Distraught Actor Commits Suicide After Putting Dog to Sleep

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A struggling soap opera actor took his own life last week after he euthanized his dog, claiming that harassment by his condo association had forced him to betray his best friend.

Nick Santino was found dead just a day after he put down his beloved pit bull, Rocco, on his 47th birthday. Santino, who appeared on All My Children and Guiding Light, blamed the board at One Lincoln Plaza (his apartment building) for the decision to put down the dog, saying that he and other dog owners were subject to constant harassment.

“Today I betrayed my best friend and put down my best friend,” a despondent Santino wrote in his suicide letter, according to close friend Stuart Sarnoff. “Rocco trusted me and I failed him. He didn’t deserve this.”

One Lincoln Plaza put strict dog regulations in place in 2010, including a ban on pit bulls. The regulations were grandfathered, but Santino said he and other dog owners were subject to relentless pressure to get rid of their dogs.

“People were complaining about his dog,” said neighbor Kevan Cleary. “It was open season on him.”

Rocco was prohibited from riding in the main elevators and bogus claims of excessive barking were filed against him.

“The dog was not a barker, but somebody complained that the dog would bark,” Cleary said. “He felt like he was in this battle because he was the only guy in the building with a pit-bull mix,” he added.

Another neighbor, Lia Pettigrew, agreed. “Everybody knows that he had been harassed by the building management.”

Santino made a last phone call to his former girlfriend at about 2 a.m. Wednesday. He was found dead in his bedroom Thursday from an apparent overdose of pills.

Apparently the pressure he was subjected to was just enough to force the actor to make a decision that he could not ultimately live with. A heart breaking note on Facebook from Santino indicated his frame of mind in the last few hours of his life. Despite his torment, his admiration for Rocco was clear. “I did not rescue Rocco, Rocco rescued me.”

28 thoughts on “Distraught Actor Commits Suicide After Putting Dog to Sleep”

  1. Very common. Lonely folks think og a pet as their family. I did until my brautiful Sr.Sean Coonery died late 2011.. my heart was and still is broken.

  2. My family has 2 cats and just aquired a beautiful Blue Nose Brindle Pit. I would be seriously depressed if anything happened to any of my babies, 2 or 4 legged. I understand why maybe he couldn’t just move. Our (USA) money situation is crap. Why couldn’t he give Rocco to someone he knew, that he knew would take care of him. I mean… I know I would be devestated if I had to get rid of any of my family members, but at least they would still be alive. Rip to both Nick n Rocco. My heart goes out to everybody that cares about them.

  3. He probably tried to find him a good home, but as anyone who has ever had a pit bull and tried to find it a home, it is so very hard because of the “stigma” that is attached to these beautiful dogs. They are branded as being bad dogs and that is not the case. I have one and thought I was going to have to move. I tried for months to try to find it a good home but to no avail. The Humane Society was turning animals away, the animal shelter would only keep it a short time and then euthanize. I ask everyone and posted flyers and called. I had no luck for months. Please don’t think it would have been so easy for him to give Rocco a home. I hope this building manager gets what he deserves!! SHAME ON YOU AND THE PEOPLE WHO HARASSED NICK! May they both rest in peace!!!

    • But even a tiny, tiny chance of adoption at a shelter is better than the certainty of being put down. He didn’t give the dog a chance. And the condos he lived in were not cheap. Why didn’t he move? Don’t blame anyone but the guy for what happened.

  4. If you people did some research you’d know he DID try to find the dog a home. Stop hating and get the facts straight before you start dictating what people should and shouldn’t do. He did everything he felt he could. Those selfish neighbors should be ashamed. Losers.

  5. Shame, shame to you heartless neighbors and Board Members!!!! Just remember, what goes around comes around, and sooner or later, you will pay for it. Nick and Rocco are now in Heaven while you will live in Hell….that is if you have any conscience.

  6. I got my dog put down in retrospect too soon. she got hit by a car but I am now convinced she would have survives=d. I was feelinf =g very depressed before this happened as have no excuse whatever for what I have done.
    I understand completely where this man is coming from. I am currently giving away my belongings and have made a will leaving my goods to an animal charity, cannot wait to get away from this world and my mind.

    • Please do not end your life…I know that the expense of caring for an injured baby can make you make decisions you regret but know deep down inside that your furbaby isn’t suffering anymore!!! hate the world we live in now but you need to be strong and carry on, rescue another one who needs and truly depends on you to survive and your lost angel will look down on you with so much love and forgiveness and love you even more when the time comes for you two to be together. You have to fight to survive, be strong because everything changes in an instant and God is other done with what he has in store for you….fight to stay alive my dear soul!!!!!!

  7. This was a tragedy. But we are all sitting in judgement of a situation we can’t possibly understand. Maybe if there were more compassion and less judgement in the world people would find a better way to solve their problems. But even in death this man is being judged and criticized. When will we ever learn to be humane.


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