Interview with Tia Torres
By Carol Leonard
To say Tia Maria Torres is a “rebel with a cause” would be on the mark! The woman is a powerhouse with a heart of gold, and is as tough as nails! If you don’t know who Tia is, you are truly missing out knowing not only a wonderful human being, but you’re also missing out on her highly rated Animal Planet TV show, “Pitbulls and Parolees“ which airs Friday’s at 10pm EST. Tia first and foremost runs the largest Pitbull Sanctuary in America, Villalobos Rescue Center, located in Canyon County, California. Tia’s passion for defending the breed branded as “bullies” was born years before from her love for her first Pit Bull (Tatanka). Today, Tia Maria Torres, her devoted daughters and a small band of former felons care for more than 200 Pitbulls. Their struggle and mission is to reinvent the image of both the ex-cons and the canines who find themselves at Villalobos.
VRC is the home to her and her husband’s “Underdawgz” program, which is showcased on Pitbulls & Parolees. This program is a one of its kind-focusing on rehabilitation for the parolees that work for her and the dogs who both have garnered bad reputations. “You only have to see what animals can do to the human psyche. It’s just unbelievable to watch,” Torres says. “The fact that I’ve chosen these people at risk and then the dog of choice happens to be pit bulls – you’ve got the two, what we’ve now dubbed the underdogs of the canine world and the human world, and we’ve put them together. They can relate to each other. They know what it feels like to be stereotyped; they know what it feels like to be shunned.”