Villalobos Rescue Center (VRC) is a private, non-profit 501 (C) 3 organization. We are not funded by the state, city, parish or any other entity as far as donations go. We are not “mandated” to be open to the public but rather have chosen to offer this opportunity to our fans, supporters, donors, neighbors, etc. In the past, we have had some serious problems with visitors coming into and around our facility located in the Upper 9th Ward area of New Orleans. These problems range anywhere from well-meaning and overly zealous fans who do not understand boundaries (running up on Tia Torres’ and tackling her to the ground to give her a “hug”…while walking a dog) to flat out safety concerns (stalkers that we have actually had arrested and in once case an angry woman who tried to run Tia Torres over). Because of these incidents and so many others, for the past year, we had to shut down the public tours for the safety of Tia Torres, her family, the workers, and the dogs.
Sadly we began to notice a decline in donations and also how much the dogs missed the visitors. So after putting our heads together, we have tightened up security, made the rules stricter and changed some things around thus allowing us once AGAIN to try and make the tours work for not only you but for us and the dogs as well. So please read the following VERY CAREFULLY to make sure you CLEARLY understand the rules and guidelines.
- Tours are Thursday thru Saturday ONLY. We cannot move days around due to a lack of manpower. Closed in the event of heavy rain as part of the tour is outdoors & we bring the dogs inside during bad rainstorms.
- Address and Hours for tours – 4525 N. Claiborne Avenue, New Orleans LA 70117. Hours: Noon to 3 pm and each tour lasts about 20-30 minutes. You MUST arrive by 2:45 pm to make the last tour at 3 pm.
- No reservations are needed. Just show up.
- Admission: FREE!!! But donations are always welcome and needed.
- No personal dogs are allowed. We would hope the reasons are obvious but we will list them regardless. For one, the amount of stress to not only your dog but ours as well, to have a strange dog walking up and down the aisle is immeasurable. Having our kennel dogs re-direct on each other and getting into physical fights because a dog is walking down the aisle is just not something that we think is fair to ANY dog. You must also remember…this is a shelter where stray dogs are brought in to. To take a chance and have your dog potentially catch any one of many canine diseases that sometimes “come with the territory” is not something that we feel is fair to your dog. We hope that this explains why we are strict on this rule and that as a fellow dog lover, you’ll feel the same way.
- Picture taking – PLEASE READ THIS VERY VERY VERY CAREFULLY. This has been the biggest problem for the tours. You are allowed to take photos of the dogs and facility. Tia has asked that you DO NOT take photos of her children and cast/staff simply for the fact…if they are at the facility…THEY ARE WORKING. It is very disruptive to be handling a dog, talking to fellow workers and have people stick cell phones/cameras in your face…not to mention disrespectful. You may take pictures from a distance but DO NOT RUN UP ON ANYONE!!! Security will be on hand to monitor this. Although this is your “place of fun” it is our “place of business.”
In closing, we do want you to enjoy your time with us and get an up close and personal look at what we do 24/7, 365 days/nights a year. To invite the public into “our home” and also to be able to view where the TV is actually filmed…this is not something we have to allow but rather welcome you as a guest. Just remember, if you are visiting us for anything other than to support the mission behind saving dogs…we probably don’t want you walking through our gates. Just keepin’ it real people.