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
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.
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!!!