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Zach Randolph to appear on Pit Bulls & Parolees on Sat, Jan 12

Randolph financed pit bull rescue and adoption of “Little Z-Bo”

Courtesy of Animal Planet

MEMPHIS, January 9, 2013 – The Memphis Grizzlies and Animal Planet announced today that Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph will appear on an episode of Animal Planet’s “Pit Bulls and Parolees”, and it will debut on Saturday, Jan. 12 at 9 p.m. (CT). Fans will get the chance to see the story of “Little Z-Bo”, a pit bull who had been trapped in a drainpipe along Memphis’ Green Line for several days, and his journey to find a home thanks to Randolph and Villalobos Rescue Center (VRC) Founder and series star Tia Torres and Memphis Grizzlies’ Zach Randolph.

Back in mid-July, Randolph answered a local cry for help by financing this pit bull rescue and adoption after the dog was located by a few local good samaritans trapped in a drainage pipe near Waring and the Green Line path, not far from Sam Cooper Boulevard. Animal welfare advocates say the dog had been in the pipe for approximately two days completely surrounded by dirt and debris and would not have survived many more hours of entrapment.

When Randolph learned of this story, he knew that he had to answer the call to help, and knew just the steps he needed to take. Randolph, a lifelong advocate of the pit bull breed, and a huge fan of the show “Pit Bulls and Parolees” on Animal Planet, decided to finance the entire rescue, rehabilitation and adoption process of this dog, while also making a significant donation of $10,000 to VRC in New Orleans, the location of Animal Planet’s current fourth season of “Pit Bulls and Parolees”. With the on-going pit bull problem plaguing Memphis, he thought Torres, the star of the hit show, and Villalobos Rescue Center, the largest pit bull rescue facility in the country, would provide the best opportunity to give this dog a second chance.

Since then, Randolph’s donations have gone to the care and feeding of “Little Z-Bo” while he's in Tia's care. In the months, the dog now walks on a leash going for several walks a day, is able to trust humans again and is nothing short of a miracle continuing to get better each day with time.

“When a professional athlete wants to get involved and make a positive influence for the pit bull breed, it’s not something I will turn away,” said Torres. “It was one thing for Zach to jump in and want to help this little dog but then for him to step up and give us a donation was just an extra added plus. This is exactly the kind of athlete that kids should look up to as a hero and because of that we decided to name this little dog Z-Bo." 

Randolph explained he couldn’t sit on the sidelines when he heard about the dog in distress on the local news coverage.

“Everybody looks at pit bulls as bad things, but people don’t understand it’s a good dog and it’s like any other dog,” said Randolph. “It depends on how you treat them and raise them. I saw this dog who needed help and so I stepped up with Tia to help him. It was a very rewarding experience. He’ll have another life and have a chance to be with a family some day.”

Villalobos Rescue Center’s mission is to give pit bulls another chance in life. On any given day, VRC cares for between 150 and 200 pit bulls at their 50,000 square foot facility. The costs associated with running an operation of this magnitude are overwhelming, with monthly operating expenses recently increasing to $15,000, and the vet bills coming in at an average of $5,000. Each and every dog taken in gets spayed or neutered and is given any medical treatment necessary. They work patiently to familiarize fearful dogs with the loving care of a human, so that they may eventually be adopted. In some cases, these dogs have never had a kind word or touch, and it is a slow process. Now located at the base of the infamous Claiborne Bridge in the heart of New Orleans, Villalobos' continuing mission is to rehabilitate the world's most troubled breed.

The premise behind the show came about in 2006, when Tia, with the help of her family, built a program called The Underdawgz, which serves as an entity within the Villalobos Rescue Center. The Underdawgz pairs parolees and pit bulls — both men and dogs nobody else wants. The parolees feed the dogs, clean the kennels and learn how to train the pit bulls in preparation for adoption.

Torres will be on-hand in Memphis for a special pregame presentation with Randolph on Jan. 11 prior to tip-off against the San Antonio Spurs to celebrate the show’s debut on Jan. 12.

Watch a highlight from the show