Saturday, January 28, 2012

Soap Actor Kills Himself After Putting Down Dog


Nick Santino was an actor who appeared on lots of soaps and other television shows that film in New York. He also had a pit bull for nine years who he considered his best friend. The building in New York where Mr. Santino lived banned pit bulls from the building. Although Mr. Santino's pit bull was grandfathered in, his neighbors gave him a hard time about it everyday and he says that he was harassed about his beloved Rocco. After a lot of discussion with his vet, Mr. Santino put down his dog and and just a few days later Nick killed himself because he felt like he had let down his best friend. That is a man who truly loved his dog.

60 comments:

Majik said...

That's sad, but there's more to it than that I'll bet.

EmEyeKay said...

There must be more to it. Why would he put him down, and not give him away? That's my first question.

nolachickee said...

This is horrible! Why would the vet recommend that he put the dog down - was it sick? If not, that's crazy. I know it's a mega challenge to find a good apartment in NYC (lived there for 8 years), but why didn't he move???

hunter said...

Okay - First of all I am reading this story in the paper right now in my apt in NYC and it does not say the man had the dog for nine years - it says he adopted him from a shelter "several" years ago.

That said, I think this story points towards a man who was mentally unwell. I'm sorry but social pressure will not make me put down a beloved non-violent pet.

hunter said...

And then he killed himself.

Yup, poor guy had some problems.

Ida Blankenship said...

The prejudice against pitbulls is so fucking ignorant. So many of them are total sweethearts. They've got a TON of energy that needs an appropriate outlet, but I'd adopt one in a second if I had the time and means to do so.

Sorry, but the meanest dog I'VE ever encountered was a chihuahua.

Santino was obviously hugely depressed to begin with, but the death of his beloved companion was probably a catalyst that led to his suicide.

What an awful story.

DixieTheNoble82 said...

This is a terrible story. I agree with every thing @Ida said.

MISCH said...

This is so sag...
And Ida you're right, I'm a dog owner and my dogs have have a good few pit bull and pit bull mixes as pals..they are smart loyal and loving.
It's not the dogs its the owners...

i said...

Actor kills self, possibly over a dog. How many actors have killed themselves, without the need of a lost pet? This is not news, it is life. Lather, rinse, repeat as needed.

Pogue Mahone said...

Aww, that's so sad! :(

Vicki Cupper said...

How horrible. Poor guy. I love pit bulls. The ones in my neighborhood are always sweet, well-mannered little dumplings.

anita_mark said...

Definitely unwell. I love animals too but I'm not killing myself over one.

disenchanted said...

I work for a vet and we get a ton of pits in all time and the only ones that have been a problem are owned by idiots who have no business with pets. That is a very small number, though.

The ones that we have more issues with are the smaller dogs like chihuahuas and malteses. Again, it's the people raising these animals, not the animals themselves. People are so damn ignorant it is pathetic.

This is a sad story, but surely he had others options than just putting the dog down. He may have been looking for a reason to kill himself, and this was it.

Elizabeth said...

I don't think a vet would put down a pet who was in advanced old age or sick.

selenakyle said...

That is beyond sad. It sucks enormously, and I'm sorry I read it.

selenakyle said...

And just to chime in another perspective--

I know it's all relative, but several pits in our area have gone on brutal other-animal/pet killing rampages on neighbors' properties, etc. We have a lot of idiot dog owners in my area, apparently.

firebugDVM said...

I am a vet and i LOVE the pitties... In 5 years of practice (13 years in the business) I have only met one pit that has even been muzzled in the office. I'd rather see one ANY day over the "land-sharks" (yes, that's what we call them) like Chihuahua's and Dachshunds, etc. Btw: both of my pups are pitt-mixes and we are looking to adopt another from a Bully-rescue.

That being said, this story is incredibly sad I have a lot of owners who are overwhelmed with depression after the passing of their pet and there are some I worry may chose the same fate. It's usually those that view their dog/cat as the only thing that really loves them in their life.

Princess said...

It's from a story in the New York Post, and it said that his vet told him that the dog was becoming aggressive, which Nick blamed on his own depression.

Vicki Cupper said...

Firebug, that's usually the way it is.

The Black Cat said...

I don't care what breed a dog is, if a person cannot exercise it enough they shouldn't have it. I see many people with high energy dogs who don't have the time for them and I just don't get it.
Many of us here have suffered the loss of a pet, but even though it is difficult we carry on and get other pets to spoil and love to death.

Del Riser said...

This is just so sad, for both of them. Mr. Santino's state of mind may have not been great, add harassment from neighbors over his best friend and the dog may have sensed this and gone into protect mode. Which could be seen as aggression.
All the bully breeds are marvelous animals. We had a 180 pound English Mastiff that was the sweetest thing on earth. The owner is nearly always the problem if a dog goes bad.
Dogs in packs are always a danger.

Vicki Cupper said...

Del, I ADORE Mastiffs! They're such big babies! I love large dogs. Or any breed. The Westminster Dog Show was like the Super Bowl in my house when I was a kid.

timebob said...

I know how expensive NYC living is and he was most likely in a rent controlled apartment. But if he loved his dog so much he could of moved and just found a way to pay higher rent.

Sounds like he wanted to kill himself and just found the right excuse.

Del Riser said...

@Vicki Cupper, me too!!! Our Mastiff lived to be 11 1/2, our Vet was amazed. She got many kids over their fear of dogs, she was so huge that she registered more like a breathing stuffed animal to them. They loved that they could throw their arms around her neck and just hang there. Our granddaughter learned to walk hanging onto her collar.
We have a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix now that we adopted, only 115 lbs.
Another wonderful dog.

Moonmaid said...

I call bullshit here. The guy had issues. If he couldn't keep the dog there and couldn't find another place to live that would take the dog (odd, since soaps pay very well, about $3K a week)then he could have found a home for it through a rescue group instead of putting it down. He may have truly loved his dog, but his decision to kill it and then himself speaks of an unwell mind.

Ms Cool said...

Perhaps the guy should have moved.

Amanda M. said...

For those who say its the owners fault that pitbulls are aggressive is only partially true.

My very good friend owns a pitbull who has been trained well and is usually very sweet and loving. I loved that dog. But his pitbull instincts overcame him one day and he killed another dog. Never would've guessed it.

Sometimes its the owner and sometimes its just the breed.

Sherry said...

I think he had planned to kiLl himself and chose to put down the dog before doing so. It's not unusual for people who decide to kill themselves to do some prep before hand. My friends husband had Huntington's and he did some preparations to eleviate clean up when he shot himself in the head like covering himself in a sleeping bag with plastic under him, locking his beloved pet out of the room and calling his family so they could dispose of his body immediately. Too bad this sad soul did not seek help.

Just Me said...

By the way the New York Post story reads he was being bullied by the building management over his dog and had become depressed. His vet told him that his dog was becoming aggressive and Santino blamed it on his own depression. After making the decision to have Rocco put down he became despondent with guilt and took an overdose.
The article is here: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/doggone_shame_1a9XYW8u9ZLlqwRJTa6jrN

iheartjacksparrow said...

He certainly could have posted an ad on Craig's List or someplace similar that he had a pit bull for free but that the current owner requires visitation rights.

Del Riser said...

@Amanda M, I said *nearly always the problem*. Dogs have traits and personalities. Some dogs are aloof to other dogs and prefer people.

Some dogs get very agitated around children.

I still think it is the basic responsibility of the owner to train and know their dog and take all precautions possible to make sure that the dog is not in a position that seems untenable to them.

braverwoman said...

Exactly what Ida and Firebug said. Had an American Staff terrier (first cousin to a pit) for years. Got her from the pound when my oldest was 2. Sweetest family dog in the world. High energy around other dogs yes, but never aggressive. Only dog that ever bit me was a freaking Chihuaha. Dislike.

Cheryl said...

Chihuahuas are NASTY. Lots of people here in Texas buy them for their kids because they are small and don't bother to train them or to teach the kids how to treat an animal.

Sad story but there was obviously a lot more going on here.

Ida Blankenship said...

^^In defense of chihuahuas, I'll bet a lot of them are super high-strung because they're so tiny. Imagine going through life assuming that you're going to get squashed! I'm not the biggest fan of that breed, but I *have* met some sweet examples. But, again, the one that bit me was meaner than any pitbull I've ever encountered.

And, yeah, Santino could have tried to give the dog away, but the stigma against pitbulls is so widespread in our country that I wonder how much success he would have had. There are places in the States where it's illegal to even HAVE a pit. And if it's hard to give away a kitten via craigslist, imagine how difficult it would be to find a loving home for an adult pitbull? I don't know what it's like in other areas of the country, but in my state, shelters are CRAMMED with pits -- and many of them end up there because people just don't know how to take care of them. It's so incredibly sad. I honestly don't know what the solution is.

L said...

Two NY-based soaps (All My Children and One Life to Live) just shut down for good...if this guy was a soap actor for a living, I would imagine that seeing employment opportunities dry up would lead to or increase his depression. I'd also think it would inspire me to pack up my unpopular dog and move with him to LA. Either way, very sad. I agree with the defense everyone has put up for pit bulls...those I've known have been sweet. My vet said the meanest dog he's ever seen was a golden retriever (and he raises them).

Fresca said...

just to weigh in on the adoption issue - yes, pits are *incredily* hard to get rid off and the shelters in my area is full of them. They usually try to brand them as "lab mixes" if they can, because of the stigma, and they are still hard to find new owners for.

Add to that the signs of agression, and it would have been really hard to find a new home for him.

RenoBlondee said...

I must be in a contrary mood today, lol. ;)
I have never met a sweet pit bull, ever. And I am *terrifed* of them! There are two down my road that have attacked neighbors' dogs, my sister's puppies and my husband, me, and our little boy on a walk. I had 2 different friends that had them and they were very high strung and mean too.
Now I know there are plenty that are sweet, of course! I've just never met any. Maybe it's where I live. Totally agree it has almost everything to do with the owners as well.
Just putting out there a different prespective.

pomme said...

sad story because you search about this story you 'll find the actor was depressing and he LOVED his dog

Chrissy Buns said...

I'm betting there was some mental instability there. How sad for his friends and family :(

misspoppypants said...

I wish Enty wouldnt post crap like this on CDAN. You can't unknow things like this.

hamster party said...

So sad, he should have moved though... I love my pets and if I was being pressured like that, um - just move?

Really, really sad :(

hamster party said...

And I agree with Cesar Milan; there are no bad dogs, only awful, awful owners.

selenakyle said...

I hear you, RenoBlondee. No one has good experiences with them in our area, very likely because most of their owners here are stupid-ass thug wannabes.

I believe all of you saying how it has so, so much to do with the owner, the level of care and the environment.

But it makes some people scared to death of them, which I am sure they can sense. And when two are let out together, the whole damn street is terrorized.

While most chihuahuas want to chew your leg off, they can't.
They can only hurt you. Pits can kill. Huge diff.

JMO because we have had some gruesome situations here.

SueRH said...

Very sad. I hope they are together again.

spritely said...

Long time lurker, but this is the first time I have felt compelled to comment....
Just wanted to add a different perspective.

Per IMDB:

"Nick Santino was born in Brooklyn, New York, at the age of 5 months he was put in St. Joseph's orphanage home. For the next 16 years, he bounced around several foster homes for a total of 9.

At age 16/17 he decided to make his own life. He managed to get a small apartment and started several neighborhood businesses in addition to construction and garbage hauling. He put himself through college earning an Engineering Degree, and then an MBA in Finance.

He was part of the first team to lead search & rescue on World Trade Center 9-11-2001. He used his ConEdison Engineering ID & Asbestos Certification to gain access."

I'm not saying either of these things were factors, but the past experiences that people have been thru shape & affect everyone in different ways. We all have a breaking point & clearly he reached his.

I hope he found peace.

Del Riser said...

Another part of the problem I'm seeing here is areas where there is no leash law. No dog should be able to run the neighborhood.

Where I live everyone keeps their dogs on leash, and nearly everyone here seems to have a dog. We all walk our dogs. My dog has been charged by leashed dogs, usually smaller than him and he knows he is to sit and let them check him out.

@selenakyle, you mentioned the thug wannabes, these guys make a Pitts life worse by not neutering them. Most any male dog is more aggressive if not neutered.

I suppose there could be a *bad seed* in dogs. I still maintain that 99% of the time a "bad dog" has been mistreated, not socialized properly, or ignored.

I too hope Mr Santino has been reunited with his best friend.

firebugDVM said...

@Del Riser: agree :)

elizabeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tracey P said...

I don't give a shit, I'm praying for this guy and his dog. Whatever else was going on, having to put your dog down and then feeling guilty about it, well, that's just heart-breaking. I've met more than one disabled person who felt they couldn't keep their animal when moving (that's how I gotten most of my pets); but if you can't find somebody, the decision to put them to sleep is excruciating. They've not only lost their best friend, but then have the guilt associated for doing so.

Love him, love his dog, and I agree with the sentiment above that we'll hope he'll finds Peace ♥

elizabeth said...

i know four children who were killed by pit-bulls in NC last year ...and the owners all said the same thing..."he was the sweetest pet! he never bothered anyone! no one could see this coming!" HELLO! you do not allow a vicious breed NOTORIOUS for sudden temper changes around small children. i mean, there is a reason you don't see alot of Labradors in rap videos and dog fights, ok? my sister tried and tried with a brendle-coated pitbull mix, he was gorgeous, but the children were TERRIFIED of him-he knocked them over and would not consistently respond to the commands he learned in obedience school w/ his caretakers and he could NOT stop nipping whenever someone got close to his face. we finally gave him away. (btw it NEVER occurred to us to put him down? what kind of sociopath euthanizes a dog who ISN'T SICK OR HURT?) this fits in the domestic abuser profile "if i can't have you no one will." DISLIKE THIS DUDE. i'm sorry he had such overwhelming depression but this story is jacked.

Kid Sis said...

Some of these comments are full of more ugly narcissism than any stars' antics we've ever read about. I sincerely hope their children are never bullied or faced with crippling depression.

Honorary Andy Cohen "Mazel of the Day" to those of you with empathy.

Del Riser said...

You're probable getting tired of looking at my dog smelling the flowers. So this will be my last post about this thread I promise!

I mentioned that IMHO 99% of *bad dogs* were the result of mistreatment, improper socializing, or being ignored. I forgot to mention the one I see almost daily and that is dog owners inadvertently
rewarding a dog for bad behavior.

I see small dogs bark and/or growl at children and the owner picks up the dog and coos lovey words to it to calm it down. WRONG. To the dog this is praise for the behavior. If you love dogs or any animal, take the time to learn how to care for it and train it to be a good animal citizen.

Principessa said...

The biggest asshole dog I ever knew was a pit bull. That being said, I'm 99.9% sure it was because his owner was a moron. This dog liked to bite, growl, dominate, hump, attack, steal food, you name it. Once my boyfriend and I rented a cabin for a weekend with the moron and his girlfriend and of course he brought the asshole dog with him. If Batista stood on his hind legs he was taller than me, and he probably weighed about the same as me. If the 4 of us sat at the table for dinner, this dog would climb onto my chair and try to push me off and steal my food. I rarely dislike an animal, but I genuinely disliked him. Finally his idiot owner accepted the fact that he couldn't control him, and instead of giving him to a humane society or someone who could try to rehabilitate him, he had this healthy dog put down.
This was right after Toronto instituted a ban on pit bulls (which people would bypass by saying that their dog was a lab mix or staffordshire terrier or something) , so the same day he puts down Batista, he starts planning a trip to Buffalo to adopt a new pitty! My boyfriend tore him a new asshole over that and finally the moron adopted a mixed breed dog (who definitely had pitty in him) and the kicker? He named this dog Batista II! Luckily the second Batista must have had a competent owner previously because he was at least manageable. I've also met some pit bulls who are the sweetest, smartest animals ever. They tend towards aggression, yes, but good training trumps that most of the time.

As for Mr. Santino, what a loss. I wish he'd been able to find peace and happiness in this world, and I hope that he and Rocco are together again now.

Anotheramy said...

Pitts were bred for hunting. They have vice like jaws and the terrier part never gives up. Where another dog would nip, these dogs are bred to bite and never let go.
We have a pitt mix, the sweetest thing you could ever meet. She stays here at the house since she doesn't like other dogs much and will pull your arm off if she sees a squirrel.
This dogs face almost looks like he could have gotten away with saying its a boxer lab mix or something, hard to say from a grainy picture.
Had a friend who put down a healthy but aggressive rotty. Put her in a tail spin. Never would have guessed she would get so depressed and for so long. She couldn't get over blaming herself for allowing the dog to become aggressive.

Amy said...

Sounds like he was really depressed, and this just added to his depression, but probably wasn't the reason for it. Sad either way.

I agree that a lot of smaller dogs can be aggressive, chihuahuas for example. The difference is that if a those dogs attack you, you might suffer a bite, but it isn't going to kill you.

Lelaina Pierce said...

This story is heartbreaking. I'm sorry he wasn't able to find help and it breaks my heart thinking about his last day spent in mourning about his dog. Just awful.

@Elizabeth - I find it hard to believe that the owners in that situation had those dogs properly trained. I'm sure there is more to that story.

crila16 said...

What??? That was his only option? How about move to a building that accepts dogs...or find another home. Family, friends or a co-worker. I'm confused as to how putting the dog down was his only option? I had a dog who I was very attached to. I couldn't take her to my new apartment, so I gave her to a friend who had a house with a huge backyard. I could visit her anytime I wanted. Putting her down was never an option.

crila16 said...

BTW...my cousin has a Pittbull. The sweetest, gentlest dog (besides my dog of course) you'll ever meet. Not a vicious bone in her body.

RocketQueen said...

Argh. The ignorance about suicide drives me crazy. It is INCREDIBLY unlikely that this man killed himself over putting his dog down, and that alone. Suicide is usually the culmination of years of mental illness of whatever kind and is rarely a sudden decision made over one thing. Nice try with the story, whoever tried to spin it this way. I do love me some animals, after all :)

And count me among those who believe Pittbulls are not the problem, the people who train them to be aggressive are. Some of the sweetest dogs I've ever known were pitties. Fuck breed-specific legislation.

cricket said...

This is so sad. I hope the assholes in his building feel guilty as hell and never have a good nights sleep again. RIP Nick and Rocoo