Soap Actor Nick Santino has committed suicide on his 47th birthday according to, New York Post. Brooklyn-born Santino whose TV credits include “The Guiding Light” and “All My Children”
Santino adopted his dog Rocco from a shelter after being raised in an orphanage and foster homes, he 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.
This is so sad, Santino should have moved where he and Rocco both would have been welcomed with open arms or, give maybe find a temporary home for Rocco. It’s a heartbreaking story on his birthday.
UPDATE: ACCORDING TO TMZ: A member of the condo board that Nick Santino said pressured him to euthanize his pit-bull — a decision that drove him to suicide — says the condo board is NOT responsible for his death.
Board member Marilyn Fireman says she is sorry that Santino is dead, but says it has nothing to do with the building’s no-pet policy. She tells the NY Post, “You just assumed that [his suicide] was a result of a board’s decision.”
Fireman did concede Santino routinely complained about the building’s anti-dog policies.
Santino’s sister tells the paper the family is holding off on funeral arrangements until the dead dog’s ashes are brought home … saying, “They’ll be buried together.”
Santino had his beloved and healthy pit-bull Rocco put to sleep on Tuesday, Santino’s 47th birthday. A few hours later, he overdosed on pills.
RIP Nick and Rocco – De De Tillman