Tia Torres, her family and the Villalobos Rescue Center came to fame with the hit television series Pit Bulls & Parolees, which first aired on 30 October 2009 and is still running in 2017. The Villalobos Rescue Center is now located in New Orleans. Since 2017, Tia Torres and her family also operate The Tahyo Tavern and The Tahyo Store in New Orleans.
Tia Torres Kids
Tia Torres has four children – two biological daughters and two “adopted” sons. Tia’s daughters are: Mariah Torres and Tania Torres. Tia Torres sons are: Kanani and Keli’i (also known as Moe).
Over the past years of shooting the show, Tia Torres kids have been growing up and stepping up on camera.
Tia’s Hawaiian twin sons provide the comic relief and work with the most difficult dogs. Her daughters and their crew at The Tahyo help Tia pack and ship the merchandise the family started selling as part of the show, as well as run the Tahyo Tavern located on lower Decatur Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
Tania Torres’s (aka Tania Cardello) father became a victim of tragic injury that led to his paralysis when Tania was a child. She lost her half-brother years later in a gang-related shooting.
Who is Tia Torres Husband?
Tia Torres husband Aren is not the father of any of her children. Tia and Aren met during the 1980’s when she was trying to track down the owner of a dog to hand it to him. Jackson married Tia Torres and started to support her rescue. In September 2007, Aren Marcus Jackson was arrested on charges of violating his parole. Find out more about Tia Torres husband here.
Tia Torres’s Injury
In November, 2016 Tia suffered a devastating injury to her leg. She actually breaks her leg in the Season 8 premiere on Animal Planet.
When I heard of Tia Torres’s injury, I imagined something along the lines of Cesar Millan (the Dog Whisperer) injuries, when a dog lashed out at him with its teeth. Tia’s injury wasn’t related to dogs whatsoever. She just fell over the back of a couch at her Tahyo Tavern…
Tia was trying to take a picture of her children at a fan meeting at the tavern. She swung her right leg over the couch, but her left leg got stuck in the couch. Her body twisted and everybody heard a “zap”. Her left knee got dislocated, and she was rushed to an emergency room in an ambulance. It was around 3am.
Tia had an emergency surgery, because the bone was hitting an artery. She knew she would be needing more surgeries and will be off her feet for months…
What happened to the rescue when Tia is hospitalized? Tia Torres’s kids had to step up and start managing the parolees, rescue and adoptions on their own.
Tia Torres Age and When to Wish Her Happy Birthday
Tia Torres (aka Tia Cardello, Tia Macgretor) is 57 years old in 2017. She was born on 06 March 1960.
Tia Torres’s Biography
Tia Torres was born and raised in Southern California. She had a difficult childhood. Tia had no father figure and was raised by her step mother who she considers her only mom.
Her step mother was a former farm girl, and very much an equestrian. She shared her passion for animals with Tia, as well as taught her strength and discipline. She also taught Tia that owning a “pet” is a privilege, and that the animals you adopt should come first. Tia has continued this tradition with her own children.
At the age of 17, Tia left home with her Catahoula Leopard Dog – Cougar, two Arabian horses, and an Angora goat. The teenager struggled to keep all the four-legged family members taken care of.
Later, Tia Torres enlisted in the Army and became a truck driver. This is where she met Tania’s father-to-be. Unfortunately, he was caught up in drugs and became abusive toward Tia, which led to his arrest and imprisonment. Some years later, Tia met future Mariah’s father, who was involved with animals.
Later on, Tia found a job as a youth gang counselor in the City of Los Angeles.
Next, Tia Torres started the Villalobos shelter that was rescuing wolfs and wolf hybrids (Villalobos stands for “village of wolves” in Spanish). In the late 1990s she started rescuing pit bulls as well. This happened after a female pit bull from a local shelter made friends with Tia’s toddler daughters, Tania and Mariah. Tia adopted the dog and later named her Tatanka.
In 1999, Tia and the Los Angeles City Animal Services teamed up and created “The Pit Bull Support Group” – a free service providing spaying/neutering, training, and assistance to anyone who owned a Pit Bull or Pit mix. During this time Tia took on a young man who’d recently been released from prison – her first official parolee hire.
Soon after, she met twin teenage boys Kanani and Keli’I – friends of Tia’s daughter Mariah. The boys were having a difficult time at home, and their home life was not a suitable situation. They were working at Tia’s shelter and soon she adopted them.
Villalobos Rescue Center was now rescuing dogs and humans, as it is extremely hard to find work as a parolee. Tia’s husband was on parole at the time as well.
Tia was dubbed as one of Los Angeles’s “Most Important People” by a popular local magazine. This caught the eye of reality TV producers. Tia didn’t want to be on TV, but finally gave in, seeing diminishing donations, California’s sinking economy, stricter adopting rules in the county, and seeing neighboring rescue facilities close down one after another.
Throughout her life and career, Tia has lived in different parts of California, including: Canyon Country, CA; Santa Clarita, CA; Agua Dulce, CA; Saugus, CA; Sylmar, CA; Pacoima, CA; Frazier Park, CA; Pine Mountain Club, CA; San Fernando, CA. Tia is now living in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Tia Torres Tattoos
The Wolfman tattoo on her left shoulder is her godfather, Lon Chaney Jr. She also has a Raven, her totem animal, and an owl on the same arm. The pit bull on Tia Maria Torres’s right shoulder is a tribute to “Duke,” who rescued her from an attack of a Rhode Island Red rooster. Tia Torres has another pit bull tattooed on her lower back.
The Villalobos Rescue Center
The Villalobos Rescue Center founded by Tia Torres was originally located in Agua Dulce, California. In 2010, the center made about 8 trips across country and finally moved to the New Orleans, Louisiana. It is now located in the Upper 9th Ward area of New Orleans.
Villalobos Rescue Center is a registered charity focusing on rehabilitation of the American Pit Bull Terriers, with help from the parolees who work with the dogs.
In 2014, the organization had approximately 400 dogs. The notoriety of the TV show has resulted in many many dogs being directed to Tia’s organization. Dogs of varying breeds are brought to Tia in need medical attention, shelter or adoption.
The center’s founder agreed to continue being on the show to help pay part of Villalobos increasing monthly bills.
The cost of keeping the Villalobos Rescue Center up and running is around $100,000 a month – this is paid for by donations and Tia’s salary from the TV series.
The Villalobos Rescue Center is now the largest pitbull rescue facility in the country.
You can get in touch with Tia and the Villalobos Rescue Center by email at [email protected]
Pit Bulls & Parolees TV Show
The main focus of the show is the interaction between Tia Torres, Tia Torres kids (Tania, Mariah, Kanani and Keli’i), her dogs, and the parolees who work for Tia, during daily care, as well as pit bull rescue missions.
The Animal Planet show, “Pit Bulls and Parolees” has become enormously successful. Thanks to Tia Torres, her family and staff for all that they do!
Tia Torres Net Worth
Tia Torres’s net worth is estimated to be $300 thousand in 2017.
Pit Bull Controversies
Pit bulls are very popular yet very controversial dogs. Some people claim that this breed has been attacking humans left and right, others – that pit bulls are the most misunderstood dog breed in the world.
One of Tia’s former fans and followers claims that in 2014 her 4 year-old daughter was attacked and mauled to death by the dog the family bought after watching Pit Bulls & Parolees. The family had been faithfully following the show’s advice on bringing up pit bulls, yet the dog attacked and killed the child. The mother hopes that the reality TV star feels responsible in part, and asserts that pit bulls may not be the optimum pet for families with children.
Fans of the show express their condolences to the mother, but say that it isn’t Tia’s fault, since she has nothing to do with the child’s death. People get attacked by all breeds of dogs, get injured and killed by their horses, etc. A child needs to be supervised at all times when interacting with an animal.
Tia is extremely cautious when placing her dogs and had always said that pit bulls can be unpredictable. She and her daughters warn that no small children or pets should be in the home with a pit bull. She has repeatedly stated on her show that animals need to be spayed and neutered, which will greatly reduce their territorial aggressiveness. Tia has dogs that will never leave her facility, so called lifers (some of them are dogs that were used as a bait dog or were ring fighters).
Yet, some of the fans say that it is partly Tia’s fault, since she is promoting a dangerous breed as a family pet and even calls them “nanny dogs”. And that the family relied upon Tia’s advice as that of of a professional expert. Our hearts go out to this innocent child and their family…
There’s always something happening within Tia’s family of humans and dogs.
In 2010, Tia Torres appeared on the Ellen show with her pit bull named Snorkie. Both Snorkie and Tia held Ellen’s audience spellbound.
In 2012, Tia came to the defense of Jon Gosselin, who was being slammed by his ex-wife Kate Gosselin for letting his kids cuddle up to his girlfriend’s pit bulls.
In 2014, Tia Torres, the compassionate star of Animal Planet’s reality show “Pit Bulls & Parolees,” spoke onstage during her portion of the Discovery 2014 Summer TCA in Beverly Hills, Calif.
In May 2016, Tia had reached out to help Sparks and David McMurtrie, founders of Pit Stop for Change Rescue & Rehabilitation in River Rouge.
In June, 2016 a visitor confronted Tia Torres over a dog in the care of VRC that she claimed was hers. Tia and her staff knew that the dog in question wasn’t this woman’s. The woman had gotten in her minivan and was driving towards Tia, who was on crutches (from an unrelated knee injury).The woman was two dozen feet away from Tia when one of her staff threw a coffee on the windshield of the minivan, causing her to swerve. This dangerous encounter forced the center to stop public tours of the premises, with the last one being held on June 11, 2016.
In January, 2017 Tia and her family opened up a new bar – Tahyo Tavern, on Decatur Street in the French Quarter. The tavern has dog-friendly seating outside. Profits from the bar and the neighboring merchandise store, The Tahyo, will help fund operations at the rescue center. At the Tahyo store (Tahyo stands for “big, hungry dog”), you can buy Signature VRC Harness Leads, Custom Artwork by Mariah, Charms & Bracelets, Pit Bull Shirts, Cups, Sticker, and more.
In April, 2017 fire destroyed Tia son’s home he had just moved into days ago with his family. Tia received numerous emails, phone calls, letters and messages to support her, as she always does from the fans of Pit Bulls & Parolees.