'Pit Boss' star visits Warrick Humane Society

Photo by Lisa Polk

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Lisa Polk

Shorty Rossi, star of the show "Pit Boss," visited the Warrick Humane Society recently during a stop along his statewide tour to dispel the misconceptions surrounding pit bulls.

Rossi is a little person who starred on "Pit Boss" for six seasons, a show that follows his adventures rescuing and rehabilitating pit bulls, which he said is the most misunderstood of dog breeds.

Staff members at the WHS agreed, saying that they have the hardest time getting people to adopt pit bulls.

"All of our oldest dogs are pit bulls," said WHS director Lindsey Hagedorn.

Rossi said he is touring different humane societies with his pit bull, Francis, to show people that these canines are not the dangerous breed many think they are.

"It's to bring awareness to the pit bull 'bully breed'," he said. "They're misunderstood. They're judged for something they're not."

Rossi said there are certain towns and cities around the country creating specific legislation that bans pit bull breeds.

"Because they think dogs like that are vicious killers," Rossi said. "Any minute someone's gonna get mauled in the room."

Rossi said all of that thinking is fear based.

"And so I'm here to dispel that myth," he said. "And I understand them being misunderstood because, I can understand where they're coming from."

Rossi said he's always had a love of pit bulls.

"It really started when I rescued one out of a shelter in Los Angeles in 2001," he said. "And it did change my life and I slowly got into studying more about the pit bull and more about the history and the breed."

Rossi said he wanted to figure out about why there was so much hatred and prejudice for the breed.

"It's the media," he said. "And ignorants and people not educating themselves. And then every little paper puts up 'pitbull mauled child.' "

Rossi said some people get afraid of pit bulls and they haven't even been around the breed.

"And then when they see them from a distance," he said, "all they think is what they have been told."

Rossi said he is aware that there are some problems related with the breed.

"There is, but it's not the dog's fault," he said. "They're not born that way."

Rossi said it's how they're raised and treated.

"You start beating a dog with that much power and strength," he said. "He's going to become aggressive."

Rossi said no matter what people think about pit bulls, he will always have a strong attachment to them and love for them.

"I always say, 'I'd rather go home with my eight dogs than any human being in the room,' " he said.

Marisa Patwa is a graduate of the University of Evansville with a degree in journalism and minor in political science.

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