Skip to content

Soap actor commits suicide after pup’s ‘forced’ euthanasia: breed discrimination takes two more lives

January 30, 2012
by

HOUNDED TO DEATH: After putting down his beloved pit pull Rocco amid pressure from his condo, Nick Santino took his own life.

Source: New York Post

A down-on-his-luck soap-opera actor took his own life this week after he was forced to put his beloved dog to sleep under pressure from his Upper West Side condo and became wracked by grief, pals said.

Nick Santino euthanized his dog, Rocco, Tuesday — on Santino’s 47th birthday. That night, his guilt over the gut-wrenching decision became too much to bear.

“Today I betrayed my best friend and put down my best friend,” a despondent Santino wrote in a suicide note, said close friend Stuart Sarnoff.

“Rocco trusted me and I failed him. He didn’t deserve this.”

The Brooklyn-born Santino — a struggling actor whose TV credits include All My Children and Guiding Light — adopted Rocco from a shelter several years ago.

The man, raised in an orphanage and foster homes, soon began to write about his pet on Facebook, writing, “I did not rescue Rocco, Rocco rescued me.”

But in 2010, his building at 1 Lincoln Plaza announced strict new dog regulations, including a ban on pit bulls. The ban didn’t apply to pit bulls already in the building, but friends and neighbors said Santino began to be harassed.

“People were complaining about his dog,” said neighbor Kevan Cleary, 63, an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School. “It was open season on him.”

Rocco couldn’t ride in the main elevators and wasn’t allowed to be left in the apartment alone for more than nine hours.

Santino was then threatened with a $250 fine for having a barking dog, neighbors said.

“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,” Cleary added.

Another neighbor, Lia Pettigrew, who runs a pet-care company, said, “Everybody knows that he had been harassed by the building management.”

The building’s management refused to comment yesterday.

After months of increasing anguish, Santino had the healthy dog put to sleep Tuesday.

Neighbors said a tearful Santino brought dog treats to the building’s doorman and said: “Give these to the other dogs. Rocco is no more.”

Dog owner James Steven Grant said Santino left two rawhide bones on his doorstep and earlier was seen tearfully giving away Rocco’s fluffy bed.

“Rocco was the sweetest dog in the world. Rocco wouldn’t hurt a fly,” Grant said.

A veterinarian told Santino that Rocco was becoming aggressive — and Santino blamed it on his own depression.

He spent Tuesday in agony over what he had done to Rocco.

“He was distraught and remorseful about putting down his best friend,” Cleary said.

The last phone call he made was to a former girlfriend at 2 a.m. Wednesday. Later that day, police found his body in his bedroom. He had overdosed on pills.

Rocco has been cremated, and friends said Santino’s remains will be, too, and they will be reunited.

“One way or another, their ashes will be together forever,” Sarnoff said.

Additional reporting by Aaron Feis, Jamie Schram and Andy Soltis | jsaul@nypost.com


Additional Information

*Animal Farm Foundation will lead a peaceful vigil to remember Nick Santino, Rocco the “pit bull” dog, and all victims of canine discrimination. We are devastated by the inhumanity and injustice that Mr. Santino and Rocco experienced prior to their deaths.

*Our goal for this vigil is to end the unnecessary, fear-based discrimination that some “pit bull” dogs and their owners face, particularly with regard to housing matters. We wish to empower community members with information and resources to replace fear with facts, and to advocate for equal treatment and opportunity for “pit bull” dogs and their owners.

*Please meet at 4:00 pm at the Josie Robertson Plaza (at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts). We will march down West 64th Street past “One Lincoln Plaza,” the building where Mr. Santino and Rocco lived.

*A press conference will follow.

Please leave your dogs at home. Thank you.

To learn more about Animal Farm Foundation, please visit: http://www.animalfarmfoundation.org

Questions? Contact: Kim Wolf at kwolf@animalfarmfoundation.org

Directions: http://new.lincolncenter.org/live/index.php/visitorinfo-directions-to-lincoln-center


Learn more about this case:

1/28/2012 New York Post: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/doggone_shame_1a9XYW8u9ZLlqwRJTa6jrN

1/29/2012 New York Post:http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/blaming_us_is_just_pit_bull_F1kBWwYhhwui6B3tecpcuK

1/28/2012 Ryan Clinton & O is for Onward: http://oisforonward.com/2012/01/rocco-a-mans-best-friend-pit-bull-discrimination/



it is very hard to write a poem
about a man and a dog
tormented in their home
and the terrible choice
a good man had to make
and when he could no
longer cope
his own life,
he takes

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



38 Comments leave one →
  1. karen lyons kalmenson permalink
    January 30, 2012 2:57 pm

    this is one of the most blatant example of what happens when moronic little minaret people decide how other people should live, and make these smallminded utterances and actions without even the slightest concern of awareness of the concept of consequences. a wonderful. trouble young man, backed into the worst of corners, unable to live with their decision, his, himself and unable to live without his best friend…this is a wake up call for coops, rentals condos etc that laws must be enacted to ensure that all residents of these domiciles be allowed to have pets, and that if these board harass the pet owners, they can be charged with harassment and worse…this board of misery needs to be charged with accessory to murder, as they robbed our world of two lives, rocco and his nick.

    Like

    • Louise Guthrie permalink
      February 3, 2012 8:29 pm

      So well said Karen. Minaret people, what an apt descriptor. Yes, two murders.

      Like

  2. karen lyons kalmenson permalink
    January 30, 2012 2:58 pm

    it is very hard to write a poem
    about a man and a dog
    tormented in their home
    and the terrible choice
    a good man had to make
    and when he could no
    longer cope
    his own life,
    he takes

    Like

  3. LINDA BADHAM permalink
    January 30, 2012 3:41 pm

    MY GOD HOW HEARTBREAKING IS THIS ! SOUNDS AS IF THE MAN WAS TAKEN TO THE LIMIT ! HOPE WHO EVER HARASSED THIS MAN FEELS THE KARMA NOW. RIP BOTH OF YOU

    Like

  4. jt waldie permalink
    January 30, 2012 3:46 pm

    Since this story broke vey early Friday morning, I as well as several hundred other like minded anti BSLers have been involved in bitter discussions on the NY Post news-on-line media. I wish others with the same like-mindedness would join the discussions. There was an update yesterday which mentions that the management of this building refuses to take responsiblity for this travesty. There will be a candle light vigil for Nick Santino and Rocco this week. It is listed as an event on FB.

    *Animal Farm Foundation will lead a peaceful vigil to remember Nick Santino, Rocco the “pit bull” dog, and all victims of canine discrimination. We are devastated by the inhumanity and injustice that Mr. Santino and Rocco experienced prior to their deaths.

    *Our goal for this vigil is to end the unnecessary, fear-based discrimination that some “pit bull” dogs and their owners face, particularly with regard to housing matters. We wish to empower community members with information and resources to replace fear with facts, and to advocate for equal treatment and opportunity for “pit bull” dogs and their owners.

    *Please meet at 4:00 pm at the Josie Robertson Plaza (at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts). We will march down West 64th Street past “One Lincoln Plaza,” the building where Mr. Santino and Rocco lived.

    *A press conference will follow.

    Please leave your dogs at home. Thank you.

    To learn more about Animal Farm Foundation, please visit: http://www.animalfarmfoundation.org

    Questions? Contact: Kim Wolf at kwolf@animalfarmfoundation.org

    Thank you!

    DIRECTIONS: http://new.lincolncenter.org/live/index.php/visitorinfo-directions-to-lincoln-center

    * * * *

    LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS CASE:

    1/28/2012 New York Post: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/doggone_shame_1a9XYW8u9ZLlqwRJTa6jrN

    1/29/2012 New York Post: ttp://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/blaming_us_is_just_pit_bull_F1kBWwYhhwui6B3tecpcuK

    1/28/2012 Ryan Clinton & O is for Onward: http://oisforonward.com/2012/01/rocco-a-mans-best-friend-pit-bull-discrimination/

    Like

  5. January 30, 2012 4:49 pm

    Rocco was not euthanized- he was a healthy dog. Rocco was murdered by the person he trusted the most. I cannot understand why Santino felt he had to murder his dog and did not move or reach out to the plethora of rescue organizations,or hired a lawyer, or started a petition and fought it as many others have done before him and will do so after him. Surely one of them would have helped.
    Santino was right -he did fail his dog. The worst part is that Rocco will have to share the vigil with his murderer – the person who betrayed his love- Santino, who chose to kill himself unlike Rocco, the true victim.

    Like

  6. January 31, 2012 2:09 am

    I was listening to a broadcast by Adrian Rogers this morning.? His concept was on marriage but he produced reference to our overall health that seriously struck a chord with me.

    Like

  7. SHIREEN permalink
    January 31, 2012 8:33 am

    HOW VERY SAD THAT THIS HAPPENED…

    Like

  8. Sharon Kennedy permalink
    January 31, 2012 1:37 pm

    The people in the building who caused this tragedy should be prosecuted for harrassment and for malicious injury resulting in death.

    And in reply to Nancy, Santino was probably suffering from bullying syndrome which impairs thinking due to extreme and severe depression. Nancy, unless you have personally experienced bullying you cannot know what it does to the victim……incalcuable devastation to the soul and to the mind. There have been an epdemic of suicides caused by harrassers intent on doing eternal harm thru bullying and intimidationl.

    Like

  9. Jean McCarthy permalink
    January 31, 2012 3:30 pm

    This is such a sad story and to think that the poor man has been through so much before having his dog companion throughout adoption and the trials of being an actor.
    People should not have been harassing him to begin with which only created a greater turmoil to his life added to the conflicting emotions going through his tormented mind. This is situation that should never have happened however, Rocco and Santino will now be together. I personally know how devastating it is to give up your companions even through illness and the following depression but to have a guilt caused by outside influences is beyond imagining. One feels guilty enough when it is a necessity because you feel so utterly helpless and have done all you can. Rest in Peace Rocco and Santino.

    Like

  10. February 1, 2012 1:28 pm

    Sharon, I have indeed experienced bullying as well as depression.-I was at one time homeless with 9 companion animals to care for because I had to move to keep them together. I would never have harmed them or give them up.

    I am also aware that people have committed suicide over cyber bullying but as far as I can ascertain, these were not murder/suicides. As I stated previously, many people have been bullied to give up their animals and they have fought and are still fighting to reclaim them. There was no excuse for him to murder his dog via death by fatal plus.

    The point I am emphasizing is that if this had been a murder-suicide (which I feel it is), and the person murdered were a human, everyone’s reaction would be far less sympathetic to the murderer. People seem to be empathizing more with the murderer, or equating the deaths as equally tragic. The real victim is Rocco, he was not depressed, he wanted to live.

    When people react differently to a similar situation but the species involved is nonhuman than we have a problem .Rocco was a nonhuman animal as opposed to a human. Sharon, would you have reacted differently if Santino had murdered a human? If you would than you have to ask yourself why.

    Like

  11. Alexander permalink
    February 2, 2012 5:49 pm

    I also want to raise awareness of a blog called Craven Desires. They are a Pro-Neo Nazi, Anti-Pit Bull, Anti-Any Dog That Is Hated As Much As A Pit Bull and are known as Cyberbullies. The bullied a 15-year old girl until she tried to commit suicide and they spread rummors about people. They claimed the a reputable UKC breeders was a dog fighter and all of the Pro-Pit Bull comments the have on their page are from the “Bad Pit Bull Owners”. One of the commentors on the blog who goes by the username “Dude, I Bagged Your Pit” is a registered sex-offender who was put in jail for molesting three girls. The blog owner also got in trouble for trying to poison four dogs: Two Pit Bulls, a Rottweiler mix and a Dogo/Unknown mix. Watch your children and watch your dogs.

    Like

    • Dude, I. permalink
      February 25, 2012 11:59 am

      ‘Dude, I Bagged Your Pit’ is a registered sex offender?

      Bwaaaaaaaaa-hahahahahaha! Another delusional pit bull advocate caught in yet another lie. Too damn funny!!!

      Like

  12. Tiana permalink
    February 2, 2012 5:54 pm

    The owner of DogsBite also is a lair. She doesn’t post all dog attacks either, just the ones that involve “Commonly Banned Breeds”. She labeled the Cane Corso as a fighting breed whoch is false. She also claims that German Shepherds and English Bulldogs will never be banned but they have been in China and GSDs have been banned in a few other places as well including some US military bases. She said the whole “German Shepgerds will be next thing is a Pro-Pit Bull scare tactic.”

    Ok sure I sympathize with her because she was atttacked by dogs but now she has turned into a liar. No wonder she has the Craven Desires blog listed on her site.

    Like

    • Miss Cellany permalink
      June 8, 2017 10:09 am

      Incorrect. She only posts fatal and life threatening dog attacks. Of ANY breed. That’s why there’s a malinois fatal dog attack on there (malinois aren’t banned anywhere afaik). The reason you see mostly pit bull attacks on her site is because (yep, you guessed it) they cause the most fatal dog attacks.

      Like

  13. Tiana permalink
    February 2, 2012 5:55 pm

    So about some of those typos XD.

    Like

  14. DawnJames permalink
    February 2, 2012 6:15 pm

    Well good! Just one less Shit Bull in the world and one less Pit Nutter to worry about!

    Like

    • Lelane permalink
      February 7, 2012 2:57 am

      What? Why so angry? Not get the toy on Xmas… Therapy needed… Blaming your mommy, no doubt…

      Like

  15. FlyingAnt12 permalink
    February 2, 2012 6:18 pm

    @DawnJames

    Did you hear that people who are racist and predjudice have a low IQ? Of course not you are predjudice. I am not predjudice against anyone(although I dislike people like you and peoplw who think all gays are evil and what not) or any animal. I am not a Pit Bull owner as they are not the breed for me. I do however own a German Shepherd and sometimes people claim that all German Shepherds are horrible dogs. You are a horrible person and because of that you have a low IQ.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Red Angel permalink
    February 2, 2012 6:21 pm

    Ignore DawnJames. He/she/it is just like the rest of those Craven Desires bloggers(yeah I know hwo you are): They like to get themselves off a bullying little girls. Isn’t that right? You like to picture little girls crying because of your hateful comments? Or maybe you hate pit bulls because you tried to have sex with one and it bit you? I say both.

    Folks ignore the trolls!

    I oppose BSL and I dislike hateful people as well.

    Like

  17. Craven Desires Victim permalink
    February 2, 2012 6:27 pm

    I am the girl who was bullied by the Craven Desires bloggers and blog owner. Yes I tried to kill myself and yes I still hav ethe same email address. I have put that all behind me and I now ignore hateful comments. They no longer hurt me bcause I do not let them hurt me. Sure I get the occasional email from one of them but I either ignore it are politely tell them to shove it. They claimed I was one of those “radical blog followers” and that I was a girl named SabertoothLioness. I am neither one of them.

    @DawnJames

    Sorry about responding to a troll but I have a few things I would like to say to you.

    I’m surprised you can spell. The only words you can only seem to get right are slurrs and curse words.

    I bet your a animal serial killer or one of those people who likes ot have sex wiht animals.

    I am going to be headed for college soon.

    I am going to start a foundation to keep the dog breeds that people like you hate safe from people like you.

    Good-bye,

    P.S.

    You belong in jail with the rest of the pedophiles.

    Like

    • Encarna Sánchez Puche permalink
      April 9, 2013 10:37 am

      Hi! I’m also a victim of that blog. Tomorrow I’m reporting them on the municipal court because they posted a picture of me and my sister and insulted us. I’m glad you’re fine.

      Like

      • April 13, 2015 5:42 pm

        That of course goes for you as well, Encarna Sánchez Puche: I’d like to help you here. (It seems a number of people will be suing her.)

        Like

    • April 13, 2015 5:41 pm

      @ Craven Desires Victim: I’ve managed to identify the vicious woman who blogs anonymously at cravendesires.com I have her full name, address, phone number. I won’t support vigilantism — but if this woman bullied you to the point of a suicide attempt, you have legal recourses: her state has rigorous anti-bullying laws, which cover cyberbullying. Please contact me: Douglas Anthony Cooper. (I won’t post my email here, but I’ve very easy to find me — facebook, for instance.)

      Like

      • April 13, 2015 6:55 pm

        (Er, “it’s” very easy to find me. Not “I’ve”. Please do make contact — I want to see this properly dealt with. It’s a vile business.)

        Like

    • August 2, 2016 11:34 am

      its been quite awhile now and im wondering how your lawsuit is going against that terrible craven desires woman . ha ha , another failure , i suppose, like your claimed suicide attempt .

      Like

  18. Can't Stand Idiots permalink
    February 2, 2012 6:37 pm

    @Craven Desires Victim

    I am glad you are ok and alive. That is the best revenge to get on those horrible people. I notice everyone that mentioned that blog mentioned forms of beatiality. I see you got the emails from one of their bloggers huh? One of their bloggers, a creep by the name of snacksized dog(gender unknown and I don’t wanna know) sent me some nasty pictures. Two were pictures of a woman performing fellatio on a horse, three were of a woman having full blown sex with a yellow Lab(the email was titled “These Are Good Dogs! Not Pit Bulls!”) and the last ofur were of two different women having various forms of sex with two mutts. Those people are very sick and are good at hiding their tracks as well. That’s why when people bring this stuff up on their blog they turn their attacks onto the person. The claim you are the one who is into sex with animals. People like that scare me.

    Be safe people and keep a close eye on your dogs and other animals.

    Like

  19. August 4, 2012 8:50 pm

    Why is minaret appropriate? Islam is not evil

    Like

  20. August 2, 2016 11:46 am

    obviously , the soap actor didnt have to kill himself or take an overdose , whatever the case might have been , just like he really didnt have to kill his dog . Those were choices he made , rather than events that were forced on him .

    Like

  21. Miss Cellany permalink
    June 8, 2017 10:04 am

    The dog was becoming aggressive (according to his own vet), clearly he had no idea how to address it other than euthanasia. If the dog was aggressive of course people won’t want to ride an elevator with it. Of COURSE they will complain about it and try to get it removed from the apartment block (would YOU want to live next door to an aggressive dog? Especially an aggressive pit bull type!?).

    “Not allowed to leave it alone in the apartment more than 9 hours” DUH! Because that would be abusive! “Oh poor me, I’m not allowed to neglect and abuse my dog, boo-hoo” I have 0 sympathy. For him to be told he isn’t allowed to do this, he must have been leaving the poor dog alone for more than 9 hours regularly – why even have a dog in that case??? A dog left alone that long WILL bark even if it’s not normally a barker (it will need to pee eventually and start whinging and barking to be let out). Obviously this was annoying the neighbours – I don’t blame the neighbours at all. Maybe he should have moved out instead if he loved the dog so much?

    Like

Trackbacks

  1. Pit Bulls, Bigotry And A Book - news || immitate.com
  2. News: Pit Bulls, Bigotry And A Book - Has2see.com - Has2see.com
  3. Pit Bulls, Bigotry And A Book – DollarViral
  4. Pit Bulls, Bigotry And A Book | Us News Aggregator
  5. Pit Bulls, Bigotry And A Book – Great Fast
  6. Pit Bulls, Bigotry And A Book – NewsToday360
  7. 上海贵族宝贝官网,上海贵族宝贝论坛,上海贵族宝贝交友-Powered by Hotel-Dream!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

DirtNKids Blog

Soil, Kids, Vegan -- Connected Through Nature

Amici del Lupo - Svizzera italiana

per sensibilizzare e farlo conoscere...

Animalista Untamed

The only good cage is an empty cage

Jet Eliot

Travel and Wildlife Adventures

Organic Opinion

Finding it, aye there's the rub~

The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

Here and now, with all of it.

Eat No Harm

Living consciously for our planet, the animals, and ourselves.

Flawless Pandemonium

Question everything~

Veganism is Nonviolence

Being Vegan Is A First Step To A Nonviolent Life

The Biotrotter

The Globetrotting Biologists

Kim Saeed: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery & Personal Growth

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery | Narcissist Abuse Support | Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program

Steal This Meme

humans' vegan past & future. SHIRIN - Subvert Human Irrationalities, Rediscover Innate Nature

Gillian Prew // poetry

for the earth and the animals

Nepali Today

Coffee break Photo Blogs Base In Tokyo, Japan.

Friendly Fairy Tales

Fairy Tales and Poetry Celebrating Magic and Nature for Kids of all Ages

Arcilla y fuego

Una visión sobre el complejo y apasionante mundo de la cerámica

%d bloggers like this: