Owner charged for elderly dog's extended suffering

Owner charged – waited too long to euthanize suffering old dog

A dog owner in Rhode Island is facing a charge of “unnecessary cruelty” for failing to take an elderly, suffering dog to a veterinarian to be euthanized in timely manner. According to WITN News, it is not believed that malice was to blame, but rather an inability to let go.

The dog, an 18-year-old pit bull mix named “X,” was emaciated, semi-comatose, could no longer walk and had bed sores by the time that Carlos Catano took him to a veterinary hospital to be euthanized. The veterinarian contacted the Rhode Island SPCA to report the situation based on the elderly dog’s dismal condition when he was finally brought in to be put down.

Though Catano apparently loved his pet too much to say good-bye, E.J. Finocchio, of the Rhode Island SPCA, told WITN News that they were not able to turn a blind eye to the dog’s suffering. He stated, “We can’t turn a blind eye on something like this and just let it pass because of sympathy.” However, Finocchio did express empathy for X’s owner’s inability to end his pet’s life – he stated, “Letting go is very, very difficult.”

What are your thoughts? Should it be illegal to “let nature take its course?”  Should loving pet owners be required to euthanize a cat or dog when the quality of life has ended? Do you believe that there is a double standard for pets versus people – given that in most states, people suffering with age related issues, or disease, are typically unable to have their life humanely ended?

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(Photo of X via screenshot WITN News)


Pit bull tries to mimic a little girl’s cartwheel in adorable video – click here to watch.

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38 replies
  1. Debbie Dearmore says:

    Hard call to make. He loved him it was to hard to let him go. So I say leave the old man alone. He is like me just letting go would probably kill me. Bless you old man prayers coming your way

    Reply
    • Marianne says:

      Debbie dearmore, I see where your coming from its always hard to let go of a loved one, I did my chi was so lethargic and not herself I her go out of love and respect for her not for me, so yes he should be charged for animal neglect, for not letting his best friend die in peace but in pain that’s a damn shame and disgusting

      Reply
      • Kate m says:

        I agree with Debbie. Stupid mistake was made out of love… The dog wasn’t going to get well or I’d change my mind.

    • Dave Clifford says:

      I agree that’s it’s a very gray area. I’ve had to let dogs go and it killed me each time. I literally can see both sides of this argument and i believe that the owner should pay a fine or some community service but nothing more. The loss of his companion is a punishment he will have for the rest of his life.

      Reply
  2. Lillian says:

    Animal abuse at any level should be a felony.
    The people that are able to do this to animals are only one step away from doing it to humans. Case managers, psychiatrists and authorities should follow up and check on these people frequently.

    Reply
  3. Barkley's Mom says:

    This is a tough one, can you blame someone for not wanting to say good bye to their faithful friend and allowing nature to take them? I think most of us would not want to watch our pets suffer, but do we really know how much this dog was “suffering”? Charging someone for loving their pet so much they don’t want to let them go, seems cruel to me. I’m sure Mr Catano loved his dog and never meant to let him linger longer than he should, but isn’t that what we do to humans?

    Reply
    • Vanessalovesdogs says:

      I´m absolutely agreeing. Maybe this dog was his only friend. I feel bad for the poor dog but for the owner too. Do we ever really know when it is time for our furfriends to help them over the rainbow bridge? My own very beloved Biewer yorkie is battling cancer (tumor in his mouth, surgery isn´t possible) since last christmas. I take him to the vet every 2 days for shots because he would be anemic without the shots. Last week he injured accidentally his eye very bad. My vet said he would him euthaize immediately. My husband and parents-in-law agreed. I told them that my baby obviously shows no pain, is still eating, loves to go on walks and is always enjoyed to meet his doggie friends.My Yorkie is 9,5 years old, too young to die. My vet said, okay, let us treat his eye and continuing his shots. Today he was surprised that the eye is still damaged forever but it is in a healing stage. He will never see again with this eye but it seems that it doesn´t bother him and it is not painful. The tumor in his mouth hasn´t grown since 7 weeks and my baby is eating. Today my vet said his prognosis from last week was wrong, my dog is not a candidate for euthanizing at the moment. He calls him a miracle. It will crush my heart into 10000 pieces when I have to let him go and I hope I will not wait too long but will I really ever know when his time is coming? I really don´t know. I never want to abuse him but I don´t want to let him go too early. It is a very very super hard decision. I feel for this poor man who loved his 18 years old baby so much. My heart goes out with both, the man and the dog.

      Reply
      • Barkley's Mom says:

        I’m so sorry for what you are going through with your little Yorkie. My sister went through similar with her Trixie. She had cancer in her ear, she smelled bad but she still wanted to play and eat and my sister took a lot of heat for not ending her “suffering”. The truth was Trixie wasn’t suffering, My sister came home from work one night and could hear Trixie crying inside the house. She knew the time had come to say good bye. Putting them down is such a hard decision, you will know when the time is right. Your baby will let you know. I will keep you in my prayers, I know how hard this is, I’ve been through it a time or two and it never gets any easier.

  4. Linda Patton says:

    I fully understand the heartbreak of knowing it’s time to free your animal of suffering. It’s heartbreaking to say the least. But to leave them suffering, in agony… skin and bones is worse. You owe them more then that. They’ve given you their life’s, their love, their everything… they trust you completely, trust you’ll always take care of them, always do what’s right. We must stop being selfish only thinking of how we’ll feel when their gone, what about how they feel? Would you like laying there unable to get up, hurting all the time, body not working right? Wouldn’t you want to be free? As I said, I understand what he was feeling, but he was wrong to leave that animal suffering like that. That innocent old dog should have been given peace long ago. Yes the man should be charged, he condoned suffering and abuse. He thought only of his feelings. His dog deserved more then that…

    Reply
  5. Red says:

    Loving your fur baby is NOT WANTING them to suffer. If they are old and frail and have no life…. you have to let them go to Rainbow Bridge. Hurts like hell…but they are not suffering and you can be holding them when they leave…peacefully.

    Reply
    • Nancy Raymond says:

      I agree, to eliminate an animal’s suffering should take top priority. I have nine boxes of animal ashes – hate to let go, but if you love them enough, you will end their pain humanely.

      Reply
  6. Laurie Methven says:

    Clearly this dog suffered and while it is hard to let go, people are fortunate to have the option to humanely euthanize a beloved pet. Having gone thru this myself recently, I know it is difficult but I was not going to watch my furry BFF suffer – it wasn’t fair to her. I looked at what was good for her – not me and illicited a second opinion.

    Reply
  7. pennysdachshund says:

    IT is strange at what a VERY LARGE FRACTION of the ABUSE CASES ON THIS SITE: With the Exception This older Gentleman May have just been in such an emotional State he COULD NOT BRING HIMSELF TO BE the ONE RESPONSIBLE to BE THE ONE ENDING THE LIFE OF HIS BEST FRIEND!!! I made the round trip 425 miles each way 30 years ago because my grandparents 82 and 79 Simply could not take their little “Yakki Doodle” to the vet to put her down… they took her for teeth cleaning and everything, yet they were broken hearted and in denial when their neighbor called he, as he offered his services prior to calling me and my grandpa told him they were giving her supplements and she would feel better soon… The authorities LET HOW MANY WALK AWAY ( like the Bitch who froze her 8 pups) compassion works both ways… I think one could tell ( especially a medical person) the difference between INDIFFERENCE and GRIEF) I would hope a JUDGE in this case has BETTER JUDGEMENT than the 98 % of the JUDGES have shown to the poor ANIMAL that really was abused!!!

    Reply
    • Barkley's Mom says:

      I have to agree with you. How many times have we seen horrible things done to healthy, beautiful dogs go unpunished, then someone who couldn’t find it in their heart to say good bye gets charged, seems rather cruel. How many people that love their pets have been guilty of holding out hope too long? My heart goes out to this man. What does it say about our society that a man who finally did realize his dog was not going to make it, take her to the vet to do the right thing and gets turned in for it. I’m with you, I hope the Judge has better sense than most we see concerning pet abuse.

      Reply
      • pennysdachshund says:

        Classic EXAMPLE with the Little Female Beagle Tortured to death in Florida in a 24 hour period of time when the Bastard young Piece of Shit tortured her to death!!! The Judge needs to be disbarred !! Him a fatal accident!! He will Kill, Kill, Kill ,,, again and again Now that he has been given permission by this Misguided Judge!!

      • Leon says:

        Thank you from us the Catano family .this grief it’s so overwhelming my brother and all of us in the entire family that was his companion. X his pitbull was there through all types of crisis since my brother was 14 years old .if it wasn’t for him rescuing this dog 17 1/2 years before Finding him eating out of a dumpster at a McDonald’s on branch Avenue in Providence . X dog would’ve been euthanize by the pound 17 1/2 years ago . My brother is learning and is willing and very motivated to speak to children at school about how their doggies or cats go to heaven also to middle-aged , also Our beloved senior citizens that unfortunately frequent offenders of these very sad decisions that have to be made. It is a very heartbreaking decision of mercy and letting go of their beloved mascots and animals this decision that my brother made was not easy. I was there my brother is a fairly large man thank God I had the strength to hold him up because his legs gave out on him The very passionate inviting professional veterinarian told him he had made the right decision and also allowed my brother a good 20 minutes to try to finishing saying goodbye and he was there holding and hugging his dog looking in his eyes until the doctor said he is gone. I love my brother and his family has his back to the fullest count was the neighbors . People here please try to take the time to try to take it all in my brother was about 15 when she rescued the dog . Imagine his mindset at 33 The flashes of memories going through both there heads and the betrayal that he didn’t want to give the dog right or wrong it was hurtful .The hardest decision he’s ever had to make in his life just to get home to find a flyer being served by the RI ASPCA in his door being accused animal neglect now the picture that everybody sees is a timestamp it doesn’t show the love and compassion and the family involvement this dog had and still has to this day . The dogs body is X is being held as evidence my brother paid which is insignificant but he paid for all the arrangements his on ashes not the package that is mixed with other dogs or animals , with an urn and the paw prints with the prayer that won’t happen until the case is over with So while in pain and sorrow my brother has to worry about these criminal charges while his five-year-old son ask when can we go to heaven to see our dog. also while worrying about the dog that he has at home being checked up on all the time which he healthy . And let’s not forget the felony charge hanging over his head so if my brother wants to try to move on in A better providing job opportunity that felony will come back to haunt him ,also won’t be able to keep the dog won’t be able to provide to the fullest the American dream due to limitations of being denied a well-paying job . So me as his older brother and the rest of my family is calling for the community to ask themselves is the punishment feeling the judgment of the crime and maybe this young man can be a strong advocate to be a voice for the animals to share his experience with everybody, knows his name and the story is well known. A lot of these decisions can be avoided by him being a volunteer advocate instead of a mandatory community service with a punishment . people will listen and remember the story and make a better decision if charged people will be making decisions impulsively and possibly not the right decisions where people would be probably being sneaky/ worried and overwhelmed when they see that they waited too long to bring dear beloved companion to the vet and remember my brothers story and the time hanging over his head so everybody think about it should be prevention through Goodwill or should it be through punishment with impulsive decisions to try to dodge a bullet . Quick example and I’ll leave it at this . His dog has been sick for a little while let’s say three days not a good one day and gets up and eats and gives you what it might be false hope than two days go by not great again then another day goes by looking eat somebodies on attended cheeseburger of a table better you think and makes you open your eyes a little bit and you think no not yet he might pull through well that’s what happen ! Well one day he comes home from work X didn’t look that great ,we all talked and we all said yeah it’s time let’s let him rest put him down so he and we took him . Now that say your dog or cat or animal is not doing that great for a couple days you go to work you come back come home to see your animal deceased now the dog is not in the best shape and you bring it to the vet or at least you think when you’re bringing it to the vet may I be getting in trouble for this did I wait too long ? I remember that case from East Providence that young man I believe his name is Catano he’s facing five years they say he waited too long to it but it is I will beloved animal ?! when he felt he was betraying The loyalty of the animal when he made the decision folks let’s have some compassion my brother could do a lot of good just by speaking to people when he volunteers to do it .what he is willing to do let’s not punish him further by adding A felony criminal charge limiting him the bread maker head of household to provide for his family and possibly breaking up the family horribly maybe being a burden to the state which includes The rest of us in the community fit in the bill as taxpayers … to X our beloved dog soon you will be in ashes you will be finally resting in peace you overserved and loved and showed so much loyalty to this family that obviously didn’t deserve you we are very grateful that we found you and you answered The lifelong questioned dogs are man’s best friend do you have forever changed our life and thank you so much for watching over my younger brother for all of them crisis that you were there for him for . We the Catano’s love you .Señor X Catano or like my when son Cameron When he was five years old would say The doggie with the prettiest eyes on all the chaplain Street …all doggies go to heaven you’re a good boy xoxo .

    • Leon says:

      Sorry for all the misspellings and missing periods but my eyes were tearing up try to read between the lines our hearts are broken and you will be hearing and seeing last name in the paper in a positive trust me our family will prevail and X’s memory will be a happy one, we will be pushed forward Carlos will be exonerated . Thank you everybody for your time Continue to show support that young man could use it right about now. Please share your ideas how we can help any future cases with a positive note and avoid painful situations like this from occurring again

      Reply
      • Barkley's Mom says:

        Leon, I want you to know your brother and your family are in our prayers. I understand completely, had I taken my Spunky to be put down the first time her legs failed her I would have missed 6 months of her love. Your brother, as far as I am concerned, should never have been charged for this. I hope leveler heads will prevail and this whole mess dropped. Your brother doesn’t deserve this, and X should be allowed to be home with his family.

      • pennysdachshund says:

        Leon: if you can email Me a phone number of the public defender and an address to where I can mail a letter on behalf of your brother and his love for his dog I would be more than happy to write my feeling on this case being looked an in a non judgmental fashion…. I have had rescue dogs for years, and I have owned dogs for over 55 years… I am also a professional RN and I have on numerous occasions worked with rescues, and a veterinary who is 87 years old and donates his time to helping those in need…. I am so sorry that this has become such and issue

      • Leon says:

        Good evening Penny very nice hearing from you once again .well just the status update at this time my brother I believe has court “the 21st and he’s going to respectfully request some time to seek council I believe this case is so important that the family is coming together to try to afford private legal counsel we are starting the interviewing process this week coming up . If you wish to contact me you may 401-663-2315 I am usually available early afternoons until late night since this hasn’t been a believer and I sleep well at night . if you have any ideas,Referrals, wisdom to share we welcome it ! last but not least thank you for your tireless ,devotion and unselfishly working with the community as an RN God bless you Penny God has blessed us and will continue too

  8. Alice Hauck says:

    Very hard but that poor dog suffered
    The dog should have been given the dignity to die without suffering so much
    I think the owner will pay daily from watching his pet dying in that condition

    Reply
  9. Linda Szymoniak says:

    As hard as it is to make “the decision”, I honestly believe in the adage “better a week too soon than a day too late”. I lost three furbabies over the past two years. My senior cat passed at home (the first furbaby in my life who did). My senior Coonhound girl, Suki, lived a long, wonderful life and it was time. The one that I will never get over is my deaf hound girl, Ran, who I had to make the decision on when she was just a few months past her 5th birthday. It’ll be two years next month and I still cry when I think of her. That was the hardest decision I ever had to make, but after nearly four months of in and out of the vet, the meds just weren’t doing enough (she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder). When you see your baby going downhill and suffering, you simply HAVE to put them first. I couldn’t let Ran suffer, and she was starting to suffer. I fell badly for the owner of this poor dog, but seeing the photo has me in tears. There is NO reason to let a dog suffer like this. None.

    Reply
  10. Leslie says:

    Where is the compassion? Most people who love their animals find it hard to say that final goodbye. The older people are, the harder it is for them. My heart hurts for both of them. The dog suffered, but so did this gentleman. There is the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. I don’t believe he wanted to cause his beloved pet harm…perhaps he thought he’d pass in his sleep. Go after the cruel, sadistic abusers, this man is not one of them.

    Reply
  11. Nancy Raymond says:

    I understand loving an animal so much BUT will never understand allowing an animal to suffer because YOU can’t let go. This is cruelty – how could Carlos Catano sit there and watch ‘X’ suffer? THAT IS animal cruelty.

    Reply
  12. susispot says:

    We are supposed to be caregivers. This dog didn’t get THAT EMACIATED OVER NIGHT. If this man loved his dog he should have seen the dog was gone and only a suffering shell was left to languish in misery. Rare for a medium size dog to make it to 18. He had a long life. It is sad his person didn’t “care enough” to let him die with dignity. RIP

    Reply
  13. Sherry says:

    If they are truly suffering, you have to love them enough to let them go and release them from their pain. It is loving to end their misery and suffering .

    Reply
  14. michelle says:

    No one knows if the animal was suffering or in pain. No one knows if the animal was doing ok and crashed over a week or so…well no one knows except the one person who loved hIm, who spent time with him, who probably sat with him daily and the one person. who took him in when he felt the time had come. yes the dog was very thjn…how many senior humans do you know who are frail, who look like they are nothing but skin and bones. How many who aren’t able to sit up or walk around? maybe bedridden? Does that mean they should have their life ended? I knowill many seniors who are bedridden, frail, slow moving but who still have the zest for life in their voice, in their eyes. When they are ready they loose that look, the families know the time is close. It is the same wIth a pet. Just because the dog was old….wow,18 which is amazing for a bully and is proof that his owner took great care of him….just because he was old, frail, and showing his age DOES NOT mean he was or was not suffering. I have spent years doing senior and hospicer rescue and have heard many times how I should put this one or that one down..sometimes younger dogs who with time and care have come back around. This usuall5 isn’t the case witb seniors but unless you know the dog and have spent time with him then you have no idea if he waited too long or if he took him when the time came. Each person makes their own judgement call. I have clients who make the decision with the first signs of aging…long before most would’ have even thought of it. I think it is pathetic that so many people can sit and judge, criticize and assume to know what was best for a dog they have never met, never looked in his eyes… Bless this man for obviously giving this dog exactly what he needed to allow him to live for 18 years and for making the heartbreaking decision when he felt it was time even though it may have been through worse thing he’s ever had to do..Shame on those who are standing in judgement..it’s probably a good thing they don’t allow euthanasia for humans because I would feel sorry for the family members of some who are so quick to assume it’s time!!

    Reply
    • pennysdachshund says:

      Bless You this morning for taking the precious time to write SUCH a profound STATEMENT!!! I have thought of the “Gentleman” numerous times over the past few days!!! My grandparents had the only little dog they had ever owned for 15 or16 years. they took her to the vet when she started to lose weight and became somewhat lethargic and they were given supplements for her… and told to bring her in if it continued … They did absolutely they could to keep her , but when their next door neighbor called me with an update I made the trip (425 each way) to take her into the vet as they were in total distress and denial …. If you haven’t been involved personally in a situation like this , as you say, how can YOU possibly make such a harsh judgment on this man…. I am also disgusted with the VET as …. Like you said , me being a nurse… I have seen people in my twenty -five year’s nursing that would immediately take their parents to be euthanized if it were legal when their family member sneezed!

      Reply
      • Leon says:

        Thank you for the comment from the Catano family we are grieving and we can use all the support possible we are looking for alternative ways for my brother to help out the community without affecting him criminally for the rest of his life which includes his whole family and us .my brother could be a superior advocate a voice for the animals this has been a very heart full lesson he may be able help out a lot of people in this community maybe even nationwide let’s spread the word with love God bless you thank you we love our doggy X Will eventually hopefully soon rest in peace thank you once again for the kind words and understanding just an FYI we will be doing a fundraiser to donate to the Rhode Island ASPCA for anybody that is going through financial hardship that is not able to bring their companion to routine check ups or ultimately to put their beloved animal down

  15. Cynthia Como says:

    Totally agree with the animal cruelty charge! This is awful! Having to let our pets go when it’s time is a part of being a pet owner! This man put his feelings before the The needs of his pet,the pain he is suffering at the loss of his pet pale in comparison to the pain this dog had to suffer through! I feel ZERO compassion for this man and everyone else out there that does this,its selfish and cruel! I’m glad he has been charged,he will get the usual slap on the wrist that all animal cruelty cases do. RIP X❤

    Reply
  16. Kathleen Drude says:

    There comes a point when the question becomes quality of life! That is a gift we can give to our pets! I took an oath I will never allow an animal to suffer when all options have been exhausted! Too bad we can’t do that for each other! Human beings should have the right to end their lives when quality of life is gone!

    Reply
  17. Margaret says:

    I think it’s absolutely disgusting and selfish. When you truly love someone or something, you can’t bear to watch them suffer. Making the decision isn’t easy, but it’s necessary. That picture is heartbreaking!

    Reply

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