Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced on Friday that Gabriel Pilotti now faces animal cruelty charges in the shooting deaths of a family's two purebred Bernese Mountain dogs. Under an old farm law in Pennsylvania, a person can kill a dog if the dog is caught in the act of pursuing a domesticated animal.
Pilotti claimed the dogs were trying to harm his sheep when the dogs escaped from their home on Feb. 12 through a broken part of the fence.
Upon further investigation the West Vincent Township Police, with the help of the Bock family who owned the two Bernese dogs named Argus and Fiona, circumstances and evidence clarified that the dogs were not chasing Pilotti's sheep when he fired his shotgun and hit one the dogs in the face. The second dog was so scared and trying to escape when Pilotti reloaded his rifle and shot him dead also.
According to philadelphia cbslocal.com, Pilotti has also been charged with endangering another person because a neighbor's home was in the gunman's line of fire.
Although a criminal charge of animal cruelty will not bring back the pain and loneliness associated with the tragic loss of the family's beautiful and kind dogs, it is hoped that some justice will bring about more awareness for the need to protect animals who can't speak for themselves.
The Bock family hope to change the antiquated farm law making it more specific in its use and intention.
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Rest in peace Argus and Fiona.