Animal Planet: How Tia Torres Launched ‘Pitbulls and Parolees’

by Jeremy Spirogis
Animal Planet: How Tia Torres Launched ‘Pitbulls and Parolees’

The Villalobos Rescue Center in New Orleans has turn out to be a house not simply to canine that want a second likelihood, however people as nicely. Animal Planet’s Pit Bulls and Parolees has amassed a cult following of animal lovers together with viewers who like to see redemptive tales.

Rescuing Pit Bulls to be able to reverse the detrimental stereotype of the breed and hiring ex-convicts to assist in her animal shelter, founder Tia Torres rehabilitates each the canine and her workers. Launching her present on the pet-friendly community as a solution to hold her rescue heart alive, Torres has turn out to be considerably of a (reluctant) superstar.

Tia Torres of “Pitbulls and Parolees” | Richard Hartog/Los Angeles Times by way of Getty Images

The path to parolees

Torres was introduced up by her stepmother in Southern California. Experiencing a tough childhood with no father determine, Torres discovered solace within the menagerie of pets she and her stepmom acquired over time.

The animal rescue founder began going off target later in life. “Without getting into all of the details, I ended up crossing over to the wrong side of the tracks, and I ended up hanging out with a rough crowd,” she informed Dogster in 2014. According to Animal Planet’s web site, Torres would typically find yourself homeless and must sleep in her van or horse trailer along with her pets.

To get again on the fitting path, Torres enlisted within the Army. After finishing her service, she was employed by town of Los Angeles as a youth gang counselor. “This kind of genre of people has always been in my life,” she stated. Her job led her into the depths of housing tasks and drug homes, which helped launch her profession of working with parolees.

[embedded content]

Passion for Pit Bulls

According to Dogster, Torres’ love of animals impressed her to create Villalobos Rescue Center in California. Started as a sanctuary within the 1990s for wolves and wolf-dog crosses (therefore the title ‘Villalobos’ that interprets to ‘village of wolves’), her plan modified course after assembly a really particular Pit Bull.

Torres simply occurred to go to an animal shelter on the day that Tatanka, a traumatized Pit Bull taken in from the scene of a double murder, was introduced into the shelter sure by “ropes and an entourage of animal control officers, like she was some African lion,” Torres recalled. Tatanka escaped from her restraints and ran towards Torres’ then toddler daughters, Tania and Mariah.

Before Torres was in a position to intercede, the canine tackled the women onto the grass and started affectionately licking them, a lot to the delight of her daughters. That likelihood interplay impressed Torres to start rescuing the misunderstood breed within the hopes of adjusting public notion. She started rescuing Pits together with the wolves and wolf hybrids the place over time, the Pit Bulls grew to become the first tenants of her sanctuary.

At the time of the transition, Torres’ husband Aren Jackson was on parole. His parole agent got here up with the suggestion that Torres rent different parolees for her rescue as a method of doing group service. Since Torres had expertise as a youth gang counselor and a coronary heart for many who had gone down the mistaken path, she began hiring parolees to turn out to be part of her staff.

When TV comes calling

After a 2007 article introduced Torres’ rescue into the highlight, tv producers started knocking on her door. Though she had no real interest in being on-camera, Torres knew that dwindling funds required a daring transfer. “Very reluctantly, pissed off, hiding behind dark sunglasses, I’d go to these meetings and act like I cared,” she revealed. “And here we are.” To additional assist the Villalobos Rescue Center financially, Torres moved the sanctuary to New Orleans in 2011.

Torres has been interviewed by celebs together with Ellen DeGeneres and Jon Stewart, although she nonetheless eschews being within the highlight. Despite her aversion to fame, Torres’ willingness to go on-camera along with her mission has helped hold the rescue afloat, saving – and altering – many lives. With tales of second possibilities in every episode, Pit Bulls and Parolees is certain to be on the air for fairly a while.

[embedded content]

Watch Season 15 of Pit Bulls and Parolees on Animal Planet!

Leave a Comment