#chescojustice served up on a tuesday afternoon

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Sometimes you just have to grin from ear to ear. Michael Noone, the current First Assistant DA in Chester County PA has announced intent to bring a civil public nuisance action against #suNOco / #EnergyTransfer regarding the construction and operation of the Mariner East pipeline project.

Sunoco has 60 days to take corrective action and if the nuisance has not been corrected, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office will bring a civil action in the Chester County Court of Common Pleas alleging actions both past and present that create a public nuisance and which should be abated, restrained, or such other relief granted.

HERE IS THE PRESS RELEASE:

cj1

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But hey you know, these pipelines and pipeline companies are just misunderstood, right?  But no worries, certain state reps will just take more tours with pipeline companies and ignore their constituents, right?

Thank goodness for people who care enough to stick their necks out for what is right.

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gone but not forgotten

On February 19th, 2013 this blog broke the story of intolerable cruelty in West Vincent Township.  It was about the unwarranted shooting of two puppies named Argus & Fiona by a man named Gabe Pilotti in West Vincent Township. Since that time there has been much back and forth and legal hop scotch as people wait for a trial date so justice may be done the right way through our legal system.

This morning was supposed to have been the court date at the Chester County Courthouse in downtown West Chester, PA.  These were the charges levied back in February by the Chester County District Attorney’s Office:

CHARGES

1 M1 18 § 5511 §§A2.1IA Cruelty To Animals 02/12/2013 T 295420-6

2 M1 18 § 5511 §§A2.1IA Cruelty To Animals 02/12/2013 T 295420-6

3 M2 18 § 2705 Recklessly Endangering Another Person 02/12/2013 T 295420-6

argus and fiona

But according to my sources, no court date took place earlier this morning.  (I am sick or I would have been at the courthouse, truthfully.)

The Bock family has suffered through the loss of their dogs and the ups and downs of the justice system, and I feel really badly for them and the memory of Argus & Fiona.  No one has asked for the sun, moon, or stars.  No one has condoned or asked for vigilante justice.  All anyone has asked for is that the justice system see this through and for lawmakers to consider strengthening dog laws in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania so families and pets in this state not only have legal recourse, but laws that aren’t antiquated and might actually protect innocent pet owners and their domestic animals.

We’re still waiting.  And we want everyone to know we have not forgotten Argus & Fiona.  And neither should you.

I know that West Vincent Township would love everyone to forget about Argus  & Fiona because it happened in that warped Mayberry.  And like everything else that happens in West Vincent, it seems to be a bit of a hot mess still doesn’t it?  After all, why is it months ago when the charges were announced, why is it that West Vincent Township PD couldn’t confiscate one shotgun pending the outcome of the legal proceedings?

Mary Bock commented the other day on the Justice for Argus & Fiona Facebook page:

To all the wonderful people who have been supporting us and this fight for justice for Argus and Fiona, I wanted to give you a little update as to where we stand.  Because the defense has control over  the dates for court appearances, our initial main concern was having the gun removed from Pilotti’s possession….but because he has an “emotional attachment” to the gun it wasn’t that easy…..The DA suggested…that the gun be placed in a lock box at his neighbor’s house. The background checks were done on the neighbor and the gun was handed over….Sometimes it’s very hard to get any information…Thank you everyone for the continued support and all of your kind words

Again, I am not having a gun debate here (nor am I deliberately slamming or questioning the Chester County District Attorney’s office ) but I still fail to understand that since there has been a reckless endangerment charge pending why West Vincent didn’t pick up that gun and simply lock it up for safekeeping when those charges landed months ago? I have been told that is common practice when there are legal proceedings pending so I have always found this back and forth on what should be fairly cut and dry confusing.  I also do not get how you could have an emotional attachment to a shotgun, do you? I sure hope that West Vincent has periodically checked to see that this gun is in fact locked up  in this neighbor’s gun safe don’t you?

I do know that people in West Vincent are holding their breath still on this and let me be abundantly clear, I embrace responsible dog ownership just like I embrace responsible gun ownership.  I also respect the farmers’ rights to defend their livestock in crisis situation, but this was never a crisis situation because these puppies never attacked anything did they? I am also still at sixes and sevens as to whether or not Gabe Pilotti is actually a farmer or truly a hobbyist?  There is a difference.

I will also state again for the record that despising what Mr. Pilotti did in February is honest human emotion.  However I do not condone the behavior of people who stood in the middle of roads shouting with bullhorns or trespassed on people’s property or threatening him.  That is all wrong.

I post today to reaffirm that  people have not forgotten these poor dogs and what fate befell them and to remind lawmakers that they can’t just talk a good game when it comes to protecting our domestic pets like dogs.  They actually have to get off their duffs and DO something.  These pets aren’t property like an azalea bush or an ear of corn, they are part of our families. And since Argus & Fiona were shot to death we have heard of other cases of intolerable cruelty like this in Pennsylvania and other states.

Please contact your lawmakers again about Justice for Argus & Fiona and for changes to the dog laws and animal cruelty laws so animals are properly protected. I would also go as far as to suggest not only contacting your state elected officials (as in State Representatives and State Senators) but your U.S. Congressman as well for stronger Federal laws.  For most of us in Chester County, we are either served by Pat Meehan or Jim Gerlach.

And I really hope some day that Mr. Pilotti can express remorse to the Bocks eye to eye, don’t you? After all how will that man ever have peace in his own world without doing that?

I will close this post with a Buddhist prayer I find oddly apropos here today (yes I know not the norm you expect from a Catholic but never the less):

By the power and truth of this practice:
May all beings have happiness and the cause of happiness
May all beings be free from sorrow and the causes of sorrow
May all never be separated from the sacred happiness which is sorrow less
And may all live in equanimity without too much attachment and too much aversion
And live believing in the equality of all that lives.

-The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

 

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.

for the dogs

HeidiIt was February 19th when I broke the story here of the intolerable cruelty of humans. What happened to the Bock family and Argus and Fiona is still almost unspeakably horrible.  But thanks to the love and amazing kindness of friends and strangers, what had begun as horribly negative is taking turns towards positive, so I thought I would post again.

I had stopped posting about this because I had concerns about the extreme reactions I had heard about including the woman with a bull horn screaming in the middle of a street. Or all the people who drove out to West Vincent to stalk the streets and see “where it happened”.   Behavior like that is as unacceptable to me as shooting the dogs was and we’ll leave it at that.

The Bock family was blessed recently with a rescue Berner.  Mary told all of us and she wrote:

Look what found us and is helping us heal!  Her name is Heidi, she’s a rescue.  She came to us Friday, spent Saturday at the doggie spa and its been nothing but love ever since!  She’s almost 5 and is loving all the attention.  She’s been great helping the kids heal and we think she’ll be awesome with the future puppies.  The way we see it, she is the first dog Argus and Fiona saved.  Hopefully there will be many more in the future!

How beautiful is that?  The Bocks, as was reported in the media also met with our State Senator Andy Dinniman.  Andy is a huge dog advocate.  Here is what Andy is up to as per West Chester Patch:

Dog Shooting Should Be Curbed, State Sen. Says

Andy Dinniman wants to make it more difficult to legally shoot a dog, and easier for grieving pet owners to sue.

ByTom Sunnergren  Email the author  March 2, 2013

In the aftermath of the shooting of two Chester County dogs, state Senator Andy Dinniman will introduce a pair of bills punishing animal abuse, the senator announced on his website last week.

According to the release, Dinniman’s first bill changes the circumstances under which it is legal to shoot a dog. Under Dinniman’s bill, some Pennsylvania residents would be allowed to shoot a dog that entered their property if it was chasing another animal “with apparent intent to harm.” The current law allows residents to shoot dogs that are simply pursuing another animal. The bill would apply only to state counties with populations of over 210,000, of which Chester County is one.

The second bill would allow grieving pet owners to sue if their pet is killed on their property. The maximum penalty would be $12,000.

Dinniman said the bills were written in response to the Feb. 12 West Vincent incident in which a man allegedly shot his neighbor’s two dogs after they ran onto his property, but wouldn’t punish the defendant.

“My bill, even if passed, is not retroactive and will have no direct affect on the parties in West Vincent one way or the other,” the state Senator said. “But this awful shooting illustrates what can happen and the need for our justice system to better recognize the unique role pets fill in our families.”

As many of us learned, what happened to Argus and Fiona has happened to other dogs.  As a matter of fact we had heard on the Justice For Argus & Fiona page on Facebook of another case from up around Lebanon, PA.  I think the Bocks inspired them to come forward to heal:

for the dogs

And here is Mr. Ranck’s story in the York Daily Record:

Dog owner whose pets were shot wants law to require notification

Lance Ranck of Springfield Township said his dogs were shot by a nearby farmer when they got loose Dec. 26. Ranck believes state law should require anyone who shoots an animal to report it to police.

By REBECCA LeFEVER Daily Record/Sunday News

 York, PA –dog storyLance Ranck’s two dogs — Zoe, a 1-year-old herding dog, and Izzy, an 8-month old black lab — were shot and killed Dec. 26 after they broke through an electric fence. The dogs ran to a nearby farm and were shot when the landowner saw them advancing toward his livestock, said Melissa Smith with the York County SPCA.

Ranck of Springfield Township said he understands that if Zoe or Izzy had attacked and hurt the sheep, he would have been liable for the damages. But what he doesn’t understand is why the state doesn’t require someone who shoots an animal to notify police.

Instead, he said, his dogs were buried somewhere on the farm.

Ranck said he and his wife noticed a problem with their electric fence and they called a technician to come look at it. Just after they thought dog collars were fixed, he said, the dogs managed to get beyond the fence and run about a half mile from their home in the 8300 block of Fishel Creek Road to a neighboring farm.

“If not for the snow that had fallen that night, we would’ve never known where they went,” Ranck said.

He and his wife followed the dogs’ tracks to the farm.

The farmer, who has not been charged, according to Smith, could not be reached for comment….

Ranck said the loss of Zoe and Izzy, which he and his wife owned since they were puppies, has been tough to handle.

“We know our dogs shouldn’t have been off the property,” he said. “But if someone has the right to shoot them they should be accountable to report it.”

Ranck said it’s not about “wanting something” from the farmer, but seeing if the law can be changed to address future incidents. He’s reached out to state Rep. Ron Miller, R-Jacobus, and they plan to meet to discuss his concerns.

“If we hadn’t been able to follow their tracks we might still think they were just lost,” Ranck said. “A flier on the street wouldn’t help us if they’re dead.”

What haunts me here is Mr. Ranck’s words “State Police refused to go out and our county SPCA finally went out after we notified them that we are going public…2 months later”. (However, should I be surprised about that given the takes I hear from folks who talk about horse rescue and that group LAPS?)

It just goes to show everyone how badly laws need to change.  No one wants to take away all rights of farmers, but there needs to be better protection for the dogs.  And the media needs to be the public’s partner in this.  It’s all well and good that Fox29 posted an update about the Bocks beginning again and being blessed with a rescue dog, but we need media outlets like them to not forget that people want laws to change.  The playing field is past due for a leveling.

Please write your state representatives and state senators if you live in Pennsylvania.  Do it for the dogs.

People have been asking when Gabriel Pilotti is going to court.  It seems to be a bit of a moving target.  First it was 3/28 then it was moved to 4/4 at 9 am, yet when I pulled the court docket just now, it gives the time as 4/4 at 1 pm.  This means, people are going to have to watch the dockets closely.

See:

court date

I have uploaded a PDF of the docket as it appears this morning: Commonwealth of PA v. Gabriel Pilotti

 

NEW! more on justice for argus & fiona: chester county district attorney press release

CHARGES FILED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

argus and fionaNow 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.

21308714_BG1Chesco sheep owner charged in killing of two dogs

Charges Filed In Shooting Of Neighbors’ 2 Dogs

Prior posts on this blog about Argus & Fiona:

justice for argus & fiona

intolerable cruelty

UPDATE 2.22.2013 8:12 PM – Here is the complaint in native format courtesy of NBCPhiladelphia