I have loved watching Pitbulls and Parolees for a couple of years, and can't comment about the validity or lack thereof of the charity. But I do have a couple of comments.
First, toward a reviewer who was angry that Villalobos does not cover transportation costs, according to the reviewer, of a 20 lb dog. This review was absurd. It is just as expensive to transport a 20lb dog as one who is 120lbs. I noticed the adopter lives on disability income, as do I, yet she was able to afford to travel to Villalobos to choose a dog. It's absurd to expect any charity to pay to get a dog to you whether by packing it into and airplane cargo (which they don't do) or driving the dog themselves to check the new home for acceptability for adoption. It costs money to travel, stay in motels, gas, food for the employees and dogs, just basic costs would be undaunting for a charity to absorb. I do, however, think there should be a more cost effective way to get the dogs to new homes, such as coordinating multiple transports for dogs going to homes in the general area or even the same state If traveling far. The "One at a time" method seems wasteful to me. Perhaps, limiting the distance is more reasonable. Or even teaming up with other rescues to act as regional centers so there would be no transport cross country. It's just an idea. However, If a person can't afford all adoption costs, they'll never be able to afford the high cost of pet care. It's a big mistake that some make when they obtain a pet through any means. I've seen SO many people placing pets in shelters or rehoming because they can't pay pet deposits, vet care, spay/neuter, shots, food and other costs that should be for the entire life of the pet, not just while they're little and cute. For those, like me on limited incomes, there ARE local charities who offer help for some of these expenses and I'm grateful for all the help I've received, but try to give back when and however I can. For the vast majority of potential adopters, try your local shelters and rescues. Pets of all sorts need foster and permanent homes in every part of the country and all over the world. If someone wants to only adopt from a famous or televised group, I question the motivation.
For the reviewers who suggested there are shady things going on, such as properties for family members or inappropriate travel and others, I tell everyone to research a charity before donating, PERIOD. Everyone has a right to question and ask for transparency. In this day and age there are many scams trying to reach into our pockets and if we discover one, we should report it to the proper authorities. If ANY charity or business is threatening anyone for freely expressing themselves about concerns, then report that as well. Those behaviors must stop, and HONEST comment for public awareness is our social responsibility. Shame on any individual, group, business or charity who threatens anyone as well as same to those making disparaging remarks when not true or out of anger or revenge.
Finally, in regards to Villalobos, my big concern came about while I was making a donation to another dog rescue that I've come to love and have been so pleased with not only all thier good works, but thier full transparency as to monies, costs, expenses, including administrative. Guidestar is a great resourse for getting in depth tax information, names of employees, board members and charity missions. I was very disappointed when no such information for Villalobos was available, so I made a choice to not donate. This doesn't mean they don't do good work, but I tell everyone to research any group you want to donate to unless it doesn't matter to you. Because my income is limited, I prefer to choose places I can validate. But I don't need them to throw accolades my way nor do I need a t-shirt or some other gift for my donation. That cost can be better spent. If people need that, they're giving for the wrong reasons.
The bottom line is Do what you CAN do, and do what you can afford. Give where it makes sense to you.
Review from Guidestar
After reading many of the reviews posted here, I cannot let the "bad" reviews go unanswered. In 2000, we took a pitbull mix to a behavior class sponsored by Villalobos. Flash forward several years and my son and I volunteered at their facility in California until they moved. My family will always support their organization. That brings me to point of my review. The truth is always somewhere in the middle. Some of the "bad" reviews sound like they aren't providing the whole story.
There is a reviewer who expected an acknowledgement of their donation. Villalobos provides receipts as requested and a postcard or email thanking you for your support. Did you miss the email or post card? If you think you will receive a personal phone call, that isn't something they do.
When donating money to any organization, it goes in one big bucket. Some charities allow you to "support" a specific animal or child. The actual donated dollars are not specific to that animal or child. If that were true, the survival of that animal or child would depend on how much "curb appeal" they have.
When you adopt an animal from almost any rescue, transportation of the animal is not provided. If you can't afford the $1500 to ship the pet to you or you to the pet, you should consider a more local adoption choice. If you expect a rescue to pay all transportation and medical expenses, that means the rest of us donating money would actually be paying for your ownership of that dog. Joint custody would be in order at that point. They paid for the spay and neuter, but at no time would anyone there have told you they would pay all future medical costs.
Yes, they have a facility in New Mexico. The property and house were donated to them. Villalobos didn't buy it with what some reviewers here think is a mountain of cash they have laying around. The person donating the property did not dangle it in front of them and make them do all the leg work. If you are fortunate enough to be able to donate stock, you should figure out how to get ownership transferred if the orgnization is not set up to accept stock.
They had 2 houses in California next door to each other. They weren't mansions and they weren't in an expensive neighborhood. Both properties had kennels outside in the back and every room in the houses also had crates with dogs. Yes, full houses of their personal pets and pets up for adoption.
Maybe I am a different kind of person. When I donate money or services, I don't expect anything in return and I certainly don't expect a phone call or any acknowledgement.
I decline the free gift when donating to any charity offering me a gift.
I don't feel an organization should have to spend the money I gave them buying me a card or present nor do I feel I get to tell them how to parse out the money.
If they buy a new car or take a vacation with that money, then there is a problem.
If they use it to pay a power bill or, in the case of animal rescues, buy the dog food, that's up to them.
If I want to know if my donation has been accepted on the other end, I look at my bank records. I'm an adult.
If I donate money, I expect it to be my responsibility to figure out how to get it to the organization.
When last I checked, charities don't offer money back guarantees.
I have never asked a donation to be returned.
The last animal I adopted arrived at my house in my car because I drove there to get him.
I never expect any animal rescue to pay for all the medical and transportation expenses. That really should not be a selling point for adopting an animal. Any good animal rescue will adopt out an animal who was spayed or neutered. All future medical costs are the adopter's responsibility. The animal rescue is the charity, not the adopter.
In short, I am an adult who knows there is some amount of work on my end if I am going to donate money or services. If I were to find out a charity has used my funds for illicit purposes, I am free to report that to authorities for investigation. Fortunately, I have not been in that situation. Donations are not a requirement. If someone feels the need to make a donation to any organization, it should not stem from the need to be personally validated or recognized. The donation should be because you wish to support an organization who has volunteered to do whatever work they are doing. Operating a 503c orgnization is not a lucrative career.
For anyone who has actually read this far, thanks for listening.
I see their IRS forms online from 2013 on, so I'm unsure why a person would write that their last IRS form was in 2008. Perhaps he wrote that in 2008? I just wanted to clarify that for the internet sounding board here.
Went to New Orleans and visited Villalobos to donate & dog walk as a volunteer. I am a dog walker in NJ who found great discrimination against Pits, so I catered to them and have many clients tell me stories of negligent, uninformed discrimination.
So I figured I'd travel to Villalobos and help out if i could. I have never met such dedicated people in my life, and I now support my local Pit Bull Rescues as a result of the team here.
Review from Guidestar
Over more than a month Iattempted to donate $10,000.00 in stock to Villalobos. ( To my wife and me, that is a lot of money) They said they were not set up to accept stock but they would check into it and get back to me. Days past and I did not hear from them. I emailed again and they said they would get back to me. This repeated for about five weeks when they said " problem solved we will get back to you"
Once again no response. (They claimed they had tried to contact me. Not true) I waited a few days more. Then, in frustration, I wrote saying the business end of the operation appeared to be operated by incompetents and non professionals. During this entire time Tia never entered the picture. After my last letter, she wrote a nasty letter accussing me of being a unthinking, nasty, person. Her final shot was to call me an ass. Until this experience I would not,have believed the negatives in other reviews. Today I would question the validity of the entire Villalobos operation. My suggestion: don't donate.
I was going to adopt a senior dog from Villalobos Rescue Center, by the name of Joan Rivers. My understand was that I would adopt her and they would pay medical expenses. Although there was mention of transportation costs on their adoption page, I was under the impression that I would not be required to provide said costs because she was a senior dog and I would be providing her with a home for her final days. Initially I was told on the phone that I would be getting her sometime around the end of July (2 weeks). I called one more time and emailed about 3 times asking for progress on her transportation. I even offered to donate as much as I could to defray costs but only if the money could be earmarked for her transportation. The response I received back was that the donation could not be earmarked and they were not coming up with the money. In essence, I am supposed to donate money to transport a dog I wanted to adopt but there was no guarantee that the monies would be used that reason. I was told in an email that getting her out to me suddenly was going to be over $600 but there was still no guarantee the money would get earmarked for her transportation. I felt like this had turned into a hostage situation where I would get the dog only after giving up $600 now and who knows how much in the future for 'transportation costs'. Once they had deemed that I had given them enough would I still not have the dog? I started to question the motivation behind this so-called adoption and my previous donation for a memorial for my dog, Sister. It was obvious the dog was not coming. I requested return of my memorial donation and gave up the idea that I would ever getting this dog. Well, today I got a nasty gram from Tia Torres herself telling me it would cost $1,500 to transport this dog! Tia also threatened me with criminal charges and civil litigation. She is claiming that the publication of my protestations is illegal and further postings on my part will be followed by communication from their attorney. Since she lives in one state and I another my criminal violation would have to be federal and while I am no expert on federal statutes, I doubt if there is precedent for criminal charges. Civil litigation would entail her probably retaining a lawyer in her state and mine. I find it interesting and curious that she has enough money to sue someone on disability but not enough to transport a dog weighing under 20 lbs. This is beyond ridiculous to be treated this way and I want others to know about it so they don't get victimized too. Therefore, I am making extra effort to publish my experience in more venues than I previously planned because I really feel this is gone beyond the pale.
Review from Guidestar
I have recently had reason to interact with this organization. I had become a fan through watching their series, "Pitbulls and Parolees" so after watching for awhile I ordered some merchandise; specifically some sunglasses. Although there was a slight glitch in getting them, I did get them and all was made right about the mix up. I have my sunglasses now which I enjoy wearing when I take my dog outside. They fit very well and block out our high altitude sun quite nicely.
I am now on good terms with this organization. So much so that recently when they had an influx of puppies and had other unforeseen circumstances a plea for help went out to the general public. I answered this call by purchasing and having shipped to their facility in New Orleans, LA a few items on their wish list.
Although I traced the shipments step-by-step from my end, it turned out that it was unnecessary because Becky contacted me via email the moment the articles arrived.
So I thank you, Becky, for the updates.
Mariah, a big thanks to you for making things right about my sunglasses.
Tia keep up the good work.
Greetings to all.
How can you rely on donations but not share with your donors how much you are getting and where it goes? Very shady.
They refuse to provide any financial information since 2008. A BIG red flag. Even that info was NOT enough to determine if it is a well rated charity (spending >65% of revenue on program activities and not staff housing, travel, etc)...a HUGE RED FLAG.
Nice that there's a caring show for the cameras but if there was nothing to hide, why not disclose your financials like all responsible charities do? Refuse to supply financial information and you stay off the "worst charity' lists.
On camera there are lots of comments and pics of staff housing that appears to be provided by Villalobos donation money. Look up property ownership by Villalobos and you find houses that were purchased for staff before they did renovations and roofing to the building housing the dogs. WHOPPING BIG RED FLAG.
Follow the timeline of "explanations" of the staff housing from "to provide retirement homes for older dogs" to "we are animal control in rural areas and need sites to serve those places." Funny they have NO kennel licenses other than Villalobos itself, no posted hours of operation for these supposedly necessary sites and their addresses are not posted. How can you be "animal control" if you hide your locations? Why would you need to purchase homes to house supposedly non-adoptable dogs (and all your family) when you have a large facility in New Mexico specifically for long term housing of dogs???
One of the homes for Tia's kids is waterfront on the bayou. They showed 2 dogs at the home provided for her sons and surprise!... neither of those dogs were up for adoption. Other reality tv stars provide their own housing, utilities, etc.
You can't do anything there without signing a complete confidentiality agreement, yet Villalobos staff are free to publicly comment on anything they please. why legally silence everyone with whom you have contact if there's nothing to hide?
They talk about massive increases in their expenses in NOLA but provide no verifiable explanation. By their own minimal and very rare reports their adoptions haven't increased much, which means your animal intake can't increase much. Yes they now have to pay for heartworm preventative like most animal shelters do but that doesn't cost that much when purchased in bulk. They also get large donations of food and medication directly to the shelter and don't have to purchase all of their supplies.
So where is the big increase in expenses? Buying numerous properties to house family and long time staff is very expensive.
Donors beware!!!!!! Villalobos is a huge front for criminal activity, misuse and abuse of donation dollars and merchanise. The fact that they have not posted tax returns for years with guide star should tell you something,. It's a fact that they don't pay income tax when paying their "employees" and only pay in cash or screw them by not paying them at all ,should get the IRS involved. I've witnessed donations being stolen by volunteers and used for personal use by villalobos employees. I've witnessed a desperate plea for food although their storage units were full and food was being given out to volunteers and employees for their own dogs.... There are numerous RV trips across the county that they justify by bringing a few dogs on board to give away to other rescues even though their are qualified applicants waiting for them. Tia often uses these trips to visit her aryan brotherhood husband in a norther California prisonwhile instead if doing dog rescue business...interstate fraud is rampant. The storage and warehousing of hundreds of dogs in un air conditioned warehouses through out Louisiana has been photographed And videotaped by volunteers and concerned employees who are concerned for the dogs welfare. We stood mortified as Vans of dogs we're being loaded up and taken to be killed although they claim to be a no kill shelter...they have and will attack anyone who is onto their scheme...I have witnessed and experienced burglaries, trespassings, gun toting felons, aryan brotherhood tagging a and just plain fearful dogs and employees who are intimidated into keeping things quiet or "pay a life altering price" according to Tia Torres for any bad publicity Into their shady enterprise. Do not support this organization in any way. Many of us speak from experience.
After reading about their situation on Facebook I ordered about $125 value of items on their "wishlist" with a commercial website. I had difficulty contacting the organization to let them know some of their list with stores needed updating and also requesting an acknowledgment for tax purposes.
I used the web "email" available on the web site but only received a "forwarding" message several days later. My order has not been acknowledged even though the pet company said it was sent to them directly.
I am also concerned about the lack of financial records provided to Guidestar and that the founder and three other females are the "board". I am sure they all work very hard but according to their web page they also are operating a restaurant/bar and small hotel.
All things considered, there is room for questioning the accountability of monies, services and donations received by this agency especially with the TV program revenues. I won't donate again until I feel more confident.
Review from Guidestar
My daughters and I visited Villalobos in NOLA to drop off some donations. We were greeted immediately, signed in and given a tour by both volunteers and staff. Everyone was incredible friendly and open. I was amazed and impressed with the cleanliness and organization of the kennels and facility. In the middle of summer with 100= dogs there was not one dirty kennel or dog and not a SINGLE dog smell. Each dog area was immaculate.
PLEASE consider making a donation!!!
I've been involved as a volunteer for over five years and feel I know this group and their achievements very well. Their mission is pit bulls, a breed that is in the greatest need of human compassion and rescue. No breed is treated worse and has less voices speaking up about it, and thank dog for Villalobos Rescue and other groups who do not give up even when they can't save them all, they save the ones they can. VRC is not just about taking dogs in, they have a comprehensive adoption program, screen adopters carefully and match them with dogs that fit their lifestyle. Adopted dogs are given support and resources for their lifetime, if the adopters can't keep them then VRC always takes the dogs back.
VRC is also about changing the stars for the people who care for these dogs, another "disposable" group in society, the parolees. These guys are able to get their second chance at VRC and work with the dogs where they are judged only on their work, not the color of their skin or the number of tattooes they might have. The parolees learn compassion and love as they build strong relationships with the dogs and each other, it's just sad there are not more programs available because the need is huge.
I don't volunteer my time without knowing it is making a difference and Villalobos Rescue Center makes a difference, every single day, and even when they can't save every dog it certainly matters to the dogs that do enter their doors.
This nonprofit is a wonderful group of dedicated people who go beyond the call of duty to help dogs and sometimes even cats. They live and breathe for these animals. The breed they choose to help is a breed that is terribly misunderstood. They also help rehabilitate parolees which is also a group of people who are terribly misunderstood.
This group has always had an "A" on their kennel inspections. They have had a valid kennel license in Los Angeles County for 17 YEARS.
The are the gold standard when it comes to helping animals and the care they provide.
In California, they are one of ONLY two groups who rehabilitate people who have been in prison. There may be new groups who help, but to my knowledge, they are few and far between. This is despite getting NO government funding to run their programs.