Tia Maria Torres was born in 1960. She was raised in Southern California by her stepmother. Torres was an animal lover from a young age. When she left home at the age of 17, she had two horses, a goat and a cougar in addition to several cats and dogs.
Torres became involved with pit bulls while visiting an animal shelter in the Los Angeles area. In 1995, she opened the Villalobos Rescue Center for pit bulls who had behavioral problems. Torres typically has over 400 animals at any point in time. She also employs former inmates on parole to staff the rescue center.
To pay the bills, Torres accepted an offer from Animal Planet in 2009 to have a reality television show that covered the shelter's work. The show first aired in October 2009.