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Man charged with shooting neighbor's beloved Bernese Mountain dogs

Courtesy Bock family

Bernese Mountain Dogs, Argus and Fiona, were allegedly shot and killed by Gabriel Pilotti after they wandered onto his property in Chester Springs, Pa.

A Chester County, Pa., man will now be charged for shooting and killing his neighbor's two beloved dogs.

Courtesy Chester County D.A.'s Office

Police say 72-year-old Gabriel Pilotti shot and killed his neighbor's two dogs.

"These are dogs that slept with the kids in their rooms," said Bill Bock, who had to break the news about the family pets to his children.

"A lot of tears," said Bock.

Argus and Fiona, Bernese Mountain dogs, escaped from their fenced yard Feb. 13 in West Vincent Township, Chester County in Pennsylvania. They wound up inside Gabriel Pilotti's yard, where he keeps sheep.

Previous story from NBCPhiladelphia.com: Man shoots, kills neighbor's dogs

Pilotti, 72, shot and killed both dogs, according to police. Investigators say he told them he was afraid the dogs would hurt his sheep.

"I asked him why he would shoot two dogs," said Bock. "And he said, 'I shoot first.'"

The shootings caused tension in the community because initially Pilotti was not charged. Prosecutors said his actions were justified because of a Pennsylvania law that states you can kill a dog if it's caught in the act of pursuing a domesticated animal.

West Vincent police went back to investigate some more, however, and determined that the dogs were not chasing or pursuing Pilotti's sheep when he shot them.

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According to District Attorney Tom Hogan, Pilotti shot the first dog in the head, then reloaded his shotgun and killed the second dog as it was running away from Pilotti.

"There was no justification for the killing of these two dogs," Hogan said. "Our sympathies go out to the family and children who lost their beloved pets."

Pilotti is charged with cruelty to animals and recklessly endangering another person because police say there was a house in the line of fire when Pilotti was shooting. Police say Pilotti "expressed remorse for his conduct."

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