New York City – Nick Santino celebrated his 47th birthday on Tuesday by overdosing on pills after having been forced to euthanize his pit bull mix Rocco because the apartment building where he lived banned the breed.
Santino was a soap-opera actor and appeared in All My Children and Guiding Light.
The New York Post published part of a suicide note which stated:
“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 adopted Rocco several years ago from a shelter, and the two became extremely close. On Santino’s Facebook he would often write about his dog’s rescue and frequently noted that Rocco had really saved his life.
In 2010, One Lincoln Plaza where Santino lived placed a ban on pit bulls, however those already living in the building were exempt from the new rules. The problem however was with other apartment owners who harassed and complained about Rocco simply because he was part pit bull. Santino and Rocco were not allowed to use the main elevator, Rocco was limited as to how much time he was permitted to stay in the apartment alone, and Santino had multiple complaints for dog barking although friends stated Rocco didn’t bark. The pattern was set – Santino was constantly harassed by building management because of his dog’s DNA. No one ever said Rocco was vicious – just that he was a pit bull.
Again the question of breed discrimination brings forth much debate. Most humane advocates and veterinarians alike will attest that dogs are not born bad just because of their breed. After all at one time, German Shepherds, Boxers, Dobermans and other large breeds were designated as aggressive.
Dogs live to please their human companions, and depending on their training and how they are raised is more indicative of a dog’s disposition than a general ban of one specific breed. Even the Michael Vick dogs, except for two have been rehabilitated; one of the dogs became a therapy dog.
Dogs that are mean and aggressive have generally been conditioned to fight or have been raised inappropriately. Even Labrador retrievers or shih tzus can be aggressive when mistreated or trained to hurt others.
Reports that Santino had been depressed may have added to the tragedy of his suicide.
Rocco has been cremated, and tentative arrangements are for Santino to be cremated also as the two will again be joined together.
Rest in peace Nick and Rocco.
Click here for a photo of Nick and Rocco.