Pit bulls and parolees on Animal Planet
What do you get when you bring together 225 pit bulls, 204 volunteers, the woman to your left in the flowing white dress and six recent prison parolees on a ranch in the canyons of southern California?
A reality show, of course.
Tia Maria Torres, 49, started Villalobos Rescue Center – the largest pit bull rescue in the United States – 14 years ago. Three years ago, she began taking in ex-cons, including her prison pen pal Aren Marcus Jackson, a tattoo artist who would become her second husband.
According to an Associated Press report, the rescue has tried some novel fund-raising approaches in the past, including opening a brothel — a legal, Nevada one – but it burned down. Now Torres, it seems, is turning to an even shadier source for funding — the reality show.
Animal Planet’s “Pit Bulls and Parolees” will debut next month.
Producer Michael “MikeyD” Dinco was a student in a pit bull class Torres taught years ago. Intrigued by the combination of pit bulls and parolees, he decided to pitch the reality show idea to the network.
Torres said the show will help cover the $20,000 in monthly bills, including a ton of dog food a week, as well as its $25,000 vet tab. The rescue is located on 17 acres of rugged terrain in Canyon Country.
The television show will focus on the interaction of the dogs and men. “The dogs bring out the best in these guys,” Torres said.
Torres grew up a in an a upper-middle class family, but fell into the gang life. That led to six years in the Army, followed by work as a youth counselor in Los Angeles. After 13 years in social services, she started training animals for the film industry before opening the shelter.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 20th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal, animal planet, brothel, california, dogs, ex convicts, funding, parole, pit bulls, pit bulls and parolees, prison, reality, reality show, rescue, television, tia maria torres, torres, tv, villalobos