Brit ON A MissionTo Rescue Italian Strays Dies

Story ByAna LacasaSub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyNewsflash

A famous Brit in Italy who used his celebrity status to be a tireless campaigner in rescuing stray dogs has died.

John Peter Sloan was not only famous for teaching English on local television, he was also a comedian, writer and theatre actor. He died of what was described as ‘respiratory complications’ at the age of 51 in his adopted homeland of Sicily.

He gained fame in Italy on the TV comedy show ‘Zelig’ before appearing in children’s shows and English-language programmes.

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But his passion which he shared with his partner was his love for animals. The couple did everything they could for strays and had even adopted 14 of them in their own home, including Rocky, described in local media as a “big, playful black dog with his tongue constantly hanging out and only one tooth”.

John described how he adopted Rocky by saying: “When I found him, he had his face smashed in with a stick and there were thousand of ticks covering his body. I realised that he was a special dog, and I wanted to keep him with me.”

Speaking about his adopted homeland of Sicily he once said: “Everything here is beautiful, there is the sea, the people and then the sea again. But there is only one flaw. In England, we are known for our love of pets, but I’m so sorry in Sicily to see so many dogs without owners. And there are also those that do bad things to dogs.”

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He added: “My mission is to save all of the abandoned dogs in Sicily.”

Together with other campaigners, he formed a dog rescue centre and also arranged for the animals to be sent to other areas not only in Italy like Rome and Milan but also to other countries like Germany where they could be adopted with new homes.

He died in the city of Menfi in the southern Italian island of Sicily after being hospitalised with breathing problems on 25th May.

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His manager Stefania Milanesi told local media that “everything happened suddenly, he was suffering with asthma”.

Reports did not mention whether Sloan’s health respiratory-related issue was also related to COVID-19.

His colleague Herbert Pacto said on social media: “Hi John, we will never forget your fun way of teaching English. With his joy, he was loved by all Italians.”

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Italian writer Maurizio Colombi said: “Today, we lost a great Italian personality we imported from Birmingham, John Peter Sloan, a great singer, creator, actor and comedian – a true master.”

Governor of Liguria, Giovanni Toti, said on social media: “We will never forget your fun way of teaching English.”

According to local media, Sloan left the UK when he was 16 years ago to travel to Europe as a singer and guitarist.

He arrived in Italy in 1990 and founded the rock band ‘The Max’.

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Sloan quit touring with the group when his first daughter was born in 2000 and he started teaching English.

He released English-language DVDs and books as well as appeared in numerous educational TV shows before founding the John Peter Sloan – The School in Milan in 2011.

Sloan also had offices in the Italian capital Rome as well as Menfi in Sicily where he moved to in 2016.

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Ana Lacasa

I am a senior writer and journalist and editor of the Spanish desk for the Central European News agency.

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