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:



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



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?


pay to play lament: west chester area school district teachers picket

“Pay up!”

“The district has the money!”

Ah yes, the things that are heard on the picket line.  As in yesterday, in West Chester.

I have written about the ongoing issues between the teachers and the West Chester Area School District before.   And I am about to be the most unpopular girl at the dance again as far as these teachers and their supporters go. However, much like yesterday’s teachers who picketed and those who support them, I am also allowed to express my opinion on the topic.

One teacher heard hollering for the benefit of the television cameras who bore witness yesterday said it wasn’t about the money, it was about making a “living wage”.  I am sorry, did I hear her correctly?  Are teachers in the West Chester Area School District so grossly underpaid? Am I to envision the need for tip jars on every teacher’s desk throughout the district?

I truly don’t think so.

And whomever wants to can jump all over my back for having that opinion, but after following this story off and on for close to a year now, that is how I feel.

As I said before, I will say again:

Ok, here is what I think: Both sides will of course (to an extent) interpret the facts to suit their cause.  No one is perfect.  When the economy was better, I am sure everyone can agree this district spent like a drunken sailor on leave, correct?

So now times are tight.  Funding, grants, you name it are down. Which means both sides need to give as they get.

However, that being said, I think this teachers’ union and others need to wake up and smell reality.

They aren’t being asked to suffer a great injustice if they have to contribute towards their healthcare benefits!  Give me a break!  I am one of the millions of Americans who pays for their own healthcare out-of-pocket.  As in 100%.  And oh yes, I paid for breast cancer doing that and survived just fine.

Salaries.  My goodness, where else can you earn a fine salary and take off a few months a year on the taxpayers if you so choose? Wow.  Most of us in the private sector have considered ourselves lucky for years if we managed to get a cost of living salary increase!  Sorry, but between the salaries and the retirement benefits that enable teachers to not only retire early, but if they have been paying attention, retire rich, I do not feel the love in a need for an 18.3% bump up over three years.

Accountability.  Charter schools and private schools hold teachers accountable.  Heck most jobs in this country exist with a review process as part of the every day  dealio. Public school teachers should be equally accountable.  But if everyone is accountable than those who should have either chosen other career paths or been put out to pasture can’t slide by any longer, can they?

But is the school district itself with 100% clean hands here? Doubtful, never seen one that was.  School districts have all sorts of issues and skewed politics.

Now, do I believe there are people who are underpaid? Yes.  School District employees like teacher’s aides are often grossly underpaid.  But the teachers?  I am not so sympathetic.

And  I have a comment to the blond teacher who said on camera “we want fair wages for our work…we live in the district too.” My comment?  Simple.  If these teachers live in the district then they KNOW that there are a lot of people living on a LOT less than they have.  People without jobs, struggling to make ends meet.  People without benefits.

The day of the fatted calf is done.  These teachers have a LOT more than a lot of other people. Period.  This economy sucks for a lot of people, not just teachers.

If all of West Chester Area School District were so fabulous then they would not have kids being home schooled. Or in Charter Schools.  Or in private schools. Or in Catholic Schools.

I am sorry, but it truly upsets me to see people who have decent jobs and benefits most can only dream of  complain chronically that it is never enough.  If it isn’t enough, then they have options including going to work for other school districts and moving.

But to stand there and complain when so many more are going without right in their own district, well enough is enough. Grow up.

And think twice before you roll up on this blog and accuse me from hating teachers.  I don’t hate teachers. I know a lot of them.  And some of the teachers I know live with a LOT less all the way around than the teachers in the West Chester Area School District.

Overall, I think a lot of school districts spent a lot of years being bloated and neither teachers nor administrations planned adequately for “rainy days”.  Furthermore, yes times are tough, but in my mind that doesn’t mean you just shell out more to some, while so many others go wanting.  And there are a lot of people in Chester County, let alone West Chester who are seriously wanting and in need.  Maybe these teachers need to go volunteer at local soup kitchens, homeless shelters and food banks – see what real need is. Right in Chester County.  Right in West Chester.

I apologize again for those who feel I am being strident.  It’s just the simple fact that SO many are detrimentally affected by the current state of affairs as far as the economy in Pennsylvania and the US as a whole.  These teachers aren’t by themselves suffering on a little deserted island.

West Chester Teachers Rally For New Contract By David Kinchen, Reporter

FOX 29 News September 25, 2012

West Chester teachers say they have been working without a contract since June 30th and want the West Chester Area School District to pay up.

“We happen to know that the school district (is) finding money and has the money to settle these contracts,” said Debbie Fell, president of the West Chester Area Education Association. …

District leaders say the school budget is fine for this year.  However they are worried about deficit projections up to $18 million two years from now and want to be careful about future financial agreements.

Union leaders say they have already saved the district nearly $3 million by agreeing to pay a pay freeze last year.

Both sides will continue negotiations on October 10th

West Chester Patch: West Chester Teachers Rally for a New Contract

Members of the West Chester Education Association gathered outside the district’s administration office to rally support for a new contract.

ByJake Speicher Email the author  5:45 am

The West Chester Education Association held a rally in front of the district’s administration building before Monday night’s school board meeting.

“We didn’t get in this for the money,” said teachers’ association president Deb Fell in front of a crowd of district teachers.  “All we want is a fair wage.”

Didn’t get into it for the money?  Really?  Good to know, from an outsider’s perspective it is hard to tell. Seems to me the teachers are telling us ordinary lay people that we are just supposed to work our tail feathers off to support them? At the expense of what we can afford? Do they think that the WCASD administration is just going to pull the money out of thin air? Or knock over a leprechaun’s pot of gold at the end of a rainbow?