July 09, 2014

Tia Torres and New Orleans’ Villalobos Rescue Center Stop at Nothing to Provide Second Chances to Man and Man’s Best Friend 

(New York, NY) Tia Torres is a firm believer in second chances. She’s dedicated the past two decades to building Villalobos Rescue Center – the largest pit bull rescue center in the U.S. Torres gives a new lease on life to dogs that were discarded, demonized and abused – often due solely to the reputation of their breed. Villalobos also has offered a fresh start to the more than 50 parolees that Tia has employed – each trying to get their life on the right track despite their also being stigmatized by society. Man and man’s best friend continue along the hard road to redemption in the sixth season of PIT BULLS & PAROLEES premiering on Animal Planet Saturday, September 27, at 10 PM (ET/PT). 

Despite her lack of desire for the spotlight, Tia has reluctantly become a high-profile figure in pit bull advocacy. Her unremitting efforts now reach a worldwide audience with PIT BULLS & PAROLEES, as she works tirelessly to change the perception of a much-maligned breed. Caring for these dogs is a family affair, as Tia works with her two adult daughters, Tania and Mariah, adopted twin sons Kanani aka "Nani" and Keli'i aka "Moe," and a crew of New Orleans parolees. She’s taken thousands of unwanted pit bulls off the streets since the rescue began and each year she places 75 to 100 dogs into carefully selected loving homes.

Throughout the years on PIT BULLS & PAROLEES’, Tia and her family have faced incredible obstacles and personal tragedies, from a wildfire that destroyed her California dog sanctuary, moving Villalobos across country and starting from scratch in a new city, and the loss of their personal home from Hurricane Isaac. Through it all, Tia and her family have persevered, remaining strong while standing up for the dogs they love. 

“PIT BULLS & PAROLEES epitomizes the core values of Animal Planet programming – engrossing storytelling, complex and unforgettable authentic characters –and an intense passion for the intersection of the human and animal worlds,” said Rick Holzman, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Animal Planet. “This series challenges our preconceptions and asks us not to judge a book by its cover.  I think the show resonates because it is about the very personal struggle for survival and redemption – both for the humans and dogs – this is why it is a perfect representation of 'surprisingly human' programming.”  

In the new season of PIT BULLS & PAROLEES, viewers see Tia refuse to turn away any dog in need. Villalobos has quickly become a community stronghold in New Orleans, with people leaving dogs at her doorstep on a regular basis. Despite having a full house in the Lower Ninth Ward and numerous overflow facilities, Tia has opened the doors to include more breeds than ever, and the financial strains have her at a breaking point, leading Tia to open a local bar as a way to raise more money for the rescue. This season, Tia rescues fighting dogs from constant abuse and works hand in hand with local law enforcement to remove chained pit bulls during a police raid. As the work continues to pile up, Tia must find trustworthy help and her irreplaceable parolee, Earl, who is about to get off parole, may have found one solution to her problem. Tia’s daughters and adopted twin sons continue to be committed to Villalobos. And a hard-working employee makes the transition from inmate on work release to parolee, while Tania’s “honeymoon” with her new husband, Perry, has been spent helping her mom keep her head above water.

With a thriving social media presence featuring over 1 million Facebook fans, PIT BULLS & PAROLEES has become more than just a television show to the canine community and Tia’s faithful followers. To celebrate the pit bull love around the world, fans will have the chance to share pictures of their pet on air via Instagram. 

PIT BULLS & PAROLEES is produced for Animal Planet by 44 Blue Productions and Rive Gauche Television. Rasha Drachkovitch is the executive producer for 44 Blue Productions. For Animal Planet, Lisa Lucas is the executive producer, and Patrick Keegan is the producer. 

Animal Planet, a multi-media business unit of Discovery Communications, is the world's only entertainment brand that immerses viewers in the full range of life in the animal kingdom with rich, deep content via multiple platforms and offers animal lovers and pet owners access to a centralized online, television and mobile community for immersive, engaging, high-quality entertainment, information and enrichment. Animal Planet consists of the Animal Planet television network, available in more than 94 million homes in the US; online assets, the ultimate online destination for all things animal; Animal Planet L!VE, the go-to digital destination for round-the-clock, unfiltered access to the animal kingdom; and other media platforms including a robust Video-on-Demand (VOD) service, and merchandising extensions.