On Sat. May 11, Find Love in Pit Bulls (F.L.I.P.) is hosting a pit bull awareness and fundraising event with some of Charleston’s best pit bull-loving organizations like Chuck Town Bully Breed Club and Pet Helpers. The event, which is being held at the Hooters in North Charleston, will also feature Sebastian Saraceno from Animal Planet’s hit show, Pit Boss. We got in touch with Saraceno to get all the details on the pit party and why he thinks this is an important cause.
City Paper: How did you get involved with this event?
Sebastian Saraceno: I actually have a good friend, Shaun Meyers, who is the general manager at the Hooters in North Charleston. He cordially invited me out to help with this event to raise money and awareness for the Pit Bull breeds. We’re pairing up with the local organizations that are committed to the breed.
CP: Have you always really liked pit bulls?
SS: Yeah! Ever since I was young I’ve always liked dogs. The first dog I had was a chow, and he had some really bad behavioral issues. So that kind of got me into understanding about dog breeds. Often, people that bring dogs into their lives will just see a dog and be like “Aww this is a cute puppy, this will look good with me walking down the street.” But what a lot of people fail to understand is that there are always strengths, and there are always weaknesses in every breed. I got into pit bulls pretty early on. I used to always see pit bulls growing up and thought they were very strong looking dogs. … Pit bulls always intrigued me because they were very stout looking, very muscular, yet, at the same time, every pit bull that I was encountered was very gentle. They were never aggressive. … Like my dog, sitting next to me right now, is the biggest baby in the world. He’s afraid of balloons, and who knows what else. He’s pretty much scared of everything.
CP: Do you think there is any merit to their bad reputation? Where do you think that comes from?
SS: There is no merit at all to the bad reputation they get. The only reason — and this goes for all animals that people own as pets — the only reason that pit bulls would be aggressive is because of human nature and the owner making them that way. If owners are responsible in socializing them and responsible in raising them in the right way, then no, they’re not aggressive. I am dumbfounded at how gentle they are for the most part. I mean, you’re always going to have your bad apple in any dog breed no matter what, but for the most part it’s all about how you raise it and the environment you bring it up in.
CP: So how did you get involved with being on the show, Pit Boss?
SS: Well, what happened was, I had been working with Shorty [Rossi] at Shortywood for a number of years. In the beginning, I never understood why he was always bringing pit bulls around to our events. We would be at the Playboy Mansion, at all these high profile events, and yet there would be a couple of pit bulls with him. I never understood why. Then one day, as I got more involved with helping him, I realized that he takes these dogs and brings them to these big entertainment events to help rehab and socialize them in order to make them suitable for adoption. We would have hundreds, if not thousands of people at these events. After a few events, they would be ready to adopt. It was a great way for a dog like that to get rehabbed back into the human world.
CP: So can you tell me a little bit about your new musical path, and the single “Risen” that you’ll be selling at the fundraiser?
SS: Basically, Ronald [Clark] and I have combined our musical talents together in collaboration with a local Orange County band called Post Trauma. The drummer of the band, Joe Gnoffo, costarred with us in the feature film Mirror Mirror. His character’s name was Grub. So we approached him one day because we wanted to collaborate on a song. The vision was to donate a percentage of the profits toward animal rescues that either helped us out on the show or that just need financial help. We all know that dog rescues, especially pit bull rescues, need all the help they can get. So that was what happened with “Risen.” We’re looking to get a full EP out with the song June 1. It’s really great because Ronald is really talented on the piano and I play bass. It’s cool that we were able to come together with Post Trauma, who are totally on board with helping us in our fund-raising efforts.