Following a failed attempt to move her Villalobos Rescue Center (VRC) to Techachapi, Calif., and faced with stricter kennel laws, Tia Maria Torres has packed up the dogs and moved to two other states.
Torres has just opened a rescue/adoption center in New Orleans, while a “Pit Bull Pondersosa” sanctuary is being set up on a donated 50-acre ranch in New Mexico.
“Though the two locations will be several states away from each other, they will still continue to function as one organization,” according to the VRC website.
The rescue/adoption center, which is tentatively scheduled to have its grand opening in March, is in the 9th Ward of New Orleans. Unlike the California facility, the new center will be open to the public on a walk-in basis.
“We hope to bring the much-needed assistance to the overwhelming Pit Bull population as well as canine education and care to the residents of the area,” the website states.
According to the most recent update on the VRC website, the sanctuary will serve as home to its “lifers” (unadoptable dogs) and senior dogs so they can “live out their lives in the peace and serenity of the high desert.”
VRC had been operating out of Agua Dolce, Calif., for the past 18 years. Although Kern County denied her request to move the business to Techachapi last year, Torres still planned to create a sanctuary on land she owned there. However, a small plane crashed on the property in September, causing a fire that destroyed her house and kennels. No dogs were on site at the time.
Torres decided to relocate out of state. Volunteers helped her and her staff with the massive move last month.
“It’s time for us to move on to an area where we can survive financially and also where we are desperately needed,” the website states. “The Villalobos family is very excited to be able to pick themselves up after getting knocked down over the Tehachapi disaster and the growing problems in Los Angeles, so that they can offer the dogs a better life. We are all very excited to begin our new journey elsewhere and hopefully this new chapter in our lives will be successful.”
To find out about volunteering or donating items to the new locations, email the VRC volunteer coordinator at email@example.com or call 661-268-0555.
PHOTO: Dixie Wells