GRAPHIC: Man loved his dying dog too much to euthanize it, now he’s charged with felony “unnecessary cruelty”

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Many dog owners may be surprised to learn that if your dying pet is suffering, you could face a felony charge for not having the pet euthanized.

A Rhode Island man has been charged with felony "unnecessary cruelty" after allegedly letting his dying 18-year-old pit bull mix, named "X," suffer severely.

Authorities with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals charged Carlos Catano after he finally brought X to the vet.

The vet notified the Rhode Island SPCA, which notified the Providence Police Department.

X was a bag of bones, covered in bedsores, and was unable to walk, yet officials say Catano was too heartbroken to have his beloved pet put to sleep.

SPCA officials tell WJAR, "Letting go is very, very difficult," E.J. Finocchio said. "We can't turn a blind eye on something like this and just let it pass because of sympathy."

Finocchio says if a dying pet is suffering, euthanasia is best for the animal.

In Rhode Island, the SPCA covers the euthanasia charge for free after examining a dying pet.

Catano has a court date set for later this month, which will include a possible fine and jail time.

Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Superintendent Jon Gary tells Oklahoma's NewsChannel 4 that his agency has written citations for neglect for the same circumstances.

Even if a pet owner believes they are doing the right thing by letting their pet pass away at home, if needless suffering is involved, the owner could be charged with felony neglect in Oklahoma, which can come with a fine of up to $1,200, and a sentence of up to 30 days in jail, or however long a judge sees fit.

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