Thursday, August 20, 2009

Good News: On TV: Reality show funds dog rescue

“Pitbulls and Parolees” will air on Animal Planet.

By Sue Manning

LOS ANGELES — Pit bulls and parolees. Tia Maria Torres has opened her heart and home to the unwanted.

On 17 acres in the rugged terrain of Canyon Country, Torres provides a place to live or work for six parolees, 225 pit bulls, 204 volunteers, two French bulldogs, 19 cats, a husband and four kids.

Torres, 49, started Villalobos Rescue Center – the largest pit bull rescue in the United States – 14 years ago. She added ex-cons three years ago with prison pen pal and tattoo artist Aren Marcus Jackson, who would become her second husband.

But the rescue has been a money pit requiring creative financing. She tried to open a brothel to pay the bills, but it burned down. So now she's turning to reality TV – Animal Planet's “Pit Bulls and Parolees,” which airs next month – to help cover the $20,000 in monthly bills (including a ton of dog food a week) and an ever-growing $25,000 vet tab.

Adoptions averaged 10 a month recently, but they are running close to their 250 capacity. “If I took every dog I got a call on, I'd be taking in 100 a week,” Torres said.Producer Michael “MikeyD” Dinco was a student in a pit bull class Torres taught years ago. During a visit after the parolee program started, he knew he had to film a TV pitch..." More

Thanks to ohmidog for leading us to this story!