justice for argus & fiona

poolWhen I posted “the post” almost 48 hours ago now, I hoped this would take off as an issue so this family could have peace and justice, but truthfully this has surpassed my wildest imaginings. Justice for Argus & Fiona has spread far and wide and the Facebook page set up for support by the Bock family’s friends has almost 1500 members and continues to grow. And a petition has begun as well so feel free to sign it!

The outpouring of support is so amazing.  From every day people to almost every media outlet that exists regionally, people care about what happens. People who sometimes normally can’t agree on anything have come together with this issue because they want better things to happen then two dogs getting gunned down within twenty minutes (give or take) from when they escaped their home yard for a tragic first and only time.

kidsTo be clear, I am not a big fan of West Vincent government.  I think they rule oddly over one of the prettiest places in Chester County.  And weird and unnecessary things always seem to happen. And for Pete’s sake, elected officials seem to spend an inordinate amount of time worrying and spreading nonsense about a writer called Chickenman don’t they?

West Vincent the truth shall set you free but that is a topic for another day.  Well, it won’t be if you aren’t respectful of your citizenry at the upcoming Supervisors Meeting on Monday February 25th at 7:30 pm.  I know full well residents have contacted you and requested that the matter of the shooting to death of puppies Argus and Fiona be put on the agenda.  If you try to stifle your people on this, West Vincent, the hue and cry over attempting eminent domain at Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show will be child’s play by comparison.

West Vincent Township is located at :
729 St. Matthews Road
Chester Springs, PA 19425
 Phone: (610) 458-1601

a2Residents want to learn about firearm use in a residential area, what constitutes a farm, and how to make changes to bad laws.  And in addition to all of this, they strive to find a positive from this tragedy.  West Vincent, you owe decency and answers to your citizenry.

To the citizenry I urge you to make your voices heard respectfully.  Emotions are running hot on this issue and I was told by a reporter today about a woman who stood outside the dog shooter’s house yesterday  and just stood in his driveway yelling “Dog killer!!” at him for 5 minutes. That, I am so sorry, is not cool.   First of all he has guns and isn’t afraid to use them, and secondly he has neighbors who must feel under siege by all the media crawling around West Vincent, and third and most importantly things need to happen the right way with this.  Don’t stoop to the level of someone who shoots dogs, please.

Last evening on the heels of the truly remarkable coverage by NBC10 Philadelphia and CBS3 . Today came coverage from 6ABC, KYW News Radio 1060, Syndicated talk show host Michael Smerconish, Main Line Media News, The Daily Local, Patch, and a really good piece from Claudia Gomez at Fox 29. Tomorrow will bring more – the Inquirer and who knows what else.

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

If you want to help, get Pennsylvania lawmakers to update outmoded farm statutes and other laws so Pennsylvania’s dogs are PROTECTED.

If you want to help, go show support for these people at the upcoming West Vincent Board of Supervisors meeting and ask them to do their jobs as elected and appointed officials the RIGHT way.

If you want to help ask the Chester County DA to ensure that people use firearms responsibly as in DON’T fire them in residential areas and gun down dogs and possibly put unsuspecting humans at risk. Violence should NOT beget violence. As adults we have the free will and ability to pay this forward the RIGHT way.

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

Let us get back to the business at hand: Justice for Argus & Fiona and peace and love for their humans.  Together we can enact positive change so other dog owners don’t go through this. thanks for reading.The momentum is growing.  Truly together we can enact change. It might take time, lots of petitions and bus trips to Harrisburg, but we can do it.  And if we are successful, other pet owners and their furry friends might be spared unspeakable tragedy.

Now as far as the Chester County District Attorney goes, the following message was sent to media today:
From: “Billela, Barbara C.” <bbillela@chesco.org>
Subject: Dog Shooting Incident
Date: February 21, 2013 4:31:28 PM EST
To: “Billela, Barbara C.” <bbillela@chesco.org>
The Chester County District Attorney’s Office will have a press release tomorrow with significant new information about the dog shooting incident in Chester Springs, PA.

 Barbara Billela

Administrative Assistant to District Attorney Thomas P. Hogan,
First Assistant Michael Noone, and Chief of Staff Charles Gaza
Chester County District Attorney’s Office
201 West Market Street, Suite 4450
Post Office Box 2746
West Chester, PA  19380-0989
(610) 344-6827

I have no idea what this means, but I hope it means they are taking a second look.

I am also taking this opportunity to share something from the Justice for Argus & Fiona Facebook page written by Mary Bock:

mary1

mary2

The outpouring of support has been amazing.  Can I say that again?  There is even support from elected officials like State Senator Andy Dinniman.  Congressman Jim Gerlach has also been made aware, so I urge anyone who reads this to contact elected officials about this horrible turn of events.

Now a lawyer I know sent me three things for people to read, so please do:

459-501 statute re dogs

Crueltytoanimals

Ingram

I have to say this whirlwind has left me dog tired, so I can’t imagine how the Bocks feel.  More media coming tomorrow I hear. And oh yes, please check out the Daily Local article by Michael Price:

Officials: West Vincent dog shooting legal under state law

 By MICHAEL N. PRICE mprice@dailylocal.com

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

WEST VINCENT — The Chester County District Attorney’s Office is expected to release new information Friday in the shooting deaths of two family dogs in Chester Springs last week.

According to a statement from a District Attorney’s Office spokesperson, authorities will release “significant” new details related to the killing of two Bernese Mountain Dogs who were shot on Feb. 12 after they escaped a fenced-in yard in the unit block

The District Attorney’s Office previously determined that the shooting was legal due to a century-old state law allowing someone to kill animals that pursue their own livestock or pets.

 Officials said Thursday afternoon that investigators received additional information in the case and that the investigation is ongoing.

Mary Bock, the owner of the two dogs, spoke out Thursday about the experience and expressed hope that her pets’ deaths may lead to a change in the law that allowed their killing to initially be ruled legal.

 Bock also spoke about the neighbor, Gabriel Pilotti, who told police he killed the dogs with a shotgun because they entered an enclosure housing his sheep. She said Pilotti expressed no remorse over the dogs’ deaths when her husband, William Bock, confronted him last week.

“It seemed like he almost enjoyed it a little bit,” Mary Bock said. “He was so cold and callous, he feels like he did nothing wrong. There were a million things he could have done differently, and he chose to pick up that gun and kill them.”

The dogs, 2-year-old Argus and 1-year-old Fiona, were shot less than 15 minutes after escaping the Bock’s two-acre property through a fence that was damaged by a falling tree limb several days before. The dogs eventually made their way to Pilotti’s nearby property, where they began an attempt to “herd” his sheep, Bock said.

My previous post which was the first thing out there on this horrible tragedy can be found by clicking on this link called “intolerable cruelty”. And I know those funkadellic horse rescue folks think I have forgotten all of that, they should think again.  I am hoping now that the media knows how to get out to Chester County they will check it all out too. (Well Fairview Road in Glenmoore is not that far away from the scene of the dog crime is it?) Especially since Victor Fiorello wrote on Foobooz today about Philadelphia chefs wanting to add horse meat to the menu. (As an aside, can I tell you how I will now never go to a Mark Vetri or Peter McAndrews restaurant again as a result?)

Ok people, thanks for reading, thanks for supporting Justice for Argus & Fiona.  Hug your pets and say a prayer to St. Francis.

Over and out.

Shooting of dogs sparks ill will in Chester Springs

Carolyn Davis, Inquirer Staff Writer

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

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

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

APRIL SAUL / Staff Photographer

To the Bock family of Chester Springs, the Bernese mountain dogs Fiona and Argus were happy, loving pets. To neighbor Gabriel Pilotti, they were apparently pests.

And when he found them loose among his sheep last week, he shot them dead.

“It was just really vicious,” Mary Bock said. The dogs had not touched the sheep.

As of Thursday evening, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office and the West Vincent Township police still were trying to determine what happened the morning of Feb. 12 in a part of Chester County where sheep, horses, and alpacas amble in yards larger than the patches of green in more urbanized suburbs and smaller than more rural farms.

On that day, the dogs, two-year-old Argus and one-year-old Fiona, got out of their enclosed backyard when a tree branch fell and collapsed part of the fence, Mary Bock said. The dogs ran through yards of residences on the street behind them and ended up on the 72-year-old Pilotti’s property, which includes a pen where he keeps sheep.

Around 11:30 a.m., Pilotti saw the dogs near his sheep, pulled out the 20-gauge single-shot shotgun he legally owns, and fired, said West Vincent Police Chief Michael Swininger. Mary Bock said police told her Pilotti first fatally shot Argus in the face, then shot and killed Fiona.

Police investigated and sent their report to the District Attorney’s Office. That office has not filed charges against Pilotti, citing a portion of the Pennsylvania dog law that says, “Any person may kill any dog which he sees in the act of pursuing or wounding or killing any domestic animal.”

That could change.

“We have gotten new information and are continuing to investigate,” said First Assistant District Attorney Michael G. Noone, adding that a development could come Friday.

Pilotti could not be reached for comment.

And oh yeah, people from some church called Calvary Fellowship in Downingtown have been calling the Bock family and I have to ask why? And what do the West Vincent police have as far as info for the family?  Someone says they want to speak with them today?

 

intolerable cruelty

dogsWhen I saw a post on a friend’s Facebook wall this evening from one of their friends, I had to read it half a dozen times to make sure I wasn’t reading incorrectly. When I read what I read I started to cry, and also thought I would throw up. It was Just. That. Awful.

Here:

intolerable cruelty

I have to ask why these things happen in West Vincent Township? I am told this occurred in West Vincent Township within the last week?  This is crazy and it is sick and this guy shooting up dogs should not be able to hide behind antiquated farming statutes.

Do we really believe this guy with the gun doesn’t know his neighbors’ dogs?  Do we believe that he really gave these dogs a chance? Can it be said if he had, they would be with their humans?

map of area

I am generally speaking a big supporter of farmers, and I get how farmers do not want livestock worried in a field. The thing is this: if you are a farmer or are dog saavy you know when a dog is herding, playing, or attacking.

Oh and here is a voicemail left for a neighbor (who turned this over to grieving family and police apparently) by the dog shooter:

I just don’t believe this farmer guy did not have any options other than to gun down two dogs who could still be considered puppies. The family knows nothing can bring back these beloved pets.  But they do feel there should be some accountability – the wife said to me in a note:

[We] know that nothing will bring our pups back, but if we could save another family from having to go through this, we would do anything. This man will do this again, I know this in my heart.  He is using this law as justification and is showing absolutely no remorse

These people have little kids.  How the heck do you tell little kids their neighbor shot their beloved dogs? And yes I get there are laws designed to protect farmers, but most of the farmers I know wouldn’t just shoot puppies.  They might round up the dogs and turn them over to animal control for return to their families but they wouldn’t just gun down a neighbor’s pets.

My heart bleeds for these people.  I think West Vincent resdients should bring this up in person at the next township meeting. I think the media should investigate. I think the Chester County SPCA and Humane Society should investigate.

2.20.2013 UPDATE:

I am told by sources that the Chester County SPCA is going out to investigate today?  Here is hoping they check things out thoroughly.  Sources tell me this guy really isn’t much of a farmer that the sheep mostly keep his lawn cut?  Also if this guy is in a R2 (think that is the residential zone) in West Vincent, does he legally have enough acres to keep farm animals/livestock which is what sheep are?  If his acreage with the amassed lots he owns is under 10 acres how does that work?  I mean out there you must have a minimum of 2 acres to keep one horse for personal use, right? But farm animals are different and how many years has this guy had sheep?  I ask because is it not true if he does NOT have the correct acreage he could be in violation of current zoning and prior to the 2010 revisions as well? Are all his grazing or “pasture” areas fenced in? Is he connected over there or something?  Also, if this guy is in a residential zone, is he compliant with PA gaming laws in a residential area with regard to the safety zone for discharging rifles and shot guns?

I had more farmers contact me today.  Some who were very amusing to me because they scoffed at the idea of this guy really being a farmer. (I don’t know so I leave it up to the experts as it were.)  Including one who said he had to shoot a feral dog years ago because it mauled and killed two of his sheep – he said he hated to do it, but in that case the dog was wild and was caught in the act.  This farmer said to me if he had seen these dog he would have maybe fired a warning shot, but most likely he would have plunked them in a stall in his barn and called the police to return the dogs to the owners with a warning.

I found a reference to PA law below – not a lawyer, not sure if it applies, but read it:

Safety zones – 34 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2505

§ 2505.  Safety zones.
(a)  General rule.–Except as otherwise provided in this
title or to any political subdivision, its employees or agents,
which has a valid deer control permit issued under section
2902(c) (relating to general categories of permits), it is
unlawful for any person, other than the lawful occupant, while
hunting game or wildlife, taking furbearers of any kind, or
pursuing any other privilege granted by this title, to hunt for,
take, trap, pursue, disturb or otherwise chase any game or
wildlife or to discharge, for any reason, any firearm, arrow or
other deadly weapon within or through a safety zone, or to shoot
at any game or wildlife while it is within the safety zone
without the specific advance permission of the lawful occupant
thereof.
(b)  Penalty.–A violation of this section is a summary
offense punishable by a fine of not less than $200 nor more than
$500. A second or subsequent offense within two calendar years
is a summary offense punishable by a fine of not less than $500
nor more than $1,000.
(c)  Definition.–As used in this section, the term “safety
zone” means:
(1)  Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (2), the
area within 150 yards around and that area which is below the
highest point of any occupied dwelling house, residence, or
other building or camp occupied by human beings, or any barn,
stable, or other building used in connection therewith or any
attached or detached playground of any school, nursery school
or day-care center.
(2)  When applied to properly licensed persons hunting
with bow and arrow or crossbow, the area within 50 yards
around and that area which is below the highest point of any
occupied dwelling house, residence or other building or camp
occupied by human beings or any barn, stable or other
building used in connection therewith and the area within 150
yards around and that area which is below the highest point
of any attached or detached playground of any school, nursery
school or day-care center.
(Nov. 25, 1988, P.L.1082, No.125, eff. imd.; Mar. 29, 1996,
P.L.41, No.13, eff. imd.; Dec. 19, 1996, P.L.1442, No.184, eff.
60 days; June 28, 2002, P.L.474, No.79, eff. 60 days; June 23,
2004, P.L.435, No.43, eff. July 1, 2004)

Cross References.  Section 2505 is referred to in section
2741 of this title.

West Vincent Zoning: See Satndards for Raising Animals Codified-Draft%20ZO-TOC-4-12-12 (Also see other pages like page 83 of the West Vincent Zoning Code

Excerpt from Gaming LawsWV Zoning 1

004.bmp007.bmp

pine

So this Bing image shows how residential this is, right?  Maybe Chester CountyDA needs to look at discharge of weapons in R2 zone ? Do you all not see
numerous dwellings that *possibly* could be well within the 450 ft gun safety zone?  I am told the area where he keeps the sheep is fenced, but in poor repair, with a section patched with plastic garden fence? If dogs as big as sheep can get in, sheep can get out, right?  Again, is he possibly in potential violation of zoning and gun laws?  Pine Drive is the first development approved in WVT in the late 60’s or early 70’s, correct?Isn’t it the only development ever approved with 1 ACRE LOTS?  So what about that safety zone in the entire residential development and discharging a weapon? Guns are a hot nationwide topic are they not?  Even in PA?

FIVE people have sent me photos. Here are the ones pertinent to this discussion:

k00fwg 1

1zczcj62e54fue