Saving dogs from breeding kennels and abandonment
ATHENS–Three weeks ago, Owner of Villalobos Rescue Center (VRC) and star of the reality TV show Pit Bulls and Paroles, Tia Torres was alerted to a dire situation in Athens by the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO). The former owner of a seven-acre wooded property near Athens committed suicide after facing eviction which left behind 50 or more dogs and wolfdogs.
Torres says this has been Villalobos’s largest rescue situation in their history and has worked side by side with the HCSO, local volunteers, Athens Animal Rescue Shelter and multiple dog rescue groups. Husky Halfway House, Taysia Blue Husky and Malamute Rescue, Animal House Sanctuary NFP Volunteer Organization and Kindness Ranch Animal Sanctuary are just a few that came out to the property and took the first group of dogs that were rescued.
“Words cannot even begin to express our gratitude, please visit these other groups Facebook pages and thank them for their hard work and show your support for them as well,” Torres said in a Facebook update to her followers.
After the owner’s death, the dogs became frantic, hungry, thirsty and did what any pack of dogs would do, their survival instincts kicked in and they began to escape from their enclosures to look for food. Some dogs escaped to nearby farms and ranches prowling for food, but endangered their lives by ranchers protecting livestock. One puppy in particular, was seriously injured and received a grim prognosis by an emergency veterinarian. The puppy, who has now been named “Athena” has had surgery and is recovering.
“So many thanks go to Twisted Tails Animal Rescue, there just aren’t enough words for these amazing women. Straight out heroes! Another huge thank you goes to Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary for paying Athena’s hefty vet bill. You guys are amazing all the way up there in Canada,” said Torres in a Facebook post.
The property has been sold, by the former breeder but after the buyer learned of the situation has made the decision to sell the property to Villalobos. “This was the miracle the dogs needed,” she said. Out of pure Texan graciousness, the buyer has allowed Torres time to raise money to purchase the property and begin major repairs that will be desperately needed to keep the remaining wolfdogs on site while VRC finds private homes for them.
VRC started off as a wolfdog/wolf rescue many years ago. The name Villalobos means town of wolves but Torres says she retired and took on the plight of the Pit Bull. Although they now rescue all types of dogs, VRC is not prepared to take on this amount of wolfdogs so they are still unsettled.Torres stands behind her words that still resonate from the Hurricane Katrina disaster, “No dog left behind.”
“It’s a work in progress and all the locals are now aware of our mission to save these dogs and get them to the awaiting rescue groups who have reached out to us” Torres says. “For now all we can do is keep on doing what we do best and that’s no matter how exhausted we all are, we get up in the morning, pull on our boots and head out to help the dogs that we all love so much.”
To stay updated on the VRC Athens situation and find out how you can help, visit the Villalobos Rescue Center Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VillalobosRescueCenter or the VRC website www.vrcpitbull.com.