The pain of having to put his healthy Pit Bull mix to sleep was simply too much to bear for a soap-opera actor in New York.
Heartbroken, Nick Santino took his own life last Wednesday after taking his dog Rocco to the vet and having him euthanized as a result of pressure from his neighbors complaining about his dog.
In 2010 his building put a Pit Bull ban into place. The ban didn’t apply to Pit Bulls already in the building, but friends and neighbors said Santino began to be harassed.
According to the New York Post, “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.”
After months of increasing anguish, Santino had the healthy dog put to sleep Tuesday.
Santino wrote in a suicide note, “Today I betrayed my best friend and put down my best friend.”
It’s not clear if Santino tried to find other living arrangements for himself and Rocco before resolving to having him put to sleep.
One thing is for sure, this story is absolutely heartbreaking because as pet parents I think we can all identify with Santigo’s pain and sorrow.
We’ve long stated that Breed Specific Legislation harms the innocent and this case is a dark example.
It’s up to us to be the voice of the voiceless and to speak out against injustices such as this. Our hearts go out to Santino’s family and friends.