By Brad Segall and Jericka Duncan
CHESTER SPRINGS, Pa. (CBS) — The Chester County DA’s office announced on Friday that, after further investigation, it is filing criminal charges against a Chester Springs man who shot a neighbor’s two dogs that he said were harassing his sheep.
Chester County DA Thomas Hogan says that Gabriel Pilotti is being charged with cruelty to animals and reckless endangerment, both misdemeanors.
On Wednesday, officials had said that Pilotti, 72, would not be prosecuted because a Pennsylvania law permits a person to shoot a dog that is harassing livestock on his property (see previous story).
Friday, however, authorities said it did not appear the two Bernese mountain dogs, owned by Bill Bock, had been threatening Pilotti’s sheep when they were shot and killed.
“His story didn’t make sense, for a couple reasons,” said DA Tom Hogan, so police dug deeper and learned what really happened.
“The defendant shot the first dog in the head with a fence in between him and the dog,” Hogan tells KYW Newsradio. “The second dog immediately started to flee — she was running away from both the sheep and the defendant.”
Still, Hogan says, Pilotti fired again, killing that dog.
Hogan says the reckless endangerment charge was added because a nearby West Vincent Township home was in the line of fire when Pilotti shot the dogs. According to court papers, Pilotti has since expressed remorse for his actions.
On Friday, Eyewitness News visited the Bock family, who lost their one- and two-year-old dogs. They didn’t want to comment, but they told us earlier this week how much they miss their pets.
Bill Bock says his five children were crushed by the loss.