WEST CHESTER (February 26) – State Senator Andy Dinniman will soon introduce two bills to address and help deter pet-shooting incidents like that which occurred on Feb. 12 in West Vincent where a family’s two dogs were killed by another neighborhood resident.


This month Senator Dinniman will introduce legislation amending the Pennsylvania Dog Law to better clarify the section that explains when one may shoot a dog on their property. Under Dinniman’s bill, such action would be allowed not when the dog is simply “pursuing” another animal but actually doing so “with apparent intent to harm.”


Argus and Fiona, the two Bernese mountain dogs that escaped from a neighbor’s yard were shot to death by a property-ownered in West Vincent.

Argus and Fiona, the two Bernese mountain dogs that escaped from a family’s yard and were shot to death by a neighboring property-owner in West Vincent.

Dinniman said this bill will apply within counties of the first, second and third classes. He said Chester County and the other more populated areas are where such conflicts are more likely to occur and where clarifying legislation is needed “so farmers and homeowners can better live in harmony.”


Senator Dinniman will introduce his other bill on Friday. It would let pet-owners seek civil damages for the injury or death of their dog or cat if the harm was inflicted intentionally or through negligence.


While Pennsylvania law currently allows pet-owners in such situations to recover their economic loss – specifically the price paid for the pet – Dinniman’s bill would also let Pennsylvania’s courts award damages in recognition of the companionship and affection provided by our pet dogs and cats.


Suits for damages would be heard at the magisterial district court level; the maximum civil penalty would be $12,000.


Dinniman and staff researched and drafted the bill prior to the Feb. 12 incident in West Vincent where a resident shot and killed two Bernese mountain dogs that had escaped from a neighbor’s yard and entered his property. On Feb. 22 the Chester County District Attorney charged the resident with cruelty to animals after determining “there was no justification for the killing of these two dogs.”


Dinniman said, “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. 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.”


“In fact, I don’t consider the civil damage award to be my bill’s main message,” Dinniman continued. “The main message is for Pennsylvania’s courts to recognize the companionship and affection provided by pets and that both have value.”


Under Dinniman’s bill, negligent acts could only result in a civil award if the pet at issue were on the owner’s property or under the owner’s direct control and supervision at the time of the perpetrator negligence. The bill’s language recognizes that state law requires dog-owners to keep their pets on their property or under their control.


The higher $12,000 amount would apply for acts that are intentional and could be awarded regardless of the harmed animal’s location, as in the case of the Bock family.


“We don’t want this to happen to anyone else. We want something in the books to make someone think twice before they go out and do this,” said William Bock. “And these two bills would be a significant step in the right direction.”


Bock and his wife, Mary Bock, met with Senator Dinniman on Tuesday to discuss needed legislative changes.


Tagged with:

Photo Gallery

Upcoming Events

September 2016
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
August 28, 2016 August 29, 2016 August 30, 2016 August 31, 2016 September 1, 2016 September 2, 2016 September 3, 2016
September 4, 2016 September 5, 2016

Category: General11:59 pm: Labor Day (State Offices Closed)

September 6, 2016 September 7, 2016 September 8, 2016 September 9, 2016 September 10, 2016

Category: General10:00 am: Atglen Community Day

Category: General10:00 am: E. Caln - Kids Day in the Park

Category: General10:00 am: S. Coatesville Community Day

September 11, 2016 September 12, 2016 September 13, 2016 September 14, 2016 September 15, 2016 September 16, 2016 September 17, 2016

Category: General10:00 am: Tredyffrin Community Day

September 18, 2016

Category: General12:00 pm: West Chester Restaurant Festival

September 19, 2016 September 20, 2016 September 21, 2016 September 22, 2016 September 23, 2016 September 24, 2016

Category: General11:00 am: Penn TWP/Jennersville Regional Hospital 12th Annual Picnic & Health Wellness Fair

September 25, 2016

Category: General11:00 am: Malvern Fall Festival

September 26, 2016 September 27, 2016 September 28, 2016 September 29, 2016 September 30, 2016 October 1, 2016

Category: General12:00 pm: Paoli Blues Festival

Looking For Something

Still not finding what you're looking for? Please contact me or my staff so we can help you!