on their websites or on Facebook.

  After the Races, Nottingham, PA

South Jersey Thoroughbred Rescue, Moorestown, NJ

Lisa Molloy Training Center, Suffolk, VA

Castle Rock Farm, West Chester, PA

Sports Equine, Doylestown, PA

Hill Haven Farm, Millstone Twp., NJ

Ivy Hill Farm, Sewell, NJ 

In spite of all the comments about how mean a bunch of Chester County horse people were being, I have to ask the question: were they actually right on the money all along?

I keep looking for press releases on changes at Turning for Home, but seriously can she run Turning for Home and live in Virginia and start a new non-profit?

Inquiring minds want to know if this is all just fate and coincidence or something else?  And if she can run Turning for Home and War Horses at Rose Bower, Brava, because wow, what a lot of work! And apparently as per BizaPedia the filings were done on this war horses thing in October 2012 and is that true?  GuideStar has them in their directory but no information to speak of.

 

luna 1

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justice for argus & fiona: pilotti trial day 1

argus and fiona

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.

And here is some of the media coverage:

Trial begins for 73-year-old accused of killing neighbor’s dogs
Mari A. Schaefer, Inquirer Staff Writer 

Posted: Monday, September 9, 2013, 4:54 PM

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.

Here is the Daily Local:

Daily Local: Motives differ as trial starts in dog shooting case

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.

back in the saddle

pretty

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?

Hankin_Settlement

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?

Chickenman 4th Anniversary Missive

http://chickenman.medianewsonline.com/

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!

feds raid a horse rescue and dog tales too

cowsSomeone told me months ago they heard the feds (as in law enforcement) were looking at horse rescues in PA.  Can’t for the life of me remember who said this, it was too long ago.

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.

Below is the tawdry tale of the FBI busting  Another Chance 4 Horses on Station Road in North Heidelberg Township.

FBI raids Another Chance 4 Horses in Berks County

69 News, (follow: @69news), news@wfmz.com
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.

 

For those dog lovers out there, yes there was a horrible case of animal cruelty again the other day in Chester County. It was in West Goshen and the kook claimed God told him to do it. Can you say schizoid?

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.
I just pulled up the docket and wow I get also why she is frustrated. When is the trial? Is it still May 15th or will they say yes to the defense motion to move it to 6/17/13? Why is there a bail hearing on 5/7/13? Why hasn’t the gun he used to shoot the dogs been confiscated? Does the District Attorney of Chester County care about this case? Animal cruelty cases?
When it comes to Justice for Argus and Fiona what in the hell is going on? It’s a little hard to tell so if you can find out from the District Attorney please let everyone know….
The wheels of justice are VERY confusing.