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Suicide on Polk County highway

STOCK PHOTO One man is dead following a suicide on one of Polk County’s busiest roadways. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office received an emergency call last week from an elderly male, 93, stating he was on a golf cart on Highway 146 South with a firearm. The…

K9 assists in missing person search

TDCJ Sgt. Lonnie Baxter and officer Heath Fuller with “Toe.” PHOTO COURTESY OF TCSO From Staff Reports Last week, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, one of the Gib Lewis Unit canine officers, “Toe,” helped locate a missing woman. When the Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford requested assistance in locating a 64-year-old…
TDCJ Sgt. Lonnie Baxter and officer Heath Fuller with “Toe.” PHOTO COURTESY OF TCSO

Groveton splits on the court

Lady Indian Emma Alexander looks for a shot surrounded by Trinity players. Lady Tiger Mariah Lewis puts up a fast-break layout. Chanston Holland (No. 10) looks for room for the shot. Photos by Tony Farkas TCNS staff The Lady Indians traveled to the Wells Tournament this past weekend, losing two and winning one. On Thursday, Groveton played Bullard…
112323 trinity basketball

VFD battles house fire

Trinity VFD firefighters battle a blaze in the Lakewood Subdivision in the early morning hours of Nov. 14. Courtesy photos TCNS staff A home in the Lakewood Subdivision of Trinity was damaged after a fire broke out in the early morning hours of Nov. 14. Trinity Firefighters responded to the fire with four trucks and 14 firefighters, finding the…
112323 house fire

Livingston man arrested on murder charges

A Livingston man has been booked into the Jasper County Jail on a $1 million bond with the charge of murder. Jasper Police responded to a call at the Myrtis Village Apartments just off Highway 190 after 4 a.m. Saturday. Law enforcement found a woman dead, later identified as Rosalin Lewis, 24, of Jasper. Lewis was a cheerleading coach for youth…
112323 man arrested

Three injured in two crashes

A 2022 Dodge Ram pickup overturned after attempting to make a curve on FM 3188. Courtesy photo TCNS staff Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers are investigating a crash on Farm-to-Market Road 3188, near the 680-mile marker, that occurred Wednesday. Reports indicate that at approximately 8:40 p.m., a 2022 Dodge Ram pickup was traveling…
112323 crash 2

Lufkin District set to begin largest project yet

Special to the News-Times A pre-construction meeting was held last week at the Lufkin District Office, signaling the start of an 8-year construction project that will be the largest project to date for the district. Engineers, contractors, utility company representatives, consultants and other interested parties met to discuss the pending…
111223 road work

Warren’s Standley named to sports marketing team

Special to the Booster NACOGDOCHES – A team of three sports business students in Stephen F. Austin State University’s Rusche College of Business earned a spot in the final four of the Sport Marketing Association’s 2023 Case Study Competition in October at the SMA annual conference in Tampa Bay, Florida. Eli Standley of Warren, helped secure SFA a…
SportsMarketing STOCK

One convicted, another enters plea in Polk County District Court

From Enterprise Staff Two different juries handed down large sentences for Michael Bee Hodge who on May 11 was on a stolen motorcycle and failed to pull over, leading police on a chase through Livingston. When Hodge was cornered, he pulled a gun on an officer, compelling that officer to use deadly force. On Oct. 12, a jury convicted Hodge for…


Educators, law enforcementspeak to fentanyl problem By Chris Edwardsnews@tylercountybooster.com SPURGER — Last September, Brandy Melo received a call that no parent wants to receive. One of her sons called her to inform her that her 13-year-old son Kaysen Villarreal was dead. Villarreal was the victim of an unintentional fentanyl overdose. The…
Fentanyl STOCK

Wreck kills mother, three children

By Emily Banks Wooteneditor@polkenterprise.com The investigation continues into a head-on collision that occurred Thursday night killing a young mother and three of her children and resulting in life-threatening injuries for a fourth child. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, a 2011 Buick Lucerne driven by Shemikia Brown, 34 of…

FINAL UPDATE - Explosion at chemical plant wreaks havoc

PHOTO BY PAM NOBLES By Emily Banks Wooteneditor@polkenterprise.com An explosion attributed to a “forklift incident” at Sound Resource Solutions, an industrial chemical manufacturing plant located at 731 FM 1127 in Shepherd, wreaked havoc in East Texas Wednesday. A major highway was closed, a school district was evacuated and multiple other school…


Two people sustained non-incapacitating injuries following a two-vehicle collision that occurred at 8:50 a.m. Tuesday in the intersection of North Washington Avenue and West Feagin Street in Livingston. A 2017 Dodge Durango driven by Jessica Thompson, 30 of Livingston, was traveling southbound in the 800 block of North Washington. A 2019 Ford…
11 9 car accident

‘Brother 2 Brother’ to play Emporium Stage

“Wild” Bill Spurlock and Randy C. Moore By Chris Edwardsnews@tylercountybooster.com WOODVILLE – Magic is bound to happen when you get two well-travelled, musically adventurous singer-songwriter/musician types together in the same room in a small town, right? Randy C. Moore and “Wild” Bill Spurlock are proof of that hypothetical. The two musicians…
“Wild” Bill Spurlock and Randy C. Moore

Update on injured officer

By Chris Edwardsnews@tylercountybooster.com WOODVILLE – Less than a month after Woodville police officer Troy Costello returned home from the hospital, after being shot during an incident in September, he is reportedly making great progress. According to Woodville Chief of Police Mike McCulley, Costello continues to improve “day to day while at…
Update STOCK

PCSO searching for two burglary suspects

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public’s assistance after receiving a report of a motor vehicle burglary Wednesday in Moscow. The two suspects are black males seen in the attached photos. The two were last seen in the City of Livingston on foot. The male with dreadlocks was last seen wearing a camouflage hoodie, and the male with…


There has been a chemical plant explosion in Shepherd, TX on FM 1127. Responders have communicated that a plume is heading towards the Livingston area. Polk County Emergency Management recommends that residents along US Hwy 59 from Goodrich to Leggett shelter in place and turn off HVAC systems in homes and businesses immediately. At this time, the…
Chemical Thing

A Healing Forest for Wolfdogs and Women Parolees

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EastTexan Spring2021AMY HOLZWORTH | PCE

By Jeff Fatheree

I was raised with the thought that pets were family, so the idea that there are dogs that are abused and abandoned is foreign to me. Having watched “Pit Bulls and Parolees” I learned that many of the dog world are abandoned, abused, deserted, and otherwise treated as if they have no worth in our society. Parolees often must feel the same things as these animals when they attempt to return to society.

They experience what it is like to be judged by appearance and past rather than looking for the beauty within. Tia Torres and her family and crew are not the normal society people and they choose to give both animals and humans second chances. Villalobos Dog Rescue in New Orleans was an outcropping of this idea. Tia began in California rescuing wolves and wolfdogs in the area she grew up. She made a trip to Sri Lanka and learned what it meant to truly be a community of man. The blending of religions from all over and the love that the people there had for each other spoke to her and she spent a year studying the different religions. She was raised Catholic but came to appreciate the beliefs of all types of spirituality. Sri Lanka left her with a love for all things of creation but particularly the animals.

Tia told me that when she returned from Sri Lanka, she had a vision to minister to the outcast of society. The wolfdogs she started with do not belong to either the wolf world or the dog world. Captured somewhere in-between they often are put down rather than rehabilitated as neither rescue center wants to house them. When they moved to Louisiana, they found a large population of Pit Bulls, labeled as a vicious breed. Most of them end up being put down when they no longer have a home and family to care for them or they have begun to lose in dog fights. The parolees in Louisiana, much like the dog population, were outcasts and found themselves living on the edge of society. Tia saw the beauty of both beneath the surface and the Villalobos (Village of Wolves) was born.

Having done animal rescue in Louisiana during Katrina, Tia and crew went back to California. Louisiana continued to call to them and in 2011 they spent a year transitioning to “The Big Easy” and working with the parole system to give the dogs of New Orleans and the men re-entering society a chance to work together to change both man and beast. Taking care of and learning to be responsible for something other than oneself is a giant step in returning to society. The animals rescued from the streets of New Orleans, like the men, had trust issues and had spent time relying on and worrying only about themselves to survive. This mix has helped heal man and beast and resulted in adoptions all over the country of the animals from Villalobos. Tia, her family, volunteers, parolees, and crew have truly formed a “pack” with the dogs of Louisiana.

In 2017 they expanded the operation to include a rural property in Assumption Parish. They work with the animal shelters in some of the smaller areas to help with resources and taking in animals that are unable to be cared for locally. They have some hounds and other pups that flourish better in the rural environment there and it also acts somewhat as a retreat and healing area for the staff. They live “down the road” from another Louisiana legend, Troy Landry of “Swamp People” fame. Troy has spent his life making a living off the swamp. Being the person Tia is, when she received a call for help from Henderson County Texas, she was on the way. Some wolfdogs had been abandoned when their owner took his own life, and the Sheriff needed assistance to capture them or he would have to put them down. She planned to be there two days capturing and getting housing for 40 wolfdogs.

1 EastTexan Spring2021AMY HOLZWORTH | PCE

A lady in Athens had purchased the property several years prior, but the previous owner never moved so she could take ownership. Finding that only fourteen of the animals would cooperate, she said before her brain could stop her, her mouth asked well what if we just buy the place? The lady said certainly she would sell as she loved the idea of the animals remaining in the location they had called home. Sheriff Botie Hillhouse said, “Tia, you just bought the ugliest piece on the block.” Tia told me she saw it as an almost enchanted healing forest and envisioned what the future might hold. She has gathered volunteers and family to begin cleaning the property and has a caretaker that stayed through the Winter Storm of 2021 to make sure the wolfdogs had food and water.

They have also begun working with the animals to reacquaint them with human contact and the changes in the animals’ demeanor have been nothing short of miraculous. The long-term goal and plans are to build cabins on the property for female parolees and their children, if they have them, to live and work with the animals. Wolfdogs react better to females than males as pack animals often do. She would also like to have additional cabins available for religious teachers to stay in and teach the parolees and minister to their needs.

They intend to teach life skills as well as concern for something other than themselves to the parolees. They can certainly use volunteer help, as well as donations to allow for feeding and housing, and Tia is always grateful to have assistance. Her target date for completion and grand opening of Villalobos Dog Rescue Texas, is June of 2021. Check their Facebook page for updates and ways to volunteer at Villalobos Rescue Center - TEXAS. We plan on being there to let you know what is going on. We will likely be revealing a new name for the Texas location that will still include VRC in the title but reflect the healing nature of the forest.

If you would like to join in and help, contact the Louisiana location. Email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you wish to donate send a check to Villalobos Rescue Center P.O. Box 771127 New Orleans, LA. 70177 or go to their website at https://www.vrcpitbull.com/how-you-can-help/donations/ and send via PayPal. You do not need to make a reservation to come help but let them know you are on the way via email to the Athens or New Orleans center. You will love the reward of reaching out and giving a second chance to both pups and people.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Thalia parker · 2 years ago
    I have a lovable 3 year old male bulldog. He is sweet, loving and obedient with me. He is aggressive and dangerous towards other people when I’m not around. Is there anyway you can take him? I can no longer care for him.