Tia Torres has requested that Kern County Planning Commission hold a hearing to apply for a Conditional Use Permit for an animal shelter in Old West Ranch that will house a maximum of 100 dogs.
There are several things the residents of Tehachapi ought to know before they attend the public hearing on Thursday March 10, 2011 at 7 p.m.
First, I urge the county planning commission to require IDs showing county residency for admission to the hearing.
Second, Torres should be asked how many animals are in her possession and will really be residing at the property. Third, they should consider how safe these dogs are.
1. Right now, on her website she lists 113 pit bulls as ready for adoption.
Included in these dogs is BUCKY, a pit bull and mastiff mix, who was found by deer hunters when BUCKY attacked the deer they were tracking.
MONIQUE, according to Tia's description,"and her buddy MAGNUM did get themselves into trouble and were taken away from their owners." The "trouble" rose to a level requiring court intervention which means they likely menaced or attacked a person or possibly killed someone's pet or livestock.
Her buddy, MAGNUM was recently adopted and is described this way:
"...MAGNUM will absolutely and positively need a pit bull experienced owner. You see he and his gal pal, MONIQUE got loose from their original owner and did what two loose pit bulls do...they got themselves into a little trouble."
2. Tia Torres also has six more pit bulls that will be adopted after some rehabilitation. The dogs in this category are unstable, aggressive, or both. SOLO came to Villalobos by court order in 2003 and was to stay at the Villalobos for the rest of his life. Evidently, after eight years at Villalobos, he is now almost ready for adoption.
SHERIFF, a pit bull and rottweiler mix, has severe dog aggression. (If it were not severe, he'd be adoptable, because she adopts out other dogs with dog aggression.)
3. In addition to the dogs Tia Torres has for adoption and rehabilitation, she also acts as a sanctuary for other dogs that cannot be adopted because they are too unstable and dangerous. These dogs do not feature on her TV show or her website. One of these dogs is OTIS, a pit bull that was involved in an unprovoked mauling attack on a 17 year old boy.
The judge who ruled that she can keep OTIS, issued conditions for keeping the human aggressive pit bull: parolees may not interact with the dog. The dog may not be moved from the Agua Dulce sanctuary without a court order, and Tia must make monthly reports to the judge regarding OTIS.
4. In addition to pit bulls, she has other types of large, dangerous breeds of dogs, many of which are among her sanctuary dogs that cannot be adopted out.
You can see some of them here on a page entitled bad boys that she made to show the "welcoming committee" for uninvited guests.
5. As recently as February 2010, she also had 20 wolves, a grizzly bear, and two black bears at Villalobos.
Tia Torres is planning to establish a Fighting Dog Rehabilitation Center at her property.
Rehabilitating fighting dogs is not particularly effective as evidenced by the track record of Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, UT, another animal sanctuary. They have a very low adoption rate and a record of dogs escaping enclosure and killing other dogs.
Despite the poor outlook for "rehabilitated" fighting dogs, it is becoming more popular among pit bull rescues to adopt them.
Finally, Tia Torres has a history of bad judgment including attempting to fund her rescue with a brothel, and neglecting to notice her "adopted" children/volunteers were doing drugs on her property which led to the arrest of one of her "adopted" sons and her ex-con husband, Aren Marcus Jackson.
I hope the town turns out and asks the right questions at the hearing and votes for what is best for Tehachapi.