“My mission is to rescue. My hope is that one day I won’t have to.” These are the words of Tia Torres, founder of Villalobos Rescue Center, which is the biggest non-profit animal rescue facility in the United States focused on Pit Bulls. Tia tries to do her part to curb animal cruelty by bringing the daily operations of her center to the view of as many people as possible through her reality TV show, Pit Bulls & Parolees and many of us can definitely learn one or two things from her.
The show has been airing on Animal Planet since it debuted on the channel on October 30, 2009. It aims to straighten out the misconceptions most people have against Pit Bulls. It also serves a second purpose of helping convicts, who are granted parole or after serving their jail term, get back their lives by giving them an honest work to do. These parolees are the ones responsible for taking care of the dogs in the shelter.
Pitbulls & Parolees feature Tia, her children, the parolees and their interaction with adopted dogs as well as their efforts in rescuing, training and taking care of stray, abused and abandoned Pit Bulls.
5 Facts About Pit Bulls and Parolees, Tia Torres Long-Running Dog TV Series
1. There Will Be A Fourteenth Season
Pit Bulls & Parolees has been running for several years now since its debut in 2009, making it Animal Planet’s longest-running show. There have been 13 seasons aired so far and fans of the show will be pleased to know that a fourteenth season is expected to premiere on October 5, 2019, as announced on September 19.
2. The Organization Takes Care Of About 2000 Pit Bulls
As of September 2014, there were only about 400 dogs in the shelter, as stated by the founder, Tia Torres on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. That is a 150% increase from what their numbers were in January 2012. However, due to the influence of the show, the number of dogs under their care as of 2014, increased exponentially as the number of viewers increased. Today, the shelter is estimated to have about 2000 Pit Bulls.
3. Villalobos Rescue Centre Had Location Issues
The Villalobos Rescue Center was located at Agua Dulce in Los Angeles, California at the beginning of the show before they relocated to their permanent location in the New Orleans – Metairie Metropolitan area, Louisiana.
However, Torres’s original plan was to move the facility to a remote town in Kern County, California called Tehachapi. Tehachapi had all the potentials of making the best site for the shelter and aside from the fact that it is about 75 miles away from the previous location in Agua Dulce, there is also a prison in the town with batches of newly released prisoners trying to find a job.
Additionally, Kern County also has an abundance of Pit bulls. It cost Torres her life savings and hundreds of man-hours but the organization was able to secure all the necessary documents and permits. However, as fate would have it, the authorities in Kern County refused to grant the center permission to settle and do business in Tehachapi. This was in 2011.
4. The Louisiana Location Was Inspired By Hurricane Katrina
The show Pit Bulls & Parolees had not even been born yet when the catastrophic event of hurricane Katrina happened in 2005 but the Villalobos Rescue Center had been. The organization was among those who volunteered to participate in the rescue missions during the hurricane and memory of this was what helped Torres to finally make a decision to settle in the Louisiana location after considering several others, following their failed attempt to secure the Old West Ranch in Tehachapi.
The facility’s major center for rescue and adoption is now located in New Orleans, Louisiana, somewhere in the Upper 9th Ward. They have smaller locations scattered all over southern Louisiana. The move to Louisiana took the organization about a year and it was completed in January 2012.
5. Moving To Louisiana Tripled Their Expenses
Torres’s main reason for agreeing to be on the show was so they could get help in paying part of the Center’s bills which at the time was about $25,000 per month. That amount has now tripled to over $80,000 after moving the dogs, her family and the interested parolees to Louisiana.