In a tragic turn of events far greater than anything that could play out on television, a former soap opera actor took his own life last week after he was allegedly forced to put his pet dog to sleep.
According to an article in the New York Post, Nick Santino spent his 47th birthday euthanizing his dog, Rocco, after he was pressured by his condo building to get rid of the dog.
Santino appeared in small roles on Guiding Light, where he played Father Soto, and All My Children, where he played Officer Anton.
The Brooklyn-born Santino adopted Rocco, a pit bull mix, from an animal shelter several years ago. Santino was raised in the foster care system, and took an instant liking to his new family member. "I did not rescue Rocco, Rocco rescued me," Santino wrote on his Facebook page.
In 2010, the Manhattan building in which Santino lived adopted new dog regulations, which included a ban on pit bulls. The ban did not apply to pit bulls already in the building, but Santino's friends and neighbors say that the struggling actor was harassed by building management about having the dog.
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 also assessed fines for his dog barking, claims which neighbors told the Post were unfounded.
Building management has not offered comment on the matter.
After anguishing over what to do with Rocco, Santino reportedly opted to have the healthy dog put to sleep rather than turn him over to a shelter. Santino later took his own life.
"Rocco trusted me and I failed him. He didn't deserve this," Santino wrote in a suicide note, according to someone familiar with the matter.
Both Santino and Rocco will be cremated, and their ashes will be reunited.