By Brian Fischler
What hasn’t Lisa Guerrero been involved with? She started out as a cheerleader for the then Los Angeles Rams, was an actress in Aaron Spelling’s Sunset Beach, a Fox Sports reporter, co-host of Fox’s Best Damn Sports Show Period, and now is currently the chief investigative correspondent for Inside Edition, where she has been nominated for and won several awards for the stories she has covered.
Lisa comes from a family that has always had a love affair with dogs. Her dad was always rescuing dogs. He brought home Irish Setters, boxers, and even poodles, making the Guerrero house a fun one to grow up in.
“I remember my dad building a dog run when I was a kid in San Diego, California. He didn’t want the dogs to get out into the neighborhood,” fondly recalls Guerrero, “I remember this Irish Setter we had named Mickey. He was so big, like a horse. He was so patient with me and would carry me around. Mickey had the patience of a saint.”
Along with the dogs they rescued, the Guerrero family also had cats and a bird named Tweety.
“It was a fun home to grow up in, but sometimes the animals’ escapades would get pretty out of hand. One day when we returned home from church, we opened the door and a bunch of yellow feathers were flying everywhere like a cartoon. My mom hurried me into my bedroom, as Tweety must have gotten out of his cage.
“I was running all around looking for Tweety and Mickey was barking like crazy, the cats were meowing, and our cat Snowball was in hiding. Mickey was trying to tattle on Snowball, as Mickey had found Tweety underneath the couch. My dad could never figure out how Snowball got Tweety, as the cage was closed. We never figured it out.”
Guerrero currently has two rescue dogs, Cupcake and Twinkie. “Yes, my husband has a bit of a sweet tooth,” laughs Guerrero.
Lisa is married to former major league pitcher Scott Erickson, who is now a coach with the Cleveland Indians minor league system. Cupcake was going to be put down when Lisa rescued him.
“Cupcake is no bigger than a cupcake. He is a very tiny Yorkie, hyperglycemic, and was being beaten up by the other dogs when we rescued him,” says Guerrero, “Twinkie is a Maltese, and reminded my husband of a twinkie with a creamy filling.”
“My husband never had a small dog. The day I rescued Cupcake, I hadn’t told my husband. We were at spring training, and my husband got home and said, “What the [expletive]! Scott didn’t like small dogs. He grew up with German shepherds,” says Guerrero.
“I told Scott they were going to put Cupcake down, and let’s just keep him overnight, maybe I can find someone to take him tomorrow. That night Scott and I watched a movie. Cupcake was sitting there, and Scott wouldn’t even touch him. All of a sudden, Cupcake had a seizure, and there was Scott jumping off the couch, running to the kitchen, he grabbed some grape jelly, stuck his fingers into it, and then into Cupcake’s mouth. We then took the dog to a 24 hour vet, and as we’re standing there, the vet told us Scott saved the dog’s life. Cupcake became Scott’s dog. Cupcake even now has a little jersey of Scott’s team.”
So how did Twinkie come to join your household? “We we’re told dogs are pack animals, and it would be great for Cupcake to have a friend. We did some research and discovered that Yorkies and Malteses are very compatible. We now have two small male dogs who are like brothers. I couldn’t imagine just having one dog now,” states Guerrero.
Lisa spent 311 days on the road last year, and Scott travels constantly with the Indians. “The great thing about having small dogs is they can travel on planes with us. Scott does travel by bus a lot with the Indians, so the dogs will travel with him most of the time. The dogs have become the teams mascots. They won’t go with Scott to the ballpark every day, but when they do, they get to go and hang out in the bullpen, and run around the field. In between assignments I will meet Scott and the dogs where they are on the road,” says Guerrero.
As the chief investigative correspondent for Inside Edition, Lisa has covered a wide range of topics. Just last year she was nominated for a Humane Society Genesis Award for her story about an illegal cockfighting ring in Mobile, Alabama.
“The story exposed the ring. Not only do these birds go through an excruciating death, but people were taking their little children to these cockfights as family entertainment,” explains Guerrero.
“I couldn’t believe that families were trying to use these cockfights as a way to bond. The children were even betting on the fights, and some were playing with the birds’ dead carcasses. With these fights being a family affair, they were being passed along from generation to generation. There were even concession stands as if you were at a regular sporting event,” says Guerrero in disbelief.
She and Inside Edition went undercover to expose the story, then they went back not undercover. “With the cameras fully exposed, 20 guys in trucks with gun racks chased us. It was one of the more scary assignments,” explains Guerrero.
“The whole story really blew me away. You had dads pointing out to their sons how to prepare the birds for the fights. These kids grow up thinking these cockfights are all right. It really is a cultural problem,” says Guerrero.
“People often complain about the media, but if it wasn’t for the media covering stories like this, people wouldn’t be aware of the cruelty towards animals. It was the same way with the Michael Vick story.”
“I feel the media has an obligation to speak for people who can’t. Often times children, the elderly, and of course animals, can’t speak up.” Lisa is currently working on a story about exotic kangaroo and lion meat. “It’s not illegal in certain states to eat these meats. People need to be aware of the animal abuse that is taking place in this country.”
With your position at Inside Edition have you been able to raise any awareness about the puppy mill problem or dog abuse?
“The amazing thing about doing a daily show with five million viewers is you get to raise awareness about issues people weren’t aware existed. We did a ride-along that was arranged through the Humane Society to these incredible houses where puppies were being hoarded. We saw vans with tons of animals in them. Unfortunately there are people out there who are mentally unstable and they think they are taking care of these dogs,” says Guerrero.
With such a busy schedule at Inside Edition are you able to be involved with any personal causes?
“I’ve attended several animal causes and been supportive of friends’ causes. My charity that I do a lot of work with is the Salvation Army. I host a golf tournament and also a salsa competition for the Salvation Army,” adds Guerrero.
You have been a sports journalist, an actress, host, and an investigative journalist. Would you ever consider hosting a dog competition?
“Absolutely. I love dogs, and would love to host a dog show. I’m enthusiastic about being involved with anything that has to do with animals.”
In a dog show, what would you look for in the winner?
“Personality. There’s a lot of personality in animals. Just like with people, I like a little feisty in them, and a funny person. Dogs have great senses of humor.”
You are a very busy investigative journalist. What’s the toughest part about spending time away from your dogs?
“I get so sad if I am on the road for a week that I’ll cry. I miss them so much that I am constantly asking Scott to take pictures and video of them. I missed their summer shave but Scott texted it to me. I’m always showing strangers pictures of my dogs, they must think I’m bananas.”
With Inside Edition looking to raise awareness about animal abuses is there a good way for someone to get in touch with you?
“We count on people to alert us of abuses that we can bring national attention to. You can always reach us through the (contact link on the) Inside Edition website, contact me on Twitter or Facebook, and through my website.”