Dogs shot while not pursuing sheep

RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,258Registered Users
Have y'all hear about this guy? This sparked a huge debate in my community about whether farmers had the right to shoot any/all dogs that come on their property. At first he got off scott-free. But it took 2 weeks of ever-increasing public outcry before law enforcement charged this guy with animal cruelty. What do you think?

Chesco sheep owner charged in killing of two dogs

February 23, 2013|By Carolyn Davis, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER


For about two weeks, it seemed that Chester County sheep owner Gabriel Pilotti would not have to worry about charges for shooting and killing two dogs belonging to a neighbor after he found them on his property.

Now, he does.

Amid a growing uproar, Chester County District Attorney Thomas P. Hogan on Friday charged Pilotti, 72, of Chester Springs, with two counts of cruelty to animals and one count of recklessly endangering another person.

He did so, he said, after further investigation concluded that Pilotti's actions were not shielded by a state law that permits the execution of dogs attacking domestic animals. Police say they determined that no attack was in progress when the dogs were shot.

Pilotti's preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 28, said his West Chester attorney, Thomas H. Ramsay. Authorities have not detained Pilotti.
The charges are all second-degree misdemeanors, which carry a maximum two-year jail term. The maximum fine is $5,000. If Pilotti is convicted, Pottstown District Judge James V. DeAngelo will decide whether he must make restitution to Mary and William Bock and their five children, who owned the dogs.

"We're happy that justice was served," said Mary Bock. "I'm still focused on making sure this never happens again. This is less about torturing Mr. Pilotti for what he did than about making changes for the future."

Though the family will continue to press for changes in the state dog law, she said, nothing will bring back their Bernese mountain dogs.

The charges hinged on whether the dogs - two-year-old Argus and one-year-old Fiona - were pursuing the sheep in Pilotti's yard.

If they had been, the FedEx driver and sheep farmer would have been justified in shooting the animals. That's what the District Attorney's Office initially ruled based on Pilotti's first statement to West Vincent Township Police.

Pilotti told police he had retrieved his shotgun and buckshot shells from his garage about 11:20 a.m. Feb. 12 after seeing the dogs in his pasture chasing his sheep.

Investigators were uneasy about that statement, so they questioned Pilotti again Thursday, authorities said.

This time, police said, Pilotti admitted that the older dog was not pursuing or even close to his sheep, but was trotting slowly toward him when he fired his shotgun at the dog's head. Directly behind the dog and in the line of fire was a house with residents inside - facts that spurred the endangerment charge.

After shooting the first dog, the police complaint says, Pilotti reloaded his shotgun and took aim at the second.

"He shot the dog as she was running away from him and the sheep," the complaint says.

No sheep were harmed and Pilotti acknowledged he did not try to scare the dogs away before shooting.
"There was no justification for the killing of these two dogs," Hogan said Friday.

Pilotti is not commenting on the incident, Ramsay said, but did tell police at the recent interview that "he was very remorseful for what occurred on his property that day."

Amid publicity over the shootings, people have posted messages on a Facebook page established for the dogs encouraging others to harass Pilotti, which the Bocks say they do not condone. One woman went to his house this week and shouted, "Dog killer! Dog killer!" according to a next-door neighbor, Robert A. Boden.

A recording Friday at Pilotti's phone number said it was out of service. "He's more or less fled the area" temporarily, said Ramsay, adding that Pilotti planned to return to his job and home.

Tom Hickey Sr., a member of the governor's dog-law advisory group, said the charges show that the state's dog laws are solid, if imperfect.

"In Pennsylvania, we had the laws in place to protect these animals," Hickey said. "What this guy did was horrific and illegal.

"Finally, the laws caught up with him."


  • Fifi.GFifi.G Posts: 15,490Registered Users
    I absolutely think he should have been charged, and I am glad he was.

    I understand farmers needing to protect their live stock as well. I get that law. Animals have came onto others property and harmed or killed their live stock, or family pets, on numerous occasions. They deserve the right to protect them, and themselves if it is a dangerous animal. But to just shoot dogs that were not chasing or attacking is wrong. He should have attempted to scare them away, or checked a collar if they seemed friendly, etc.

    And Firing toward another home in the process is beyond idiotic.

    I also, at times, have issues with people who do not keep up with their animals in residential areas. The same people are often talked to, over and over, about allowing their animals to go on others property. That person may be terrified of dogs, or ... If you do not know your neighbors, you never know what might happen.
    When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??

  • Fifi.GFifi.G Posts: 15,490Registered Users
    My phone locked up for a moment and would not scroll down. I was just able to read the last few paragraphs.

    Jebus. A Facebook page asking people to harass a 72 year old man is not the best reaction. He absolutely could have handled that better, but at the same time the owners have a part to play in this as well. He has been charged, let the courts handle it.

    I bet people have been in an uproar :-/
    When I hear terms like "hipster" I think, who told cliques they could leave high school??

  • curlyarcacurlyarca Posts: 8,449Registered Users
    Bernese Mt Dogs are not cheap. And most wouldn't hurt anybody or anything. Sad.

    But harassing an old a hole is not right either.

    "In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."

    4a, mbl, low porosity, normal thickness, fine hair.
  • xcptnlxcptnl Posts: 15,678Registered Users
    While I totally abhor what this man did as there were/are other options (call the cops, call animal control, call the owners, etc etc) I also blame the dog owners for letting their dogs roam. I have that issue with my neighbor and their big rambunctious golden retriever. They let their dog out with the kids (who totally do not care what the dog is doing) and then when I come out in my yard with my dog (on his leash) I have to put up with their dog coming into my yard and rushing me and my dog. He is not vicious but it is sure annoying. And they (the adults) do not seem to think this is a problem at all. Thank goodness I am not the type to shoot any animal!!
    Central Massachusetts

    One good reason to only maintain a small circle of friends is that three out of four murders are committed by people who know the victim. ~George Carlin~

    In regards to Vagazzling: They just want to get into the goods without worrying about getting scratched up by fake crystals. ~spring1onu~
  • NetGNetG Posts: 8,116Registered Users
    Our neighborhood has had problems with dogs attacking horses. This isn't normal dog behavior, and is freakin' scary.

    If I had a gun and found a dog had dug under our fence (it has happened at least once) you bet I'd feel threatened enough to shoot at it. I might load a bb gun with salt rather than use lethal force if I were to have a gun (I don't know about guns or what is/isn't lethal - I think that's what I've heard works, but would research to know in the hypothetical situation where I was buying a gun), but still - just because they're not actively attacking in the moment doesn't mean they're not a threat, and my neighborhood has had a lot of problems with them being a threat.

    I think the owners attempting to get restitution are *******es for not keeping their own dogs where they belong, and clearly the dogs were the victims here, not the owners.
    The pews never miss a sermon but that doesn't get them one step closer to Heaven.

    But at least the pews never attend yoga!