As a breed, Pitbulls are believed to be aggressive, fighting dogs that will attack another living thing at the drop of a hat. This stereotype began as a result of the breed’s history of bull baiting as well as the various illegal dogfighting rings that still happen today.
Tia Torres has made it her mission to provide second chances to those that deserve them the most. In addition to rescuing Pitbulls and attempting to break down the stereotype associated with them, Tia also “rescues” parolees by hiring them to help care for the rescued dogs. Tia Torres and one of her Pitbull rescues were invited onto The Ellen DeGeneres Show to discuss her mission further.
During her interview with Ellen, Tia Torres opens up about rescuing these dogs with the end goal in mind to rehabilitate them with proper care and socialization. Once they are classified as rehabilitated, the dogs are placed for adoption and offered another chance at a forever home.
Torres also goes on to explain the parolees’ role in the rehabilitation and care process. She firmly believes that the program teaches the parolees about work ethic and rehabilitation by giving them the responsibility of rehabilitating a rescue (or multiple rescues).
Tia Torres then discusses her television show, Pitbulls, and Parolees, which is aired on Animal Planet. She states “It [the show] takes the most malign breed of dog in the entire world and pairs them up with newly released convicts from prison.”
Tia Torres explains that “The dogs don’t judge – the dogs don’t care if you have a bad past or if you have tattoos. They just love you back.” It is this loving, affectionate and nonjudgmental nature of the Pitbull that Tia Torres believes in so strongly. She firmly stands behind the premise that when it comes to the parolees and the rescued dogs that “ultimately they teach each other.”
Torres and Ellen also discuss pet-homelessness during this interview. Tia opens up about the struggle of rescuing countless dogs many of whom are victims of abuse, neglect, and overall poor ownership. “It’s about responsibility,” said Torres.
The Villalobos Rescue Center is the primary rescue facility owned and operated by Tia Torres. This is the central location of her television show, Pitbulls, and Parolees and it is also the home to almost 300 rescued Pitbulls.
Tia allows the cameras and crew to film her rescues and the day to day life at the facility in hopes that it will draw the public eye to this vast epidemic of pet homelessness.
So far, it seems to be a success! Tia and her employees are able to rescue and adopt out more dogs as a result of the show on Animal Planet, and the facility is graced by numerous volunteers that offer their time, money, and supplies to help the dogs.
Unfortunately, the stereotype that lurks in the shadows of every Pitbull still remains. Tia talks about how difficult adopting them out still is even though more people are open to them than ever before. The hope is that the program and the television show can continue to open the minds of the people and that one day Pitbulls will live a life without a stereotype.
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