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Grizzlies Zach Randolph dishes out assist to Memphis-area pit bull rescue

Story to appear on Animal Planet; Rescued dog to transfer to Villalobos Rescue Center to be adopted

Grizzlies TV

MEMPHIS, July 31, 2012 – Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph will answer a local cry for help and assist a pit bull rescue and adoption after a pit bull was located trapped in a drainage pipe near Waring and the Green Line path, not far from Sam Cooper Boulevard, back in mid-July. A local woman and her daughter called police when they heard the male dog’s cry for help 15 feet down the pipe and a full rescue operation ensued. 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. Memphis Public Works employees used a backhoe to remove the dirt and broke the pipe and then workers reached in to get the dog, which has been at a local veterinary clinic receiving treatment since.

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 & Parolees” on Animal Planet, decided to combine his two passions to help this troubled dog. Additionally, he understands that the long-term care for a rescued dog of this nature can be costly, so Randolph will also finance the entire rescue, rehabilitation and adoption process of this dog, while also making a significant donation to Villalobos Rescue Center (VRC), the location of Animal Planet’s show that is now in its fourth season. After hearing about the story of the Green Line dog, Zach reached out to the Memphis Animal Services to check on the status and availability of the dog and also to Villalobos for their assistance. With the on-going pit bull problem plaguing Memphis, he thought Tia Torres, the founder of VRC and star of the hit show, and Villlalobos, the largest pit bull rescue facility in the country, would provide the best opportunity to give this dog a second chance. Zach's donation will go to the care and feeding of the dog while he's in Tia's care.

Watch: Zach talks about his love for pit bulls and the rescue effort.

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.