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Struggling Soap Actor

Commits Suicide After

Euthanizing Beloved Dog

1/28/2012 5:15 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Nick Santino and his beloved dog
A soap actor killed himself this week on his 47th birthday ... hours after he was forced to put his beloved dog to sleep under pressure from his Manhattan condo.

According to the NY Post the building had a ban on pit-bulls, but Nick Santino's dog had been grandfathered in ... which didn't sit well with some of the neighbors. Some claimed the dog was loud and aggressive, but others said building management was just harassing Santino ... trying to force him to get rid of the dog.

Santino had Rocco put to sleep on Tuesday -- for some reason he felt that was his only option.

According to the paper, a tearful Santino brought dog treats to the doorman and said, "Give these to the other dogs. Rocco is no more."

Later that day Santino left a suicide note that read, "Today I betrayed my best friend and put down my best friend ... Rocco trusted me and I failed him. He didn't deserve this."

Santino -- who has appeared on "All My Children" and "The Guiding Light" -- OD'd on pills early the next morning.

Rocco was cremated and friends told the Post Santino will be too.


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Previous 15 Comments | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22


@Willa329 and those who agree with her - clearly you do not know or understand the politics of the prejudice towards those breeds commonly identified as "pit bulls." Denver, CO has killed more than 3000 otherwise healthy, non-aggressive, family pets just because they fit the description of "pit bull" - they are not even required to prove that the dog is truly related in any way to any breed that is commonly known as "pit bull." In that community, if a neighbor complains and tells authorities that they believe you are harboring a pit bull - no search warrants are required, over and over again families tell of city employees entering their homes, using a catch pull to drag their terrified family dog through their home and out to a city truck in front of the family children while they are screaming and crying and the dog is destroyed as soon as possible. There are numerous law suits against the city for these ridiculous actions that most of us see as violating our civil rights, but Denver continues with this murderous policy even though these family dogs have no complaints against them except their appearance - they look like a pit bull.

When you fall in love with these wonderful breeds as so many of us have done and you begin to discover just how bizarre the ignorant hatred against them is, you also learn that if for any reason you are forced to give up one of your dogs, you have very few options available to you. You have to be so very careful who you might allow to take your dog or suffer the trauma of discovering that you handed over your loving couch potato to those who will torture and abuse your loyal, best friend all for the sake of money. Druggies, dog fighters, all sorts of heartless criminals are always looking for cheap or free dogs, especially any of the "pit bull" breeds who are known for their body strength, their determination, strong - almost overwhelming loyalty & desire to please their humans/masters and then they abuse, torture, drug them, even feed them gun powder to convince them to behave in the most vicious manner possible. When you have come to know the true nature of these dogs and see them caring for any child around them even if it means risking their own lives to protect those they perceive as needing their protection and then you hear reports of them savagely killing or harming babies or children, you come to realize just how much these dogs have been damaged. So, no, you cannot just give the dog away and believe that they will be safe and loved. And, anyone who is so naive as to believe that a vet will not put down a healthy dog . . . grow up and face reality! It's ignorant and heartless comments like yours that add to the heartbreak and pressure that were already beating Mr. Santino down. Everyone's personality and support system is different - I've rescued and raised pit bulls for decades, but all my dogs have been sent to me from God as blessings so even though I've been in terrible places, wondering how I was going to take care of myself and my dogs, I always had the faith that the Lord would be there for us - no need for me to choose a solution that doesn't allow any other options. That is so very sad and my heart goes out to his friends and family left behind. How can anyone believe that sharing your bitterness and misinformed, harsh opinions is going to benefit anyone else? If you really care, then get involved. If you are going to leave comments and act as though you are stating facts when you don't know beans, the very least you can do to perform as a responsible citizen is to study the situation so that you can then offer real facts and correct others when they are just shooting off their mouths!

Not only are these wonderful family pets, but they love to work for their humans in other ways - they are excellent law enforcement dogs, therapy dogs, Search & Rescue, and Service Dogs. I have PTSD and my first service dog was a beautiful and gentle, very large pit bull who had just been my pet along with her sister until she was 5 years old and I needed her to train as a service dog. Now, I have a very cute Staffordshire Bull Terrier (small pit bull from England) as my 2nd service dog and she collects friends/fans any place that we go.

Blessings and Tender Loves to all of you out there who defend and care for these wonderful dogs and other animals who are mistreated and damaged by the world's most dangerous animal - humans. Please when you feel crushed and overwhelmed to the point of giving up, reach out to others - with the internet, you have an endless supply of folks who will stand beside you. Let them help you before you give up, please.

948 days ago


Why don't people just stay out of other peoples business - if the dog did not do anything to hurt anybody why make him get rid of his precious friend. I hope these people will live with the guilt of what happened to a man who only wanted to love his dog!

948 days ago


comment on what ???? the actor who killed his dod then himself ??? soooooo sad !!!!

947 days ago


Just goes to show just how HEARTLESS people can me. Morons. Rest in peace Rocco and Nick. This never should have happened. Shame on you people!!!!!! Animals are living breathing beings too.

947 days ago

Dennis Shook    

i have a year and half old pom and if i had to put him down i would not kill myself but i know major depression would kick in for sure. maybe he was having other problems as well. this world is so crazy now we need to pray for this world its falling apart. all the things in revelations in the bible are taking place, its time to get right people.

947 days ago


OMG, How sad. My heart breaks just thinking how broken this man had to be when the dog was put down.It is hard to place a pitbull for adoption. I can't help but think I would have said F U moved, and sued the pants off those condo folks.

947 days ago

Rich B    

I agree with Willa - they don't just kill healthy dogs like that. I don't think this guy was playing with a full deck to begin with if he killed himself over the death of a dog. Honestly if the dog meant that much to him why didn't he just move? Also having had a friend that suffered a nasty leg bite from one of these things, I wouldn't want one in my building either.

947 days ago


OMG - I agree that NO Veterinarian would put a healthy dog down. I recently adopted a dog from a shelter and there are plenty of other ways to find a home for his dog than to put him down. It seems obvious that Nick Santino was suffering from depression or some mental illness to have taken his own life. Who was the Vet who Euthanized Nick's dog Rocco. I would like to know if the dog was sick. Either way this was a tragedy. I wonder if there were any signs that Nick was suicidal. What could we have done to prevent this from happening. Only the people close to Nick can answer that question.

946 days ago

Victoria Alessandra Brown    

Sad, sad story about someone who was despondent about his own life. New York City is one of the most dog friendly places in the United States and even if it were not, there are options when needing to let go off a beloved animal companion. Having said this, I would not, could not, ever. euthanize a dog because of nosy, ill willed neighbors. I move as I have before. What is that saying? Where there is a will, there is a way! And by the way, I have been bitten my small poodles and seen a pit full be afraid of a cat. It is all in the way we train, cherish and educate our dogs!

946 days ago


For those of you saying no vet would put a healthy dog down, I say get real. For the right price somebody would put that dog down. It may have even been suggested, because it was a pitbull, hard to place, and may have gotten in the hands of someone that used it for dog fighting, or it could have been so traumatized from losing it's owner it started attacking unprovoked. That kind of behavoir is a death sentence for a Pitbull. Better he put him down then the authorities. I love my dog and home a lot. If I had to make a choice I would have moved, and sued the (sit) out the people who really ran us out of our home for all kinds of damages. I think he had a case.

946 days ago


Those SOB's!!! I had 2 pittys whom were the best dogs I ever had. We had to put one down, his back legs failed him and he had other issues, but we still have him, and my 3 yr old granddaughter rides him like a pony and lays on him and all he does is lick her face and wag his tail...remember, its not the dog that is bad, its the owners who are bad. Any animal can be trained to be mean, so don't blame the Pit Bulls. And what about Rot Whilers,German Shepards, Doberman Pinchers? Same story. Mean people just don't deserve to have pets...Remembaer Michael Vick??? How mistreated those dogs were? Who made them that way??? Alot of smaller dogs are vicious as well..all those ankle biters and finger nabers. No further comment.

946 days ago


why didn't he just move?????? these people in entertainment are for the most part looney tunes, you have to be somewhat nuts to be in that business.

941 days ago


Yes, he failed Rocco. A lot of people are raised to think, get a dog, have fun with it but when it becomes an inconvenience, you can just get rid of it. It doesn't sound like he tried much to do anything but the easiest thing. He could have called an animal shelter and maybe someone could have fostered Rocco for awhile. It sounds like he planned to keep living there after he put his dog to sleep so he just took the easiest way out.

941 days ago


he asked a friend to take care of the dog but she didn't want, even though she knew how much he was harassed. He called his ex-girlfriend and told her he wanted to kill himself and she didn't help him either, didn't call 911, did nothing. This guy was lonely and constantly bullied at his own home, god knows what kind of threats he received from his neighbours that lead to this tragedy. He had all the legal rights of living there with his dog, but in despite of that he was treated like garbage by some neighbours, those people can be nasty, trust me! He probably wanted to move but couldn't in a short notice,it demands money, it is difficult to find a place who accepts pitbulls, also even harder it is to find someone who want to adopt these dogs. When someone is depressed or bullied, things look uncredible difficult to solve and deal with, especially when you are alone and see no hope for the future. Yes you probably would find other ways to deal with his situation, but every person has their limitations and if Nick suffered from depression (he said the dog saved his life) you see no way out when you hit the bottom, I think the neighbour harassment was the final straw for him

794 days ago
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