It 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:
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:
And here is Mr. Ranck’s story in the York Daily Record:
By REBECCA LeFEVER Daily Record/Sunday News
York, PA –Lance 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.
I have uploaded a PDF of the docket as it appears this morning: Commonwealth of PA v. Gabriel Pilotti