Who owns Villalobos Rescue Center? Here's why they won't evacuate for Hurricane Ida

Thousands of NOLA residents are thinking about the rescue center which has decided to 'shelter in place' with the many dogs and animals they have


                            Who owns Villalobos Rescue Center? Here's why they won't evacuate for Hurricane Ida
Villalobos Rescue Center was founded by Tia Torres, the star of 'Pit Bulls & Parolees' ((Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for Discovery Communications/Facebook)
ADVERTISEMENT

Villalobos Rescue Center which houses more than 140 pit bulls at their facility among other animals has declared they will "shelter in place" when Ida hits. Thousands of residents are worried about the safety of the animals at the center who could be affected gravely as they are in the presumed way of the hurricane. "This isn't our first rodeo," the center announced in a lengthy post made to their official Facebook account on Friday, August 27 evening.

ADVERTISEMENT

In 2006 when Hurricane Katrina ravaged LA, it had brought to the fore the pet overpopulation problem in NOLA and the Gulf Coast, garnering national attention. No one knew how many animals died when Katrina hit, and statistics showed at least 88,700 pets had gone unaccounted for. Most estimates had put the number between 50,000-70,000 across the entire Gulf Coast. According to the latest updates on Hurricane Ida, the center of the storm could reach LA, late on August 30 or early on August 31 as a hurricane with maximum winds of 110 mph and gusts of up to 130 mph. August 28 is the last day for LA inhabitants to evacuate to safe spots and the animals and caregivers at Villalobos have chosen to ride it out. 

ADVERTISEMENT

READ MORE

Hurricane Ida: People leaving pets behind 'to be killed' as they evacuate to safety

Hurricane Ida: emergency numbers, weather details to know as LA prepares for storm

ADVERTISEMENT

Who runs Villalobos Rescue Center?

Tia Torres, the star of 'Pit Bulls & Parolees' on Animal Planet which has been on air since 2009, is the owner of Villalobos Rescue Center. VRC is the largest pit bull rescue facility in the United States which began as a wolf/wold hybrid rescue in the '90s in California, way before there was a TV show. The facility moved all its animals to the Louisiana location in 2011 due to financial reasons and major changes in county laws which made it impossible for the facility's smooth functioning. 

ADVERTISEMENT

VRC is highly popular and one of the most trusted rescue organizations in the country with a following of 17 million-plus people on Facebook and some 261K followers on Instagram. With updates showing Ida has developed a clear eye and is strengthening by the second, the animals at this center are in the thoughts and prayers of many as the center declared, "WE ARE GOING TO GET SLAMMED." 

ADVERTISEMENT



 

However, they've still decided to stay where they are and explaining their decision, they said, "Unless Mother Nature gives us a "stay" we are in for a very rough ride starting Sunday and into Monday. Now before all the armchair quarterbacks start jumping in to tell us to evacuate, anyone who runs their own animal rescue/shelter knows that this is easier said than done.

ADVERTISEMENT

"With as many dogs and other animals that we now have, it's just not that simple. We get so many offers from people saying "I have 20 acres..." and while that is generous and kind, you can't just plop a few hundred dogs in crates in the middle of a field. And when you add to the stress of being moved, heat exhaustion can almost become more dangerous than riding out the storm.

ADVERTISEMENT



 

"We will 'shelter in place' Every dog will be indoors with staff equipped with generators and the necessities. Remember now...this ain't our first rodeo. We haven't been hit hard since Hurricane Isaac when we first moved to Louisiana. So I guess we were due. But what we may need is help with storm clean-up and repairs. The storm should be gone by Monday but I will keep everyone posted. We will know more tomorrow as the storm gets closer but if you could just "pencil us in" and maybe help us with some mucking up of water, walking dogs, etc., we sure would appreciate it. And while this is scary and not a welcoming event, our thoughts go out to those Afghanistan animal rescues who have it much worse than we do right now. Sending strength and hope to Kabul Small Animal Rescue and Nowzad. May the force be with us all," their statement concluded. 

ADVERTISEMENT

In case you wish to donate to Villalobos Rescue Center, or volunteer for post-storm cleanup, contact the facility here.