Sunday, January 29, 2012

Soap star commits suicide after forced to euthanize dog

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Nick Santino and Rocco the pitbull playing in swimming pool
Nick Santino and Rocco

Stupid rules and breed-specific prejudice combine to take two innocent lives:

A US soap star took his own life on his 47th birthday just hours after putting down his beloved pit bull, which was believed to be the target of an anti-dog campaign in his New York apartment building.

Nick Santino, who appeared in All My Children, Guiding Light and Gossip Girl, took his life last week after putting his dog Rocco to sleep.

In a note, Santino blamed the strata board at One Lincoln Plaza for the decision to put down the rescue dog, saying they had harassed him and other dog owners in the building, the New York Post reported.

‘‘Rocco trusted me and I failed him,’’ Santino wrote.

‘‘He didn’t deserve this.’’

In 2010 the board banned dogs from riding in the elevators or being left alone in apartments for more than nine hours.

Breeds like Rocco were also banned, but Santino was allowed to keep his dog because he had rescued him from a shelter before the rules changed.

‘‘I’m sorry the man is dead,’’ board member Marilyn Fireman told the Post.

‘‘But it has nothing to do with the pet policy.

‘‘You just assumed that [his suicide] was a result of a board’s decision.’’


[Santino’s sister Catherine] Schmidt said Rocco wasn’t dangerous but ‘‘mushy, sappy and lovable."

Granted, it’s a bit roundabout to blame Santino’s death on the board’s decision, but the point remains the same. Prejudice hurts everyone, not just the specific individuals at whom it’s aimed. That the board refuses to show any remorse (beyond a rather robotic attempt at sympathy) makes it clear who the bad guys are in this case.