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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.


No Avatar

Mike Gallo    

What a sad story, obviously the poor guy had depression issues that caused him to make these rash decisions, it is so easy for any of us to say "what we would have done" in his position, but that is irrelevant. To the people in his building who complained and to the building management I hope you live with the guilt from this for the rest of your lives (s***bags).

997 days ago


Willa, yes a vet well put a animal down at the request of it's owner. And as for the breed, it's NOT about whether or not it's aggressive it is about the degree of damage that can be caused by this breed IF it does bite. It's a stupid argument and meaningless really. Working with animals you learn to respect one breed more than another. It's not being mean or harboring ill towards the breed it's about respecting what an animal is capable of doing ;)

997 days ago


He didn't have to put the dog to sleep. He could have asked a friend or family memeber to take him in while he found a new place that accepted it. The fact that he commited suicide, makes him more of a coward. I'm sorry for the loss of both, but it could have easily been avoided.

997 days ago


I feel so sad for this guy, that he felt his only option was to put his best friend down. I hope the building management is proud of themselves!!!

997 days ago


I do animal law and have had cases like this. As much as I feel for his plight, NEITHER death was necessary. First, attorneys doing animal law and/or real estate, including me, fought co-ops, condo boards and landlords before on pet issues, AND NYC is even better rules-wise than other parts of NYS on animals in apartments and Service Animals, something we are trying to push for elsewhere. These battles are part of an animal law attorney's job, including the Dangerous Dog regulations that the others used to fight to get his dog out of there. Even an atty that does just real estate law, c/h helped him, he has access in celebrity-world to so many resources and referrals other animal lovers don't have, so he could have gotten proper legal help, even at specially reduced fees many AL attorneys provide (he would not qualify for pro bono programs but he might for reduced fee programs and indiv attorneys are free to set their own standards).

2. Assuming this was all the way at the end of the battle, and he could not afford to move, as many folks mentioned, he could have gotten the dog a safe place. I know that is easier said than done with certain breeds but again, animal law attorneys know where to go and can work with the way overburdened animal rescue groups on a foster or permanent hom, or foster---until permanent owner found (I ran my own during law school and frankly, kind of rewarding to come home to a house full of critters that would be dead but for the wonderful rescuer that saved them and got them a place to stay while we worked on adoptions through ads in the paper,, our own websites, word of mouth, etc.

3. As other folks stated, I am surprised a vet would euth a healthy animal, even given the alternatives, including alternative-going to the NYC animal shelter system and being dead within a week and not in an easy way, and/or risk of being adopted into fighting and just as nasty situations, such as being brutally slaughtered for food (yes-people do this a lot more than you would think, even people not from places where dog and cat are on the menu, and I only found out from a District Attorney/head of the in the first animal abuse unit in a DA's office in NY and one of the first in the country, on Long Island, trying to lock them up.

4. I know it is tough to see your pet PTS but that is part of being a good animal owner/dogparent, animal rescuer, animal law attorney, etc. You cry, speak with comforting friends, organizations-whatever you have to do even if you never had a friend can be found-heck, he c/h called at least 100 people I know without Googling for some guidance. You do NOT kill oneself. He c/h thought of it this way-if I kill myself today, imagine how many other joyous moments animals would miss with me-that wonderful feeling rescued animals get all the time, runs through the park, etc. and now I cannot make it a mission to use my status and anything else I can think of to help critters. Ex: I was upset but pulled myself together years ago after leaving the bar exam and seeing a carriage horse by the Javitz Center, out in 95 degree weather in front of some building but owner not "technically" breaking the law because horse was not "working", and I bet the minute the temp went below the legal max he would be out on the streets being tortured pulling a carriage, then I saw more abused critters on the long walk back to the hotel, and I took a silent oath and prayed while comforting him to really kick ass (no pun intended) for the second day of exam time, and not waste time being sick in the bathroom, and if I did not pull together, it would be another 182 days before the next bar exam and lots of animals are tortured, killed and more in just one day, and it worked as it has for other attorneys I know. So, this guy c/h used whatever he had in him to pull himself together, if only for the sake of his dog.

997 days ago


Read his IMDB biography. He was also a 9/11 search and rescue worker at the World Trade Center.

And of all things, to die on his birthday!

997 days ago


That is sad. Pitbulls are NOT the problem. OWNERS are the problem. People who don't know how to properly raise these dogs turn them into aggressive dogs. They need proper care. They are very loving and loveable. Jerks use these poor dogs as fight dogs and many are rescue dogs with issues due to a severely abused past. A pitbull ban is NOT the answer.

997 days ago


On its face, this story is B.S.! There is much more to it than this. Kill your dog and then yourself because of where you live? Really??

997 days ago


Haven't read ALL the comments yet,but does anyone else(besides myself) feel that this story kinda reminds you of the guy who killed a lot of his wild animals(some were freed),then killed hiself?

997 days ago


Very sorry for Santino and his family/friends (and Rocco). Santino was obviously in a very bad fraglie place and this relatively minor crisis pushed him into making bad decisions that had permamant consequences for all involved.

As for Pit Bulls, no the breed is not evil and there are Pits that make great pets, at the same time you can't ignore the fact that the breedline has (by no choice of it's own) been tainted and damaged a great deal by sick humans breeding them for use as higly aggreesive fighting dogs. Knowing that, and numerous highly publicized confirmed attacks by pitbulls it's highly understandable why the general population is nervous of the breed as a whole.

997 days ago


I hate stories like this.

997 days ago


this guy had bigger issues other than a dog....if hes was one of those PETA idiots than that would explain it too

997 days ago

Tom Brokaw    

what the ****s the point of that poll TMZ "sympathy for Santino" the guy just ******in died you *******s. Im getting sick of this site lately

997 days ago

Michael Jackson Was A Pedo    

Um, did moving to a place that allowed the dog ever cross his mind? Such extreme measures in both cases.
I hope some of the idiotic neighbors that kept complaining and whining about the dog feel super guilty and end up killing themselves too. That would be hilarious.

997 days ago

Fran C    

What does it take to educate people. THREE studies done in THREE different countries by THREE different organizations found that "pit bulls" are NO more aggressive than other dogs. Countries were Canada, Germany and Australia. In Denver where there is a ban it was discovered that 97% of media reported dog bites involved "pit bulls" HOWEVER research showed that during that SAME TIME FRAME all the so called "pit bull type" dogs were responsible for ONLY 2.6% of ALL the Do***ented dog bites! Way to GO media.

997 days ago
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