Sunday, June 28, 2009

Firefighter Shoots His Adopted Dogs so he can Go on Vacation Cruise

Firefighter shoots pets to go on cruise
June 28, 10:53 AM

AP Photo/Firefighter David SantuomoColumbus (OH) firefighter David Santuomo pleaded guilty to two counts of animal cruelty and one count of of possession of a criminal tool (a homemade silencer).

Officer Santuomo, 43 years of age, had previously taken two dogs he had adopted in January 2007, to the basement of his house, and tied them to a pipe, partially suspending them. Officer Santuomo then shot them multiple times. In fact, one dog was reported to have been shot six times in the head. He then dropped the bodies unto a plastic sheet he had previously laid down under the dogs. He wrapped the bodies up and dumped them in the fire station's dumpster.

Later Officer Santuomo bragged to this fellow officers of his actions, allegedly even making jokes. Not amused, his fellow officers reported Officer Santuomo to the authorities.

In a letter written to his Fire Chief, Officer Santuomo claimed that his dogs were suffering after having drank anti-freeze. Santuomo claimed that he shot his dogs to "save them" from their misery. Apparently the thought of calling poison control, or taking the dogs to the vet, never occured to him. In any event, a necropsy disproved Officer Santuomo's story and a later investigation revealed that Officer Santuomo killed his dogs because he did not want to pay for the cost of boarding them while he and his girlfriend went on a cruise. Adding insult to injury, Officer Santuomo's neighbors had offered to take of the dogs for free.

Judge Harland Hale condemned Officer Santuomo to 90 days in jail. Officer Santuomo was also ordered to pay $4,500 to cover the costs of the investigation, and fined $150. Officer Santuomo was also ordered to perform 200 hours of community service, and to serve five years probation during which he could not own any pets or firearms. Judge Hale also ordered Officer Santuomo to write a letter of apology to a national firefighters magazine and to The Dispatch, the local newspaper. Officer Santuomo will be allowed to serve his 90-day sentence in 10-day increments over a 2-year period.

Officer Santuomo's attorney claimed that this was an "isolated incident" and "totally out of character." However, Officer Santuomo has reportedly received several reprimands for being discourteous to fellow officers, writing a bad check, not paying a traffic fine, and letting his EMT license expire.

As a last gesture of regret at the end of his hearing, Officer Santuomo, who offered no apology for killing his dogs, raised his middle finger to the reporters assembled to cover his story.

Officer Santuomo remains on active duty while awaiting a disciplinary hearing. Let's just hope he has no children who need watching while he serves his jail sentence.

Author: Jean-Pierre Ruiz

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