Double Tragedy for Actor and His Dog

January 28, 2012  

A man commits suicide after he euthanizes his healthy pet pit bull

By Micaela Myers

It’s hard to imagine being down on your luck, depressed and having neighbors and condo management turn on you for having a pit bull. This past week, the tragic result was two deaths – one of a 47-year-old man and the second a healthy, friendly pit bull. The dog’s guardian overdosed following the decision to euthanize his best friend and companion.

The New York Post reported that struggling soap opera actor Nick Santino committed suicide after euthanizing his pet pit bull, Rocco. Nick was facing complaints, fines and pressure from neighbors and management after his complex banned pit bulls. His dog was grandfathered in, but he was the only resident with a pit bull mix, and evidently many neighbors wanted his dog gone.

This tragedy underscores the devastating impact of prejudice. Even in cities and counties without government-imposed breed-discriminatory legislation, many landlords and complexes make it extremely difficult for families to stay together by prohibiting long lists of breeds.

StubbyDog covered the pit bull housing issue in the article “For Rent: No Pit Bulls Allowed.”

The sad story of Nick Santino and Rocco also illustrates the need for public awareness toward canine housing discrimination so that landlords and complex management can understand the consequences of their misguided policies.

Editor’s note: While we realize there are many unknown details to this story, and it’s easy to speculate as to what might have been done differently to prevent this outcome, we spotlight the story here to bring attention to the very real issue of canine housing discrimination, which negatively impacts well-behaved dogs and their families across the country. We also wish to remind people that you are never alone. If you are facing breed discrimination and need help, there are options and resources available. Together we can work toward a day where pit bulls are seen as just dogs.

« « Tips For Multi-dog Household | Cheers to Our Rescue Dog of the Week! » »


10 Responses to “Double Tragedy for Actor and His Dog”
  1. BarbaraCopeland says:

    This is just so unbelievably heartbreaking.

  2. sunkissedbutrfly says:

    That is just so sad and horrible. I have a few choice words for his p.o.s. neighbors and landlord.

  3. AngelaBrown1 says:

    He couldn’t have re-homed the dog? or moved himself? asked family for help? This is tragic. I wish I knew the whole story…..RIP Nick and Rocco.

    • StubbyDog says:

      @AngelaBrown1 We will never know the whole story, but unfortunately canine discrimination reared its ugly head and there were horrible consequences that probably could have been avoided.

  4. SusanDT says:

    His dog was allowed to stay in! I am so sorry Nick was unable to find another way to deal with the pressures, of his ignorant neighbors and his bad luck. R.I.P.

  5. joann says:

    Didn’t anyone realize that he NEEDED his dog? How very, very sad.

  6. beverleyk says:

    What a very very sad story. When are people going to wake up and realize that not all pit bulls are bad…especially not this one. Rocco had become part of Nick and how could Nick live without his best friend? Rocco loved him unconditionally. How desperate was Nick that he ended up taking the life of his beloved friend and then his own life. I can well imagine how his neighbours and landlord made his final days miserable. To all of them I hope that you sleep well at night…may Nick’s and Rocco’s death be on your conscience. Rest in Peace to both Rocco and Nick. You are together forever.

  7. joann says:


  8. hawkshug says:

    I know the type of people in this building……rotten and mean sprited! And I bet you it was both non-dog owners as well as dog owners of another breed. This is why I will never want to live in this type of environment where you have to worry about other people and their selfish opinions. Rest in peace Nick because I know the pain you must have felt….now you and Rocco don’t have to worry about it anymore though through tragic circumstances! I’m sure those responsible STILL won’t think they had anything to do with it!

  9. What I find really sad besides this story and many other like it is the lack of support in certain communities to end BSL/BDL. I’ve been trying for the last couple of months to rally enough people to hold a public forum to discuss ways to eliminate BSL in PG County, MD and one person has responded since. This leave me feeling a certain way however, I/we were successful in Charles County, MD and will be successful in PG.