Nov 26, 2013|
It’s one of the most popular shows on Animal Planet—Pitbulls and Parolees.” We talked to the star of that show--Tia Maria Torres, about this polarizing breed and the largest pit bull rescue center that’s now right here in Louisiana.
We're discussing the hot topics of the day with co-host of First Take, Todd Menesses.
Angela discusses the shooting in Lafayette and says farewell to WWL as she hands her timeslot off to Scoot.
What's trending in sports, news, and entertainment?
Angela talks with WWL-TV investigative reporter Katie Moore and Tulane law professor Tania Tetlow about the city's backlog of uninvestigated rape cases.
Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
Well you may have seen her the last five years on Animal Planet then she saves one people after the other. Tia Maria Taurus founder of the Villa lobos rescue center. And star of peoples and parolees has been on a mission for well over twenty years. Saving those who Nolan wants. She was here helping after Katrina and she has now moved her family and her entire rescue operation to the Lower Ninth Ward. Her efforts -- to -- on wanted often abused pit bulls a second chance. And at the same time to give a second chance to man who have served their time in prison. And now help with the the over 250 dogs she cares for. It's not just a win win for the dogs and men. But a major win for New Orleans who is sadly overrun. With this much maligned breeze. And I want to thank you so much for being here for moving here. For having the heart you have. To help save these animals we have a lot to talk about. I wanna talk first about. You show is doing well and that his opening eyes of many to this. Ticket -- -- ER IE I would have to say that. When we first began pitching the show idea you know like six years ago now. There were a lot of the networks that. You know it's it's kind of a hard pill to swallow Haywood on this TV show about you know pit bulls and then parolees and the doors is kept slamming interface you know I wasn't like we were. Talking about Girl Scouts and and and you know and in pools are tinian lassie you know it was a hard topic to get past. A lot of networks. So I feel lomb. Is really really fortunate and very blessed that Animal Planet. Took the leap of faith and city and we'll take you -- little miss that in you know it was it was like yeah. Somebody realizes what we're doing in Iran about to gang members and drug dealer's other pit bulls on chains and that's a a lot of what happened I mean. Andy got admit when you hear the more pebbles and parolees -- what what what do you think. It scared me scared me not so much for coming. Com three hour were were very thankful you came here for Katrina you do big ailments job and you decided. To leave California. And to park yourself here and to start the whole opera for volume were also doing in California but now it's all operated out of here. Is it was it was are our rescue efforts during Katrina that. First introduced us to the city and we took a -- sixties something move Katrina dogs altogether. By the time our rescue efforts were overdone and I and between reuniting some of the -- back to their own errors just getting to know old the plight of what. Went on here. During an after Katrina you know likes like thousands and thousands of people. I'm across the country we felt it and we felt we felt that from New Orleans. You know to -- became. A city much like a pit -- Very much maligned. But definitely a survivor. And it's just attracted me to you know. Wanna come in wanna come back and continue to come back to help Swedish -- throughout the years. With various rescue efforts year -- and what has been the difference between. Your operation in California in your operation here. There's a couple a smooth action is quite a few term. California we were a very secluded. Location very secluded so. The public couldn't just roll up toward door. It also had its advantages that people also could not just -- -- on us because we were in the middle of nowhere nobody can find death. When we decided to come to New Orleans and we -- eventually found a location out here in the and then in the Ninth Ward. You know I kind of looked around and said hi you know -- -- close to the city here you know early in the middle of the of the thick of it. And a -- -- of union. And one of the local bakeries and I'm sorry I don't remember who you are one of the local bakeries came up to last for the king -- And sad you know welcome to our neighborhood I'm so glad to have you here. And then it was one of Iowa and different you know different businesses you don't we on the neighbors -- his red beans and rice. -- PD welcomed us with open arms and I said with a problem where like right here smack dab in the middle of the city. We can't -- a private facility. But we were in California we normally see this is different state -- now we have to be -- if you don't California was so easy to be -- that ever clues. So we made a huge decision to be a public facility and testicle that getting used to you having 50000 square foot warehouse is. It's too it's -- buildings action that that together are 50000 square feet. And unfortunately we've -- grumbles. Because of the amount of dogs that are coming in. So we -- these are dogs that you are finding that dogs that are being. Thrown over the fence. We are looking for dogs we come. We get a lot of law enforcement. That asks us to take dogs that they have found or arrested somebody and and that person about the dog. We're gaining. An unbelievable. Amount of dogs change our fans tied to our pants the thrown over our fence. Most recently. -- thrown into our trash dumpster. So weak it's funny when we you know. We came to say no because it is tying him up in the middle of the night. Overwhelming. Please don't now you have common. -- -- around 300 doctrine now and that's not just -- we have. How Lewis. Mean and mean how -- isn't Howard Smith sounds count on down. We have to Wallace we have little box and we have lost hostile mean these are not dogs. That I Gail wheat the last people to give us. Do you have a a setup where you can. Find homes for them. You know we come what we do is. I take a lot of pride in saying that we really cater to the dogs individual meets. So because we've outgrown our buildings are warehouses I'm -- to go and rent. Five more house's in the city. -- we have a little building in Livingston parish and two more satellite locations in Livingston -- also. And within these houses we've set up some of the dogs like we have one house that's for from a little handful of our old dogs we have one house that's for our our small dogs. And we do we know we -- we utilized pet finder. We utilized the Internet a lot our website FaceBook you know all the things other rescues -- too. The only thing that makes it stand out. Apartment a rescue groups we have a TV -- to help us. And that we don't have a magical tumbled one that we wave and say yes our adoption rates higher than everybody else's. Because we utilized that they utilize. A woman I've wanted to -- for a number of years Tia Maria Torres founder of Villa lobos rescue senator and star of pit bulls and parolees and just such an interest in person. By yourself that the wonderful work you're doing and trying to save so many animals that time. The lot of people are afraid of triples they're afraid of -- some wanna go back and say. What started your interest in pit bulls in particular but in ultimately saving some money. Well my my background actually comes from. Believe I was reasonable thing that I know that term is determined was that the truth. I of their -- exotic animals growing up quite a bit. So when I met my first clinical pimple on I didn't understand what the big stink was about because I mean I veteran. -- tigers and wolves and and and elephants. And down. It was a chance meeting an animal shelter. With a plan. I had gone to the animal shelter. Out Los Angeles county with a friend of mine she -- she worked for Collie rescue. So she was going up to the child who's to say classy one in the last he's up there. So myself and my two daughters took it with me they were quite young at the time this is generally. Early ninety's. And down while we were at the animal shelter and we solve the sheriff's pull up. In an animal control truck pull out in the buzz around the shelter was they had just gone on -- A grade or action was -- it was a homicide scene in double homicide scene. He was -- flat. Drug deal gone -- everybody was debt to -- one -- It was a triple that was changeup on the property in my guest -- like -- guard dog or something. So we sat there we're watching you all the big ruckus you know with with sheriff's department -- -- their -- this dog out. Of the trapped -- as a broader and through the gate. She. Got loose from them. And she made a beeline as a running towards us but it took me a second to figure out she was running towards my daughters my daughter's. We're sitting on a little bench had put the month after the -- -- fifty feet away from me. And shooting -- a beeline for them now you know. It had nothing to do is hurting a -- it was just a dog I did not know what's going towards my daughter's. So all it was a matter who's gonna get their first her -- I'm running she's running and she got to them before right it. And she. Jumped on both of them the bench flipped over both of my daughters fell back on the grass. And she went over the bench with them and of course -- have a heart attack. But. Hearing the little. Laughter and squeals and giggling of two little girls. It was and I realized she was just kissing them and lifting them an eye his saw her butt wiggling like -- I mean does she was like literally had them pinned on the ground. Licking every you know part of their face and dumb. I just don't love with her right then and there I was looking for an underdog I have wolves had a full blown wolf wolf wolf hybrid rescue. So widest I petition to the shelter. -- to getter and back then. A lot of the animal -- did not release pitfalls. They were put to sleep the -- they -- So -- you know I say hey I have wolves you know come on give me a break I can handle wolf I can handle this little Brandel blog so the eventual let me taker. And -- named her to Tonka after the Dances With Wolves. The Indians telling Kevin cost me two Tonka he -- the little buffalo thing. So on she became the start you know I I just I just fell in love with the breed I -- love how great she was with my kids. You know it -- led 21 after the other. I was already in the rescue world soul. I was familiar with how things worked. And it's next thing you know I was half wolf rescue and half pit -- rescue. And then I start thinking about you know both. Types of animals were both. -- victims of the -- -- here all these horrible things about wolves and their killers and in the stories in the movies and like they are the shy yes kindest gentlest animals on earth. And then you have to hit balls you hit the same thing about it and how it's reasonable these animals human in my life at the same time. And unfortunately there have been cases of temples and have kill him kill children of older people. And that lends itself to on my gosh there's this aggressive side tonight and now we are learning of the sweeter side didn't. But still that lingers and that's probably part of and that and coupled with the unfortunate life that Sandra have to live because they are victims of the dog -- Right awful it's just. You know we see unfortunately does breed we see so much abuse. You know because. You know if you think about it now ethnic Labrador troopers armed the maturity. Little ones in the majority the people that own labs are probably pretty nice people you know a lot of families want lab reports and you have a -- Lot of families will pimples than you have the other element. And these the people becomes its own worst enemy. It's they're so forgiving you can and I went out. Take a chance that famous you could abuse the crap out of a pebble and it will come back and love you and lick your face how fat that. But -- child you know it's -- children it is they -- of and they just they do they become their own worst enemy they just. They just take it Aaron it's sad because. They're taken advantage -- Maria -- is founder of the Villa lobos rescue stunner in the star pupils and parolees are special guest today. Love listening to talk about peoples okay. Now you have 50000 square feet filled with -- The goal is to try to find homes or do you just take care of them until they pass. Our -- almost upon homes that they can remain with gusts as long as it takes until they get home. You have your entire family here I love this that is working with you. The food and you were telling mean in the commercials it your sons today are aware. My a twin sons are actually over in assumption parish. Helping out the little assumption -- shelter that is run by the local jail there. They just don't have the funding to make improvements. Seoul about a month or so ago -- petitions to the the town there about. Taking. Responsibility for the shelter. And soul the unanimously granted me that come -- -- honor curse but on the so my sense today are. Putting dot houses in all of the kennels they're because the dogs had no. Shelter whatsoever that there were no dark -- -- to -- on concrete. Outside and the -- It's posted dropped like twenty some degrees tonight so my sense of -- out there all day. Building. Doghouse out of the blue plastic barrels and and stuffing them with blankets and putting up -- around the kennels. Tell me how you came up with the concept. -- excuse me of working with prisoners. Perm it started many many years ago and myself have -- back then. Wanna might gals that worked with me -- young girl her brother had a president. And she said I hope you don't mind -- bring your pet to school day. I don't -- my brother home alone does -- prison can come to work with me for awhile. And till he gets the job so she brought him to work and down united kept them busy. Volunteering. And down. Yes I'd like this guy's good he's the worker. And may end up hiring -- -- And Vietnam he was meeting on a parole officer out there who gave me the idea actually. Who said you know why don't you think about hiring guys on parole. And you know one lets them home to ruin it kept on going kept ongoing so how many do you have here. Ryan and Dan all we herald. -- -- Five or six some like that I have to I have to count that you know I did a story this was about two years ago it was it. I think it was Dixon correctional that they actually have a program. And they are training. These young men who were going to be getting out and they have this fabulous females that's. Well it is funny you say I have one of their proteges. And it's what's really interesting is really cool is that com. Matt who's from Dickson president he still an inmate he's not even on parole he's a part of a work release program. So -- -- I met him a text and actually hand down through doctor Wolfson and LSU she runs the program there. And they transferred -- down here to New Orleans to the work release program. And I and he. Works for us so he is this is the first. Inmates -- who he's he goes home and home he goes back to the facility every night so he still considered you know under the am. Under the -- controlled department corrections and I tell you what really impressed me that several of these guys. First of all so proud of what they've learned. They liked animals but now they love them but they sold this as a career then so getting out wasn't going to be this'll -- do with lights. They now have the mission of -- to do with it takes to be -- -- -- or whatever I'll tell you I am glad. Say this. Com you know I'm -- raised in California. And I mean we re consider California one of the most progressive states in the country yet. They don't have any programs in any of the president's national. Become too little Louisiana and -- -- California I mean every the prisons and jails -- all of this -- but at least from programs they now when I -- Dixon. Killed in the the officer in charge of the -- program -- new twist that's our wood shop that term metal shop that's -- welding shop like. Me. So all it I was just amazed at. You old -- the entire world does not know about these great programs and they will need to be sure out there it's wonderful. And if it's the it's the answer. Well it's a that's an answer in a go -- it's such you know if it. It's a win win it because. It's a woman for the dogs. It's a woman for the guys that and I don't understand why some of these other. States that council's progressive art so progressive and we've got a caller -- from Slidell. -- and good supporters secret here and I am very happy to be looked rather an all in election. -- -- -- Thank you thank you thank you. I wanted to just give testimony you are good about my own life there are on the road just over a year ago it. Frustration with the long illness and our collaboration market power. Are really needed something to do in our god brought you little pit bull mix dog my neighbor who had been abuse and poppy and our doctors since then. I've got so much better -- so much better than daughters. Church's social. Animal she loves the little children extort you love -- -- the whole family model friendly laws of -- beyoncé you know just certain level really. She's fantastic daughter not recommend any one never -- If you contract and it their you know our -- a -- get a temple could they -- -- -- and they are very very small. That is wonderful to hear we love testimonials that we really do but I think you're saying a lot -- it goes back if it is. Not the dog it's the people and if you have a loving person and who can train the dog. Then you're in like -- Yeah it's you know it's. -- of been my family's life I mean we we we we eat greens. -- these dogs and were living proof. We've been around probably more pit bulls that anybody and I kind of make them. Twisted joke about it as -- well we're not missing any of our appendages or are limbs were all still intact. Routes that pass something to be said for that you know we've had nothing -- pleasure come from our dogs and but he said -- such loyalty. And thank you very much for calling I appreciate and I'm happy for -- Let's go to Edward -- Edward. Hey are you going to handle. I used to being PCI myself. In the way. I don't mean to brag about it in ninety Warren. And now just ill people and pearl. Aren't they get to especially if you don't know. But thank you know thank you know we've had some great luck with some the guys in DCI. In fact I'm border trying to target at lower parolees who don't want it from local. It'll be you're not alone anymore. And you are a lot from PCI. And it can keep teaching trade. They can do good with people on poorly. And Tokyo thank you very much for calling and I appreciate it. Okay. No it's it's interesting. You've done something on two levels one of course is. Look at that regions and we can save them. And also look at people who need a second chance is to understand why it's to me it seems so. Obvious. I don't understand why. Other. Programs are available you know -- To feed the prisons that are doing it you know applause to you I mean it's just such a win win. You know these guys have so much time on their hands to to give to adopt. Home you know I would love nothing more to adopt all of our dogs out to inmates because they could be with their people point four cent it's it's great it's a great. Program to house and going to the one -- so much of what they were doing was the socialization. So that these pets dogs would have a second chance. Thank you thank you just can't warehouse you have to humanize apps a little I have absolutely and that is the opportunity in and people can. Then say okay I have confidence that. This breed will not -- my child apart and in Kabul and it'll make a great parents Brian and look how socialized already right that's the combo yeah. It's agree it's a great thing and how can we help you what do you need. Well as much as we love being here in New Orleans -- unfortunately. Our. Finances have. Wanna -- quite Drupal. From -- -- via tripled the quadrupled. So right now money is very very tight for us you know we have marketing rent because -- only anywhere properties. Utilities are extremely high -- in. The summer we had that we brought in portable air conditioning units a little bit in the 300 on the so it was -- I mean are. To give you an announcement are averaged. Electric bill. Between the two buildings was 6000 dollars electric they'll month -- month. Unlike an assistant -- for the two the two warehouses and then there was all the satellite locations. I'm I just did the figures this morning -- just at a very roughly in my hand. Room. Rent utilities. Labor. Some of our vet bills and and we're building supplies -- just five items five items. And it came to 70000 dollars for the month. -- so yes I know I I I wish I hadn't got it on my gosh god now I really know how much is prosecuted it as if you know what I didn't know that the RC people. The RC the -- dot com if you wanna participate and help. I'm sorry we're out of time I can't thank you enough room and the stories magnificent. And I just wish you continued success in Blanchard here thinking oh okay.