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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.

414 COMMENTS

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106.

Stacy    

This is very sad for many reasons. Depression needs to be taken seriously. If this man was really depressed, I am sure he felt he had no other choice to do what he did as a result of his neighbors pressuring him. There is a point in depression where you can not cope with simple things like bathing, let alone coping with neighbors pressuring you about giving up your beloved pet. Second, and SHAME ON TMZ for adding the pit bull poll regarding aggressiveness, pit bulls ARE NOT an aggressive breed of dog; they are loyal and loving and have been given a bad rap because of the media. For those of us who know what a pit bull looks like, we know that the news calls dogs pits that are not pits when a bite happens because of their lack of knowledge and when they find out they are wrong, do they retract what they said? NO. Shame on everyone who does not take the time to resesarch their comments. And I'll be saying a prayer for both Rocco and Santino. He will now be at rest with his beloved pet.

962 days ago
107.

whiteboyday    

Two points: 1. Your poll is flawed; as a professional dog trainer I can attest (along with anyone else who knows anything about dogs) that there are different types of aggression, with the main difference being between DOG AGGRESSION and HUMAN AGGRESSION. Pitbulls have a strong prey drive and some may be dog aggressive, but nationally standardized temperament tests show that pits display LESS human aggression than many other breeds, including dauschunds, schnauzers, and poodles...yes poodles. You only hear about pitbull bites more so than these other breeds b/c they can do more damage than a poodle, but a pitbull that has been socialized and not abused will not be human aggressive. 2. This guy obviously had deeper mental issues. A shelter is usually a death sentence for a pitbull, but a donation to a no-kill rescue goes a long way in rehoming a pet. I would think that anyone who can afford a Manhattan condo could afford a donation to one of the thousands of no-kill rescues that take in unwanted pets; he could also have even paid to have his dog boarded until he could find him a new home. It was unfair to deny this dog a shot at life, but I guess Santino himself realized that and his suicide could be partly attributed to guilt.

962 days ago
108.

BeSerious    

This is the absolutely saddest thing I've read in a long time. First of all, a vet will euthanize a healthy animal if the owner requests it. Have to by law. Secondly, it is so sad that this man thought this was his only option to put his dog down and not find him a home and then have so much guilt he took his own life. RIP

962 days ago
109.

Megan    

Wow - so very sad. I guess he felt that he had no options. I can't believe there are so many people who believe that pitts aren't aggressive. I would never move into an apt/coop/condo that allowed pitts (most don't). The difference between pitts (shepards, rotts, dobermans, etc.) is that when the attack, they can KILL. Period. I've seen a pitt attack, and it's one of the most disturbing things I've ever seen. According to the owner, "he is always so gentle, this is the first time." That may be the case, but they have instincts to attack smaller animals, things that move quickly, etc, and when they do, they put their victims in a death vice. I love dogs, even the dangerous ones, but please people - get real.

962 days ago
110.

anni    

what kinds of mental midget was this moron. Imagine if he had kids or a wife? Loser. Darwinism at WORK.

962 days ago
111.

sean    

I can't help wishing he had just found another place to live so they could still be living together as best buddies. This story breaks my heart.

962 days ago
112.

Tracie    

This is sad but why didn't he try to find his dog a new home? Whats sad is ALL dogs have the potential to be aggressive. Ive seen more damn lap dogs bite people than large dogs... and its not just pit bulls that bite/are aggressive..I had part of my face ripped of by a german shepherd. When will PEOPLE start putting blame on how these aggressive dogs were raised and not the dog its self. The same thing can be said for humans imo.

962 days ago
113.

ray    

really stupid, dumbass

962 days ago
114.

AmiK    

I hope that his neighbors feel like the *******s that they were for harassing the poor guy. People need to mind their own business and learn to leave others alone. It's not just children that bully each other. It seems like there are way too many douchebags these days. You don't know what others are going through, or what issues people have. Our society has to learn to take a good long look in the mirror, because most of these "bullies" are ugly, pathetic people, kids that bully included. They learn it from their parents. This man was likely depressed, and having his neighbors continually harass him and make him feel terrible literally pushed him to suicide. It is a sad world that we live in that so many people seem to think that they are better than others, or that they have a right to judge and to push other people around. If you see something, say something! That applies more to people's behavior them random bags on subways. It's time that we really start calling people out on their lewd behavior and attitudes.

962 days ago
115.

pcox    

I went to a shelter and played with a pit one day... The dog was very playful, but he was so strong I had to leave. Aggressive? Yes. They'll aggressively play with you.

962 days ago
116.

Michelle Luppino    

He was mentally ill or he would not have killed himself or the dog.

962 days ago
117.

Tony    

Wow, TMZ! Really? You're posting a poll on if we have sympathy for a dead man?

962 days ago
118.

OhyesIdid    

Pitbulls are no more dangerous then any other dog. Ive been around all types of dogs and the most vicious who will attack and bite you the quickest are small dogs like chihuahuas. I once saw a dachshund attack a woman sitting on the floor and it tore off a large part of her lip. I have also been bitten by a husky and a couple labs. People can mistreat a animal or simply train it to be mean. That isnt the animals fault. Also, if you dont socialize your dog enough and have more than one, they can get a 'pack' mentality and attack people but this can happen in any breed. I currently do not own a pit but I have in the past, she was a huge baby. All this is, is a stereo type. Its a shame that animals cant get the proper respect or treatment as humans.
This all being said, its a sad story but the guy should have just moved or tried to find the dog a home, caretaker, whatever. No reason is a good enough reason to kill yourself.

962 days ago
119.

Sue    

At Jen #14 You are absolutely right. A vet will put down a healthy pet. My son had it done. His VERY beloved pit girl, Roxi, was healthy and gentle & very loving. She was only 4. He rescued her from a shelter when she was a year old. She was his best buddy and protected him. My son has some disibilities due to an accident and couldn't go out much & counted on her to ease his struggles & loneliness. However, his landlord sold the building and even though nobody has ever complained about her and she was a well behaved dog, never barking or making a mess,the new landlord insisted she had to go. My son, who lives on a small disability check, could not afford to move. He tried in vain to find a home for her. Unfortunately, because she was a pit, which carries a bad rep. and because she was no longer a puppy, no one wanted her. He chose to have her euthanized instead of leaving her in the terrible conditions of a shelter & having her be w/o human love & companionship everyday. The shelters are so overcrowded she probably would have been euthanized anyway. Basically, she would have been just awaiting her death. Some people find such unconditional love in their pets that it is a struggle to go on w/o them. Afterall, a beloved pet can never hurt our hearts like a human. And unlike a human, they expect nothing back in return for their love and affection, just love and affection back. Pets don't care how we look, what kind of car we drive or the brand of our clothes. Having a pet is pure, unconditional love. I believe dogs become so attuned to us that they become almost humanlike in their feelings for us, their owners and even in the ways in which they protect us and alert us to danger. There is a reason dogs are called mans best friend. My condolences to his family. This is so senseless.

962 days ago
120.

Regina    

This story made me want to cry. I feel so sorry for his family and friends that have to deal with this.
I am in agreement with the one's on here that say it is the way that they are raised and not the entire breed that is bad. I have a dear friend who has raised doby's. None of them have EVER bitten another person, ever. Yet my sister's dog who is a mix of terrier and retriever has gone after every service worker in a uniform in existence. He hasn't bitten anyone YET, but he probably will someday.
With that being said, it is outrageous that he had to put his dog down because of a few neighbors. Since his dog was grandfathered in, it should have been all right to keep him. I would have told the neighbors where to get off.
Manhattan is notoriously expensive. He probably could not afford to move especially if he was out of work. Even soaps are laying off people and going under. He was probably depressed due to lack of employment and then was told he had to get rid of his best friend in this world. That would shake up anybody's foundation.
When you are depressed to the point of committing suicide, there are no options for you, not that you can see. He was in so much pain that it was the only way out.It isn't true but people in that much pain don't see it. And people's pets can and often are their only family in this world. I see it all the time in my line of work. His whole world was just devastated, not to mention that men's whole identities are often wrapped up with what they do for a living. It devastates them when they lose a job and they often commit suicide.
As for putting down a healthy dog, it's done all the time. Especially if it is a pit.
I have it in my will that if I should pass away before my cat does that he is to be put down when I die. He's 21 years old. Who is going to want to take care of a cat that old?? So to spare him any pain and having to adjust to another home that is what I decided to do. He probably did the same thing.

962 days ago
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