Northumberland County was formed in 1772 from parts of Lancaster, Berks, Bedford, Cumberland, and Northampton Counties and named for the county of Northumberland in northern England. It’s pretty darn rural.
But they apparently also shoot dogs first there and ask questions later.
I don’t know anyone in Northumberland County, certainly don’t know this family named McNett who just lost their dog to a trigger happy gent named Wayne Van Blargan, but I am going to post about it anyway. The similarities between this and what happened to Argus and Fiona at the hands of Gabe Pilotti are just too creepy.
And this Van Blargan guy doesn’t even have the excuse of livestock, he just mowed this dog down and shot her in the back from 15 feet away. No reports of the dog attacking anything or being a menace. Just shot in the back which means much like the late great Fiona, this dog, named Rayne, was probably running away from this guy.
Rayne, a rescue German Shepherd, and family pet to four little children was only out 15 minutes. You know, pretty much like Argus and Fiona?
I am sick over this. I am tired of dogs just being shot basically for the hell of it in Pennsylvania. Only up there in Northumberland County is truly Pennsyltucky and I am afraid if there is not a public hue and cry that the judge might not care so much.
This poor dog doesn’t sound like she got out much and she deserved better. This poor dog triggered the outside lights at this house where this Van Blargan stays so he can’t say he did not know what he was shooting, can he?
They say charges will be filed against Van Blargan before District Judge Richard Cashman of Milton, PA . Milton PA is 50 miles north of Harrisburg, PA. The name of the town where this German Shepherd named Rayne was shot is called Watsontown and at the time of its formation this tiny borough was named for brothel owner John Watson. I don’t even think they have 3000 residents. It is supposed to be served by this local paper called Standard Journal but apparently this isn’t newsworthy to them.
However, other media outlets are interested and I think Argus & Fiona would like it if people paid it forward to now get Justice for Rayne. Pilotti gets sentenced later this month in Chester County, and you know how long it took the Bock family to get there. So if you are an animal lover, please pass this story along.
This shows the GLARING and ABSOLUTE need for better dog laws in PA. And this is not a gun rights issue, it’s a time to deal with fools who shoot dogs issue.
While Governor Tom Corbett is wasting our taxpayer dollars running around Pennsylvania in a homophobic anti-gay marriage snit, he could actually be doing productive things like protecting our dogs in Pennsylvania.
Lynda Schlegel Culver is the state rep that serves the township (Delaware) where Rayne was shot. John R. Gordner is the State Senator. Follow the hyper links for their contact information and flood their offices with a demand for action. And contact your own elected officials. There are too many parents having to explain to kids why family pets who were in perfect health aren’t coming home.
Kristy McNett’s affectionate German shepherd accidentally slipped out of the family home on Wednesday near the Watsontown area of Pennsylvania and was allegedly shot by the next door neighbor according to a report by wnep.com.
McNett’s family, which includes four children, are absolutely heartbroken after Rayne, a dog they rescued just a few months prior, was shot at close range from a distance in the back, from not more than 15 feet.
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
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.
Argus & 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!)
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 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?
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?
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:
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:
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.
Lest we forget out here in Chester County, it is not just dogs that need the kindness and caring of the public, horses do too.
So I am circling back to the topic of horse rescue. Briefly. It is my hope since the media that is interested in horse rescue irregularities now knows how to find their way to Chester County, they will check out what is up with horse rescue. Especially since so many come literally off a track in Pennsylvania.
See this horse photo posted? His name I am told is Wildcat. He has a story posted with his photo. I found it all on Facebook yesterday, and it is quite recent. I will share that too:
Yes it is fugly out there when it comes to horse rescue, and I wish that just one iota of the media attention shown to other types of animals, animal cruelty, and animal rescue would show here. Wildcat ended up with a happy ending of sorts because he ended up thousands of miles away on a farm of a caring woman from Oklahoma….who is still waiting apparently for either Turning for Home through Parx or Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue to pony up the horse’s paperwork and medical records. I can’t make this stuff up, just look for yourselves:
Horses are expensive and when they change hands they have all these things that are supposed to go with them. I am too tired to go into all of it again, but can we leave it as horse rescue seems to me to be a somewhat dirty business? And can we also say around here that these race horses that come off the track via a woman named Barbara Luna and Turning for Home and in turn go to a rescue that isn’t even a non-profit called Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue at 261 Fairview Road in Glenmoore are long overdue with some explaining on Wildcat and other horses placed into rescue? Are there still horses related to this rescue at a place called Lasko Farm in Oxford? After all how else do you explain why some horse lovers/owners are still so upset in Chester County? That photo of Wildcat above is on Facebook in a couple of different places – in once place it cause enough uproar for over 80 comments . These PA “rescues” are even being discussed by a pretty big deal nationally known horse rescue person, and I would not say it is all positive and love, is it?
The dogs in our world have a lot of good people to look after them and fight for them. Horses, not so much. Around these parts they are supposed to have LAPs, but does that do any good? No one can ever seem to answer that question for me.
My final comment this morning is for the dogs. The outpouring of love and support for the Bock family over the loss of their beloved dogs Argus & Fiona is so truly amazing and wonderful…some of the more negative behavior I have heard about associated with this? Not so much. I really don’t dig the idea of strangers taking the nosy pleasure ride through Chester Springs to see “where it happened” or the comments I have seen threatening innocent animals or when I heard about the freak of a woman who stood in the road with a bull horn screaming.
I find this morning’s article in The Daily Local interesting. Especially since West Vincent officials pretty much hid from the media and public for days on this. Are they utterly innocent in this? Only time will tell. Seems to me they were advised to get on the publicity bandwagon. People don’t generally think warm fuzzie bunnies and chickens when it comes to these supervisors do they? I do applaud the Chief of Police for stating flat-out that they freaky vigilante justice has to stop. No civilized person condones that kind of behavior so good for them.
I woke up thinking of the laws that need to change, and in my mind a bunch of things need to happen:
Punishment AND fines for animal cruelty need to be tougher all the way around. It needs to mean more than an inconvenience
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.
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.
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?
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?
State 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
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:
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?
To 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
Residents 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.
A 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:
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.
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
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:
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.
Inquirer staff writer Mari A. Schaefer contributed to this article.
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?