Struggling soap-opera actor Nick Santino used to say that the pit bull mix he rescued actually rescued him. The actor had grown up in an orphanage and foster homes, but when he adopted his dog several years ago, they bonded deeply, perhaps more than he had with any of his temporary families. His dog, Rocco, was his family.
But both are now dead, and friends and neighbors are saying it’s because his Upper West Side condo management had been harassing him for months because of Rocco. In 2010 the building passed strict dog regulations with a pit-bull ban. Rocco, the only pit bull in the building, was grandfathered in. But the harassment had apparently grown unbearable in recent months.
Among the offenses, Rocco was no longer allowed to ride in the main elevators, and one neighbor complained the dog was a barker, even though other neighbors said it was not true. Management threatened him with a $250 fine.
Everybody knows that he had been harassed by the building management,” said neighbor Lia Pettigrew, who works in the pet-care industry.
People were complaining about his dog, said neighbor Kevan Cleary, adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School. It was open season on him.
On Tuesday, something inside him snapped. The pressure got to him. Santino took his healthy best friend out of the building one last time and had him euthanized.
But overcome with the horror of what he had done, he took his own life later that night – after tearfully giving the doorman and neighbors Rocco’s treat, rawhides and bed.
His suicide note included this, according to a friend.
Today I betrayed my best friend and put down my best friend. Rocco trusted me and I failed him. He didnt deserve this.
Santino took an overdose of medication.
Rocco has been cremated, and Santino will be, too. Their friends will make sure their ashes will end up together forever.
This story is just so tragic, and I am sorry to bring it to you on a Monday morning. But it’s important to tell it. Maybe it will be a cautionary tales against this kind of discrimination.Yes, Santino was down on his luck, and there may have been more going on than we know about. Maybe he could have moved, but that’s not easy in NYC, especially with a pit bull.
Today I betrayed my best friend and put down my best friend, a despondent Santino wrote in a suicide note, said close friend Stuart Sarnoff.
Rocco trusted me and I failed him. He didnt deserve this.
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/doggone_shame_1a9XYW8u9ZLlqwRJTa6jrN#ixzz1kuxf7p00