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

 

argus & fiona’s laws? can we do that?

DSC_0105I woke up thinking of the laws that need to change, and in my mind a bunch of things need to happen:

  1. Punishment AND fines for animal cruelty need to be tougher all the way around.  It needs to mean more than an inconvenience
  2. Pennsylvania as in the Commonwealth needs to recognize companion animals like dogs as more than property- people discussed that a few years ago when trying for stiffer puppy mill laws but I do not recall anything than some stuff getting watered down. I bet Tom Hickey from the state is watching this blog, and I would like him to connect with me.
  3. Also farm statutes must be updated so there is less “fuzzy” area. My thought is two-fold: protect the dog owners better, but still give farmers recourse. I have not fleshed that thought out anymore than that but in PA we need to remember the importance of farms as they do drive enough of state economy still.
  4. I believe that municipalities like West Vincent that used to be extremely rural need to be made to look at their zoning more closely.  After all, when you get down to it development doesn’t happen without them does it? So it is incumbent upon them to work harder for better relationships between old and new.  Also what defines a farmer versus a hobbyist with tax breaks?
  5. Gun and gaming laws. I do not want this tragedy to be overshadowed and used by a national political debate. My frame of reference is simple: school people on existing laws because one of the things so irresponsible about what happened is the fact a shotgun was discharged like that in what I am told is R2 residential as opposed to land area zoned agricultural and am I wrong in that?

argus and fionaState Senator Andy Dinniman who represents a lot of us and is a huge animal advocate is working on some law having to do with dog owners being able to sue for damages.  He says and I quote ” I am drafting a law that would allow pet owners to civilly sue those who harm or kill their pets.”  I do not know the specifics other than that but would ask that if some of his staff is watching this blog if they could  post specifics as they occur.

I urge you to contact your lawmakers on a state and federal level and ask for change that will protect our dogs better. They are a part of our families not like an ear of corn.

In Chester County to connect with Andy Dinniman:

One North Church Street
West Chester, PA 19380
Phone: 610.692.2112
Fax: 610.436.1721
Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m

Andy@pasenate.com

In Chester County to bump it up to a Federal level to Congress:

Chester County
Jim Gerlach
 111 East Uwchlan Avenue
 Exton, PA 19341
610.594.1415 tel
610.594.1419 fax

Pat Meehan
 940 West Sproul Road
Springfield, PA 19064
Phone: (610) 690-7323
Fax: (610) 690-7329

Together if we focus together and ask for Justice for Argus & Fiona, maybe we can propel that forward to someday mean Argus & Fiona’s Laws.

I will also comment briefly that in spite of media spin the Facebook page Justice for Argus & Fiona , it was set up with a peaceable goal of true justice.  As in through the legal system, including changing laws to better protect dogs.

After all, one of the people who helped set up the Facebook page was Mary Bock, who is a truly lovely and gentle woman who has shown such grace and peace in the face of unbelievable family tragedy.   Make no misunderstanding with regard to that page as it is not for deviant purposes and  implication is resented. People are banned and comments are removed. Posting and commenting is a privilege, not a right.

However, the unfortunate reality is that in this world two of the most heated topics in the world are issues having to do with children and pets, and this issue involves BOTH.

Below are some media snippets from yesterday afternoon as the region learned the dogs would start to have justice, and did not die in vain.  I will comment that I am struggling with the statement Mr. Pilotti is purported to have released about remorse and prayers for the family.  Part of me hopes it is true, yet part of me wonders why he simply did not do that before the media and public got news of what happened?  Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t he have almost a week in between the actual date of tragedy and media whirlwind to pray and show remorse?

In any event, those of us supporting the Bock family do not support violence.  Nor do we support nut jobs that stand outside anyone’s home screaming anything. No matter WHAT has transpired, we as a society cannot swirl downwards into utter lawlessness.  More bad acts will not solve any issue.

So I ask all of you to use your energy to speak out for dogs.  Get laws changed.  And oh yes, no matter what West Vincent says if you live there you have a right to be heard at the Supervisors meeting.  They may decline comment, but you have the right to public privilege of the floor or public comment.  They do not have to respond, but as elected and appointed officials part of their job is to listen. Just be polite.

I am told that this coming Monday is a normal Supervisors meeting. Monday at 7:30 PM at their Township building 729 St. Matthews Road, Chester Springs, PA 19425

Media has reported that West Vincent has not really been chatting with anyone.  I guess “unavailable” and “declining comment” would describe it best? In any event, they provide their township contact information on their website as:

729 St. Matthews Road Chester Springs, PA 19425

Phone: (610) 458-1601 Fax: (610) 458-1603

E-Mail  office@westvincenttwp.org




As always, thanks for stopping by. And to that eternally curious woman who keeps asking a mutual friend about this blog to the point of obsession? Lady, if you have to ask you don’t need to know. Grow up and quit looking for chickenman conspiracies behind every bush and hillock in West Vincent.  (No I do not know who chickenman is, nor do I care.  Even chickens have First Amendment Rights…)

Face it, you live in warped Mayberry and the sooner you own that the more at ease your  mind will be. I know it is hard for some to fathom that I post recipes and discuss politics and local issues, but so be it.  Far more interesting than standing in someone’s kitchen telling birthing stories and discussing which mustard goes best with a honey baked ham, yes?

TTFN

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