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

 

back to the dogs

Argus FionaArgus & Fiona the beautiful puppies gunned down in West Vincent are never far from our minds.  We are so happy that the generosity of so many have helped the Bock family begin to heal, but we sit and we wait for justice to be served. (and the photo is from one of the folks on the Justice For Argus & Fiona Page – isn’t it cute? Thanks Lynne!)

Surely intolerable cruelty will not go unanswered, right?

I can report that as per the Bock family,  Mr. Pilotti was arraigned yesterday – it was scheduled for today originally. The DA told Mary Bock that the trial will be within 180 days, except I pulled the docket and see a trial date for mid-May so I do not know what to think.  In my opinion I see these dates as fluid, but I am not a lawyer.

I was distressed to hear that perhaps the District Attorney’s office is unhappy with all the media attention? If true, what did they expect? The beloved puppies of a family with a bunch of small kids got shot in cold blood, so is the public NOT supposed to be outraged?

I also hear that Mr. Pilotti’s gun has not yet been confiscated, and shouldn’t it have been? (things are much easier when you just watch Law & Order on TV, right?) And I have been told by those who know better than I that the weapon he used to shoot those dogs should have been confiscated pending the outcome of the trial quite a while ago, so why hasn’t it? Does he dress it up and call it Bessie or something?

So here is the docket – it lists the ADA assigned as a Kevin Pierce .  I will also provide the link to where I downloaded it – on the PA Unified Judicial System Web site.

Please keep those letters, calls and e-mails going to elected officials about changing the laws and this case BUT we remain firm on we don’t want hate speech on the Facebook page or here, and cannot condone violence or inappropriate behavior.

This issue will soon have a day in court and we hope PEACEABLY many will join the Bocks on that day.  But until then, please give Chester Springs a break.  There should be no sight-seeing tour, that is gruesome.

You will note one other thing on the docket I am about to post. And that is Mr. Pilotti has applied for ARD. ARD is Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition. It is a program in PA designed for first-time non-violent offenders.  People who get DUIs the first time often go through this if accepted.

I hate to split hairs or be mean about it, but how is it Mr. Pilotti considers himself non-violent?  Wouldn’t you think it would be quite embarrassing and impossible for the District Attorney to allow this?  Does someone who shoots dogs and then leaves voice mails for neighbors about it qualify as non-violent?  Please note this isn’t a gun thing – this is a HOW he used the gun thing.

The docket currently lists May 15th for the court date of the criminal trial.  However, like I said, if the District Attorney’s office has suddenly grown media shy, there may be another incidence of hidey-case and they might quick move it again, but we hope for the best, right?  We would hate to think that the District Attorney doesn’t really care about this, right?

justice for argus & fiona: gabe pilotti goes to court

IMG_7297

Outside District Court in Pottstown 3.27.13. Photo credit AFD

All the confusion over whether or not Gabe Pilotti would go to court in Pottstown and when is over.  He did.  And NBC10 Philadelphia, The Daily Local, The Pottstown Mercury, and others were there. Many thanks to all of them for caring enough to cover. (Links to media coverage will be posted when available).  Thanks to Tom Hickey from Dog PAC for being there too.

NBC10 Philadelphia: Owner of Murdered Dogs Still Waiting for Apology From Alleged Killer

There were also lots and lots of police. Apparently they were there due to death threats received by Pilotti. As an aside,  no matter what he has done, that kind of eye for an eye vigilante justice has no place in civilized society.  That behavior is not condoned, and the Bocks are quite clear in their desire for the courts to be able to do their job and for laws being able to be created and changed to protect PA dogs. Vigilantism like that makes him the victim, when he is the one who shot defenseless puppies so why do that stuff?

Daily Local: Hearing waived in West Vincent dog killings

SOUTH COVENTRY — A 72-year-old man who shot and killed a neighbor’s two family dogs in February appeared in district court Wednesday as about 15 police officers stood guard outside.

Gabriel Pilotti, of the Chester Springs section of West Vincent Township, waived a preliminary hearing on charges of animal cruelty and recklessly endangering another person…Pilotti, who appeared in court with his attorney Thomas H. Ramsay of West Chester, did not speak as Magisterial District Judge James V. DeAngelo quickly moved through the procedures of waiving the preliminary hearing….About 15 law enforcement officers from various county and state agencies stood guard in and outside…

What no one seems to know is if Gabe Pilotti’s guns were confiscated pending outcome of case? Shouldn’t they be? (owning guns is a responsibility and did he behave responsibly?)  Also interesting to note that no one from district attorney’s office was present.  Don’t misunderstand me, they don’t have to be present at this stage but given the public outcry over this it seems they might have made an appearance.

So we all are on the same page, these are the charges at this point:

docket 1

Now this will head to county court at some point in West Chester. As per the docket (which is sort of updated) next up is a visit to Chester County Court in West Chester for a formal arraignment (if Pilotti and attorney don’t waive it ):

docket

Now I wonder if we can get the media to go to a hearing at Judge Cabry’s in Honeybrook next week on April 2nd for a little civil manner involving a horse rescue gal who isn’t always civil?  Will this hearing mean more problems for the owner of Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue?

And as a wee post script, Mary Bock had this to say with regard to the “apology” that Pilotti’s attorney referred to on NBC10:

….As soon as I got home I asked the DA’s office if such a letter came to them, they said they have seen no such letter.

justice for argus & fiona: court date confusion

UPDATE  3.27.13 11:33 a.m:   *UPDATE* Tom Hickey from DogPAC just called.  He says that his sources have told him the hearing is STILL on for Pilotti (Argus & Fiona) 3 pm at 1130 Ridge Rd in Pottstown, PA.  He asks that if you are able to come show support, to please do so in a peacable manner.  No one expects this hearing to last more than five minutes – it will undoubtedly get waived to county court.  But apparently, he does have to appear. This is all we know and what we have been told.

UPDATE 3.27.13 10:08 a.m.:   Greetings – this morning greets everyone who want justice for Argus & Fiona with confusion.  Some sources say Pilotti has waived his hearing so there is nothing today, other sources say everything is moving dates again.  So the long and short of it is, we just don’t know.  We will update when we do.  Sorry to put folks in a holding pattern.  We appreciate your support.

argus-and-fiona

UPDATE 7:40 P.M. (and note this is a moving target so who knows if it will move again or not):

Tom Hickey from DogPAC was kind enough to connect and tell us the hearing date had indeed changed….to TOMORROW. YES ANOTHER CHANGE TOMORROW (Wednesday, March 27th) at 3 p.m . If you can be there to show your support, THANK YOU. You know , they can keep changing it and we will still come, 1130 Ridge Road Pottstown, PA 19465  Justice, Love and Change ~ Argus and Fiona ♥ spread the word!  And VERY important – out of respect to the dogs and the Bock family, if you go tomorrow, PLEASE just bear witness quietly and show support.  No drama or the dogs will lose out. It is my belief this district justice doesn’t want this in his court, but I could be wrong.

EARLIER:

I feel a bit like a puppy chasing it’s tail this morning.  It seems that Justice for Argus & Fiona is not going to be so simple after all. We are hearing that the court date for Commonwealth v. Pilotti has been moved….again….we are hearing 3/28/2013 at 8:30 a.m. (We are waiting for media and other sources to confirm this 100% but that is what a law enforcement source has said.)

If you refer to the official court docket you will see that the date of the hearing in the court room of Magisterial District Judge James V. Deangelo has been moving about like a game of Chinese Checkers.  The original hearing was 3/28/13 at 9 am.  Then it was 4/4/2013 at 9 a.m. and then it was 4/4/2013 at 1 p.m. However on another docket most people never click on called the Public Court Summary is says “Next Action Date: 03/28/2013”

So we now have ANOTHER change that the court will neither confirm or deny: that the trial is BACK to 3/28/2013 or this THURSDAY as in the day before Good Friday and Easter Weekend.

I have to ask why this court date and the times are  moving at such an extraordinary rate.  Is this a ploy on the part of the defense, a/k/a Gabe Pilotti’s lawyer?  Or is it because the District Justice Court in Pottstown  keeps moving the date to avoid a media spotlight and crowds of Justice for Argus & Fiona supporters? Do the officials elected or otherwise in West Vincent have anything to do with this?

I want to remain calm, cool and collected and avoid conspiracy theories, but I have to tell you when you have VERY reliable sources telling you the D.A.’s office in Chester County is telling THEM the date is the 28th of March again or this Thursday as in two days from now, yet when I call out to the court and speak to a lovely woman named Rebecca who asks me how I heard this because (and I quote) “It is not the 28th…nothing formally has been changed…but you can check the docket later.” well it is darn frustrating.

So it seems to me something more is afoot.  I can’t help but think someone is trying to sneak something past everyone AND the poor Bock family who have a right to their day in court for their beloved pets.

Here is the address and phone number of D’Angelo’s court:

Magisterial District Judge:James V. DeAngelo
District Court 15-3-01
1130 Ridge Road
Pottstown, PA 19465-8612

Phone:
610-469-1910
Fax:610-469-1913

Townships of Spring City,
North Coventry, South Coventry, East Coventry, Warwick, East Nantmeal, East Vincent, and West Vincent

The Chester County District Attorney’s office telephone number is (610) 344-6801.  Feel free to call D.A. Tom Hogan’s office and ask what the CORRECT date is and why the date to a simple hearing in a Magisterial District Court is jumping around quite so much.

Regional and local media, you have been so incredibly generous in your coverage of this issue.  We hope you can see all this Tom Foolery over the magically moving court date will encourage you to resume coverage.   After all, will justice be so thorough without the eyes of the region upon her?

Supporters of dog issues please watch the court dockets too.  Apparently it is going to take more than a village to get justice after all.