WEST VINCENT TOWNSHIP, Pa. - A 72-year-old farmer has been charged in the killing of his neighbor's dogs, police said.
Gabriel Pilotti, 72, is facing animal cruelty charges for the killing of two Bernese Mountain dogs named "Argus" and "Fiona."
The owners say they are heartbroken.
"It's really tough. It's been tough on the kids. It's been tough on my wife and I and we think it was a really senseless act," said Bill Bock, dog owner.
The shooting happened February 12, around 11:30 a.m., on Pine Drive in West Vincent Township, Chester Co.
Bock says Argus and Fiona escaped through the fence, and were only gone for fifteen minutes.
After the shooting, Bock says he received a voicemail that said: "Hey Bob, this is Gabe just shot two more dogs, 11:25 this morning. Your mountain dogs in my place chasing my sheep when I got here from work."
Originally, Pilotti told police that he shot Argus and Fiona because they were pursuing his sheep.
However, through a follow-up investigation, the West Vincent Police determined the dogs were not pursuing the defendant's sheep at the time Pilotti shot and killed the dogs, investigators said.
"He did not have to do this. There were so many other avenues, warning shots, yell at the dogs, call the police," Bock said.
69 News tried to speak with Pilotti but no one was home at the time.
A friend, however, stop by Pilotti's home to check up on him and said this: "He raises sheep and he treats his sheep like his family," said Steve. "So, obviously he has a very soft spot for animals."
Once word spread that Pilotti was facing animal cruelty charges, people who did not even live in the area, stopped by sight of the shooting out of curiosity.
"And to hear that somebody would have shot these dogs in the manner that he did is really very sad," said Holly Bernhard, animal trainer.
The Bock family has channeled their sorrow into the website called Justice for Fiona and Argus.
"What we're going to try to do is make sure this gentlemen pays for what he did," Bock said.
Allentown, PA 18102