By SUE MANNING, Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) - 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's 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.
If it had worked out otherwise, she jokes the show would have been called "Pit Bulls, Parolees and Prostitutes."
That would have been a great title for a show if she did open a brothel, but my goodness, at over 200 pitbulls you know she's dedicated. This, in my opinion, is a great way to not only help the dogs, but also rehab some of the felons and criminals in the system, so that maybe they don't go back and saves cash for it in the long haul. They need more. Much much more.
I'm not saying every criminal should be paired with a pit (good god no) but those who are (and make up a huge part of) in prison/jail for marijuana use would probably be a good group to spring out since its a waste of cash to hold a pothead in a cell with hardened criminals and such. My opinions on drugs/law/rehab aside, I think it is wonderful for the dogs to have people care for them, and give them a chance.