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17 October 2007


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This Iggy situation is going to bring attention to the whole idea of rescue - unfortunately NOT in a good way. Similarly, it will bring attention to the takeback clause used by many rescues and breeders - but again, in the worst possible light.

We don't know if the hairdresser's family would have passed a home check since the Mutts and Moms lady apparently decided she wasn't even going to do one. So instead of seeing takeback clauses as a wonderful safety net for dogs - ensuring they will never want for a home when life circumstances change - instead, takeback clauses are being represented to the general public as draconian power plays by desperate rescuers with control issues.

Sad, sad, sad.

Christie Keith

I just updated with a link to a new AP story in which the rescue says they won't give the dog back to the family because they don't adopt to families with kids under 14.


Those girls are 11 and 12 and have another dog, for heaven's sake.

Meanwhile, tick tick tick at :(


I hate the kind of publicity this is getting. This is really, really going to do some damage to ALL rescue in the public's perception.

Maybe these women will come to see some reason after they've had a day or so to cool down. One can only hope . . . . . . . .


On the DeGeneres story:

This rescue group is, as the old saying goes, "cutting off their nose to spite their face!"

If Iggy had a good home (which is the ultimate goal of placing an animal, right?), then why in the heck take him out of it???

Sounds to me like a group trying to flex it's muscles by saying, "If you don't play by our rules, you don't play." They don't really care about the dog, or they would investigate his situation with this family, no matter what that contract said, and if it is good for him...would let him stay.

Rules should always be subject to extenuating circumstances. Trees that don't bend with the wind, tend to break.

Jenny Bark

You might want to take a look at Ellen's web site (, 8,300 comments so far. Just about every one in favor of Ellen. A lot of sad stories about people trying to get a pet & turned down & some giving the pet back because they where always called and telling them what to feed & etc.. This is really sad, it makes me feel like crying. This story is touching a lot of people.


i have a HUGE problem with the no small dogs in homes with kids under 14 rule. yes, we had a beagle growing up. and that was the 'largest' pet that was ever owned by my family until about 25yrs later when my mom got her current beagle. we had doxies, cats and critters. all "small", imo. there was no danger to them, ever. at one of the shelters i volunteer with, we have parents that bring their children on the weekends to walk and socialize with the pets. i was in the park one time training my dog when i heard a polite young voice ask if she could meet my dog. it was one of the regular kids from the shelter. i let her do a bit of training with dot and it was so cute. she had my body language down pat! lol!~ she was around 9yrs old. seems to me, this is the type of thing we should be promoting. not squashing with rules.

i understand the "take back" clause in contracts and i do have them in mine. but it is there so unknown future circumstances don't land the pet homeless again. not so i can micro manage the situation. i like to think the homes i find are solid for both the pet and adopter and it's a great match. sure, ellen should have contacted the rescue, etc, but it's not like she handed the dog off to a stranger and never heard from them again. she see's the woman everyday! and they were all happy!go figure.

i did a bit of digging and found an archive of the rescue's site from april 07.

"We are committed to the well being of every single dog we rescue. We are financially responsible for that dog for as long as it takes to find their "forever" home. That can sometimes take as long as one to two years. We pay boarding for nearly all of our dogs (very few are in foster homes), at a minimum cost of about $300 per dog per month."

hmmm . . .


How pitiful that the spitefulness of one woman is keeping Iggy from a home.

One wonders if the actions on the part of Mutts and Moms borders on harrassment or stalking. Apparently Ellen isn't the first to have such a problem with these people. The Los Angeles dinnertime news interviewed one who also purchased a dog from this group. The woman was walking her newly adopted pet, sans leash [ok, that isn't good] and who drove by. but one of the owners of this organization. She gets out of the car and takes the dog and drives off. This is stalking, isn't it???

Just out of curiosity, these women run the rescue out of their store. Supposedly they have a non-profit status. One wonders about the other business under the same does this fit in? Am I being too cynical to think that the non-profit status is benefitting their other endeavors from a, IRS tax position?

I smell a rat. Maybe because I want to.


lynn, i think the store may donate space to rescues. but if not, you can do both. we have a shelter here that runs an adjacent pet supply business to help fund the shelter. a couple of my 'kids' are from there :)


What a passive-aggressive whine fest! Makes me feel like crying, too --- for the ordinary mortals who have to deal with these displays of celebrity entitlement.

I must try buying beer for underage kids sometime and see how that "But they're _almost_ old enough!" routine plays with the cops.

Rules are rules, and if you can't live with them --- don't sign the damn contract.

You know what would have been incredibly cool? If the girls' parents had said to their daughters, "The boss made some promises when she signed that contract, and she broke those promises. Now she's saying bad things about the rescue, and she'd love for you to cry and pout on camera, but we're not going to play that game. 'Iggy' is in good hands, and he'll have a great home wherever he winds up, and the four of us are going to the local pound RIGHT NOW to rescue TWO most excellent dogs from certain death, one for each one of you."

Meanwhile, the folks who run the rescue are on the receiving end of death threats and threats of arson. And the Cult of Celebrity rolls on...


I had also thought about the family (hairdresser) rescuing and adopting another dog (two would be great) since they seem to be willing and able to give another dogger a good home. Reminds me of two year olds stomping their feet and refusing to play out of pure stubbornness (Ellen and rescue). Cannot believe that these animals are better off being boarded . . .

I, too, worry about the impact on rescue organizations because of the press this is getting.


This goes back to Gina's thread from the other day on "Pet Placements: Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged" and the whole issue of realistic expectations for pet placement. (Remember the ones who won't place if you have an all day job, or who require fenced yards even for Toy breeds, and so on?)

At the heart of it, I agree that Degeneres should have read her contract and is in error on that point.

But NO KIDS UNDER FOURTEEN as a requirement? And again we ask - what's more important - getting the dog into a home where he'll be well cared for, or enforcing a bunch of rules that have somehow lost connection with the real world?

As a side note - I was thinking about this situation this morning, and found myself remembering the contract a friend signed when he got his dog from a Responsible Breeder. Yes - there was a takeback clause. BUT - it included the idea that - in the event he couldn't keep the dog and felt he knew of a good home for her - that he could present that to the breeder and she would do the evaluation of that home with the objective of re-placing the dog successfully.

Again - it was less important that the breeder controlled every step of the process than it was to get - and keep - the dog in a good home.

Concha Castaneda

If that woman was so good a placing dogs in homes how did she overlook the fact there might be problems with Ellen's cats. Seems to me that a clause having to do with other pets in the home might be more beneficial than a cut off age towards aimed at teenagers. Ellen must not have read the contract. Or maybe Ellen thought her celebrity status and good intentions should override a legal contract.


I understand that rules are rules, but I'm always uncomfortable with the inflexability of some people and organizations. The sad things is that this rescue group could have turned this into a win-win-win situation but now has turned into a lose-lose-lose situation. Sure, evaluate the home, but if they meet the criteria (except for the age), then waive the requirement. This would mean that 1)the dog gets a good home, 2)the children are happy and 3)donations would pour in. Instead you have a dog with no home, heartbroken children and an organization which probably does some good work being villified.

And I have to tell you - the organization coming with the POLICE - talk about bad, bad tactics. Hey, I was told I shouldn't use clumping litter for my cats. Are the potty police patrol going to come to my house and take my cats away? It would be funny if it weren't so sad.

As Nathan Winograd says - the public can be your greatest ally. Perhaps he should have stressed the counterpoint - the public can be your biggest enemy if you behave like a prick.

And showing up at a private home with an armed cop is an invitation for bad publicity. So M&M, you'll have to reap what you sow. Unfortunately, that means your dogs will be kenneled for a lot longer.

Bernard J. (Bernie) Starzewski

I signed a similar agreement when I adopted Scout.

The intent of the rule is well meant. It attempts to avoid the "straw purchase" of dogs for maybe not the best of reasons.

But certainly the rule could be modified so that in the event that a dog (or cat) does not work out with one family it could be transferred to another with the proper oversite.

I cannot imagine the heartless bureaucrat who went to the house to take the dog away from those kids!

No adoptions for homes with kids? When I was a kid our dogs were each in their turn my best friends and protectors. Ceasar, a boxer terrier mix comes to mind. When I was 9 we lived in a semi-rural area and the neighbor had a nasty black lab that was not well treated and was very territorial named Tauser. He was usually chained and as I walked through a weedy field to visit my friends he would bark and leap at me as I went by.

One day Tauser broke his chane and attacked me biting me on my side and knocking me down. When I looked up there he was growling and looked like he was going to come at me again as he loomed over me. I screamed.

Just as he took another step a brown and white blur hit him like a torpedo and he dissapeared into the weeds where a terrible dog fight took place with them both screaming and snarling in a high pitch.

My partents and Tauser's owner came running and had to throw water on them to seperate them.

Ceasar, a much smaller dog had given as good as he got and Tauser never threatened me again. We could have had Tauser destroyed but my mom refused to do that even in that circumstance as long as it never happened again.

Where would I be without old Ceasar?

14 indeed!


I can understand not placing a puppy in a family with toddlers -- here in Southeastern PA, most rescues won't place puppies with children under 5 and I can understand that, but almost all of them will place adult dogs with families of any age -- and have a notation for dogs that they feel shouldn't be placed with kids under 5.

I think it's a horrible mistake not to place dogs (or cats) with families -- I can't think of a child (both when I was young and the kids I know today) who hasn't become a better, more emotionally secure and has more empathy because they had a dog, cat or both.

There's also the "kids who grow up with pets have better immune systems/less allergies/less asthma" if you want to bring in the health care benefits.

In Pittsburgh in the 60's, it was legal to let your dog run loose and most people did so. A neighbor's dog had puppies and although SusieQ was placed with another family, she always thought that she was my dog. She waited for me outside of the school building and walked home with me nearly every day, she waited for me outside the corner drugstore when I went inside and we walked everywhere together (since she wasn't my dog -- yes, this was without a leash). I was 9 years old and not very popular at school, but having a dog that adored me, always waiting for me wherever I went really helped me through that very difficult part of my life.

I can't imagine denying another child that opportunity for unconditional love. Figure out which dogs or cats can be placed with children and encourage those adoptions. No, it's not going to be every dog for every child, but ultimately, our society will be better for the effort.


I just noticed both Bernie and I had significant dogs in our lives at 9 years old. Must be something about the age -- look at how great the two of us turned out! ;-D There must be some type of child development thing going on then that is really helped with a dog.

Of course, having Panda (my first Persian) in my life at 6 years old was very important to my development also! :-)


I was in 4th grade when our family got a little mixed-breed spaniel who ultimately lived to the ripe old age of 18. That dog and I went EVERYWHERE together! I had those obnoxious saddle baskets on the back of my bike, and I taught her to ride there (this was back in the day when a child as young as I was then could safely go cruising around the neighborhood unattended). When I wasn't in school, that dog and I were together! I fed her, groomed her, bathed her, taught her tricks - you name it. She was my Best Friend in EVERY sense of the word!

Blanket adoption policies based on age alone are simply far too rigid.

Gina Spadafori

Wow ... I was also NINE YEARS OLD when I finally convinced my parents that I had to have both a dog and a cat. I'm allergic and the pediatrician said, "no way," but I was a determined little girl where animals are concerned and my parents were helpless before my drive to get pets!

My first cat (whom I name Calico, even though his was a male tabby ... go figure) I lured away from a neighbor lady and fed outside my second story window, sneaking him inside to sleep on the bed after my parents went to sleep.

My first dog was a poodle. I read that poodles would be OK for kids with allergies and so started circling ads in the paper, day after day after day. Finally, they got a poodle puppy for me.

Hmmmm ... now that I think back, I sure feel sorry for my parents.

And oh yeah, I wrote little stories about my dog and my cat. Like you couldn't see my career choice coming, huh?

Nancy C.

The whole situation makes me sick and I must say the heartless cretins that spout off about rules being rules and that this is just another case of a public figure thumbing their noses at laws make me even sicker. Excuse me, but we're not talking about drinking & driving or murder. We're talking about a rescue that flexes their tiny muscles and don't care who they hurt in the process.

In the middle of all this is a little dog that had a home where people loved and adored him. A little dog that is now being "boarded" somewhere just to make a point. I understand the need to have *guidelines* when adopting out a pet, but that's all they should be, GUIDELINES. They should be *reasonably* flexible. The rescue in question have stepped over the line of reason and into the territory of tyranny.

Now they've dug in their heels to make their point, refuse to even consider the family for the poor little guy and I think it's sickening. I'm sure they've done some wonderful work placing pets into homes, but I know I would *never* deal with them, donate a penny or speak in favor based on the evidence of their gestapo tactics with this case and those that are popping up since.

I hope their organization and the people running it rot in hell.


I find the whole situation unsettling. I really dislike the fact that Ellen went so public with the situation. Mob mentality and the harassing phone calls and emails that the rescue organization is receiving (not to mention threats of death and arson) is not okay. And really I saw that coming the second the pleas left her lips. The way that Ellen handled this has really caused me to re-evaluate my opinion of her. To me she doesn't truly seem to be taking responsibilty for her actions, she seems to be saying what is necessary to get the public on her side in an effort to strong arm the group into doing what she wants, which then in turn made the group stick their heels in and say no. Not that the rescue group is "right." They are definitely not doing what is right for the dog. Both sides should be ashamed of themselves for acting like children fighting over a toy.

As for the child age exclusion, I do know why a lot of rescue groups have them (especially for toy dogs). Fourteen in my opinion is too high. I also know that every child is different, I might not place a dog with a family that has a certain 13yo, but might place the same dog with a family that has a different 8yo. Parenting also plays a big part in the decision as well. Parents who supervise their children are more likely to be approved than parents who don't correct their children from doing something potentially dangerous to the dog. I feel it would be in everyone's best interest for each family to be look at on an individual basis, not a bunch of words on an application. And I'm not sure why Mutts and Moms feels that boarding is better than foster!?!


Jeez, all I can say is ditto, ditto, ditto to everything Jessica just said. Pretty much covers everything I was thinking and planning to comment. What a mess! Living in an apartment with two active dogs, I may not have been the 'best' choice for placement by some breeders/rescuers, but with agility, obedience, tracking, and at least two walks daily, I think my guys are more stimulated and better exercised than dogs that only go from the house to the backyard and back again. Thank goodness their breeders looked at me as an individual, not just at their set of rules.


I was deprived; I did not get my border collie pup until I was ten. I do not at all feel that it balances things out that my sister was about 8 months old, or that my cousins that I spent most of every summer with prior to that had a Sheltie who went everywhere with us.

Nadine L.

This really is a tragedy and there's no reason for not taking these special circumstances on a case-by-case basis. Seems as though emotions got in the way of common sense. In dog training terms, seems that M&M were using a rather hard hand. Perhaps they need to learn the fine art of positive behavior/reward to get the desired results? But then, who knows how the conversation went?


"For the record, we're told the agency has greenlighted other dog adoptions with young children in the house"

shadepuppy says "Mutts and Mom has chosen to temporarily inactivate their website on because their email inbox and voice mail are overwhelmed."

I wasn't there to see what/who started the argument, but the idea of taking a dog away from little girls who love it just makes me sick! Unless there is evidence of animal abuse, I'm all for Ellen using her clout since she's the one who created the problem and cares about the girls/dog's feelings. Don't know the true facts, but DeGeneres is quoted as saying she paid for neutering and training the dog -- after she received it? I didn't think any rescues let a dog go before they were neutered.

"Owner Marina Batkis "is not going to give them the dog," said attorney Keith A. Fink, who's not representing the shelter but is speaking on Batkis and co-owner Vanessa Chekroun's behalf. The women run the nonprofit Mutts and Moms out of their store Paws Boutique.

"[Batkis] doesn't think this is the type of family that should have the dog," Fink told the Associated Press. "She is adamant that she is not going to be bullied around by the Ellen DeGenereses of the world…They are using their power, position and wealth to try to get what it is they want.""


One of the posters on the TMZ site that wolfdogged asked about Ellen's other dogs. Does anyone know if she still has them? I specifically remember on one of her first shows her talking about adopting a cute 12wk old border collie from a shelter. The dog would be around 3-4yo now. Someone implied she got rid of that one too. Anyone know for sure?


Sorry! My post should say "One of the posters on the TMZ site that wolfdogged LINKED TO asked about Ellen’s other dogs. Does anyone know if she still has them? I specifically remember on one of her first shows her talking about adopting a cute 12wk old border collie from a shelter. The dog would be around 3-4yo now. Someone implied she got rid of that one too. Anyone know for sure?"


Rules should still make sense. I know dogs end up in the wrong home, but they also end up euthanised. So the rule should assure the home is a better sitaution than being dead.

Of course I am biassed as I tried *3* shelters and was turned down flat before getting my current dog from a unregulated 'rescue' kennel. My sin was working full time. Me and the dog have been together five years now and I get up at 6.30 am to give him enough exercise before work and pay for a dog walker before another long outing after work and the seems okay with it.

I tried not to be negative about the shelters but they each blew me off in second *after* I had met the dogs and spent time with them. My presence their seemed an inconvenience to them. It was horrible. the final place didn't want to know anythign about me at all so long as I could pay, which was bad too -- but I took it.


In my opinion Ellen went way over the top yesterday. Her display of emotion was totally bizarre. She should have dealt with this in private. She screwed up. Why didn't she just buy those kids another puppy??? She signed a contract, she needs to live up to it. But I also think that this rescue group handled this poorly as well. And I wonder about what rescue group has the funds to board all of their animals to the tune of $300 a month. What is this a bunch of rich LA types playing at rescue???? I will tell you this, I adopted a cat from a shelter/welfare group that included a promise not to declaw. They have never done a post adoption visit (yet), but the threat of one has been the motivation I need to not declaw her...Because if they did visit and found her clawless, I know they would take her away. My experience is that rescue people can be nearly over the edge. They have seen the worst of what humans can do to pets and they can become zealots from our perspectives. I suspect that is what has happened here.


From SFGate, September 13, 2003:

DeGeneres' love of animals is a frequent theme on the show. This week there was much talk of a large bird that has been threatening her koi pond. Next week, Bay Area fans can expect at least some mention of a dog she adopted during her recent Bay Area trip.

While visiting KNTV's Battery Street studios on Sept. 5, she saw another newscast featuring an Oakland SPCA orphan. A few phone calls later, and the 12- week-old female border collie was rushed to the airport.

The dog has since been adopted (DeGeneres is calling her "Oakland"), and is now a Los Angeles resident. Oakland has gone on an incredible journey, and in some ways, that makes her a better guest than whoever is on the cover of Vanity Fair this week.


Comment by Jessica — October 17, 2007 @ 12:00 pm

my understanding was she had that one for a couple/few months, but it also had issues with her cats and she re-homed it with a friend (this is working off of memory her) she seemed upset about it at the time, but felt it was best and the dog was in a good home. this was the pup she had a naming contest for.

i 'think' she has 2 or 3 dogs now and they've been co-existing fine with her cats.


Emily--I had a similar experience with a rescue group about 14 years ago. I wanted a second shetland sheepdog. My first was about 7 then. I worked. The rescue groups were very chilly to me. I had a dog walker, but they thought it was plain wrong that my dog stayed by herself while I worked. My dog was happy and a perfect companion and housedog, she lived to be 16 years old. So I ended up buying a puppy from a breeder. I had my dog walker come in twice a day until the puppy could handle once a day. The rescue groups also wanted a "yard", I live in a townhouse, but I religiously walked my dog in our community. Not good enough for the group. They were very short sighted. One of their dogs could have had a very good home, too bad!


DeGeneres and de Rossi currently live with 3 dogs and 3 cats. One dog is a Maltipoo named Wolf.

Nadine L. is owned by Discovery Communications (Animal Planet). Today’s press release:

Cached information on Mutts and Moms:


Somewhat surprised how Craig’slist pet forum responded. Typically a savvy, emotional, pro-adoption group, one would have expected the forum to attack the shelter for taking dogs away from a home, from children. On the contrary, when the dust settled, the sentiment was that Ellen should have made the call to the shelter that she could not keep the dog. Also, Ellen should not have taken this public on her show.

Here is what one forum member said about the shelter. “we adopted our dog, Apple from Mutts & Moms 2007-10-16 15:52:14 I feel bad for the kids, but I know first hand that this rescue isn’t made up of crazies and I feel bad that she is being made to look like a villain. I don’t think it was right for Ellen to take it to national tv - a little over dramatic. The rescue is run by one woman out of a corner pet shop that sells high end dog foods and boutique type toys and dog accessories. (...}


From the Petfinder notice about Mutts & Moms

The last sentence is interesting....

Finding a New Home for Your Pet

Some pet parents, who have the best intentions for their pets, feel that they can do a better job of finding a new home for their beloved pet than a shelter or rescue group. Their rationale is that they know their pet best, they can keep it in their home until the perfect new home is found, and they can help ease the transition for the pet. Often times, this is a natural transition - a family member, trusted friend, or a colleague gets to know the pet, falls in love, and the ownership of the pet is unofficially transferred to them.

This is a controversial point of view, even amongst shelters and rescue groups who may feel that they have more experience identifying pitfalls and risk factors when identifying new families. Research, however, suggests that there is no difference in the success rates of the adoptions between organizations that screen heavily versus those that have more open adoption policies.


People Magazine: Ellen Shocked Over New Home for Her Former Dog

DeGeneres went on to suggest that Mutts & Moms enforces its rules arbitrarily. One such rule, she said, is that it does not allow families with children under 14 to adopt – a rule she said the agency has not always followed in the past.

Also, she said, she was never asked to fill out an adoption application and never had a home evaluation – also supposed rules.

DeGeneres said she had little recourse at the time the dog was taken back because the agency was still listed as the owner on the dog's microchip.,,20152846,00.html

Rescue group finds new home for Iggy

Mutts and Moms doesn’t believe hairdresser’s family is right for pooch

Under the Mutts and Moms contract agreement (section 3H discusses the “NO RIGHT TO TRANSFER”), which Access obtained a copy of, anyone accepting a dog agrees to “NOT give or sell ADOPTEE to another person, company, organization, medical research, pound or animal shelter,” or, “If ADOPTER fails to abide by the terms of this clause, ADOPTER will pay all costs, including any legal fees incurred, required to secure the return of ADOPTEE to RESCUE and will, in addition, be required to pay liquidated damages in the amount of $500.”


My personal opinion: Everyone involved is behaving like a twit. Ellen should have read the contract (if she signed one, which seems ambiguous) and kept her private life private. It doesn't sound like she gave the situation much time, anyway. The rescue organization, however: FOURTEEN????? They truly believe a younger child is incapable of behaving responsibly around a dog? How sad. And showing up with a police officer to take the poor doggie...Sounds like more of a power struggle than anything else. I grew up with a poodle sleeping on my bed, too.


I agree with the notion that the dog should be with the hairdresser's girls and that barring the dog from being with these kids isn’t a good idea. And I think both sides are out of control on this. The shelter should have met with the proposed owners and attempted to validate them as proper owners and let them keep the dog assuming they were otherwise acceptable. After all, the shelter’s purpose is to save pets and place them in good homes.

But the issue here should be a lesson about contract law, about property ownership (as pets are unfortunately property), and about reading what we’re signing instead of dealing with the contract contents after something happens. Consulting an attorney is something best done before the lawsuits are needed - before the contract was signed. I don’t like all the terms that some of these have in them either, but the proper response should be to walk away, not sign it, or negotiate fairer terms, instead of having to fight the terms later on. Pet rights, pet status as property, and limits on what a shelter can put in such agreements are all good topics to talk to the State Legislatures about for them to cook up some new Laws. Each State varies on this type stuff.

Depending upon the contract and the State Law, the property may have reverted in ownership when the original adopting party breeched the agreement. The shelter intended the contract language to permit them to rescue back a pet that wound up in a bad situation where it was no longer safe with the original adopter. The original intent was to protect the dog from abandonment and generally from being in bad situations after being abandoned. Of course, a good intention in this situation got lost in the press and emotions. A breech of the contract would mean seizure of the dog was simply taking back the shelter’s property because the parties to the agreement likely agreed to the ownership return in certain situations, one of which apparently occurred. Can they do that? Yes. Should they have done it? Probably not. And $500 damages and legal fees? Wow. I'd not sign that even thinking it would never happen...

BTW, we all missed that M&M screening didn't catch that Ellen and partner had cats... pooch and cats? They didn't do such a good job of matching Iggie to their home...

My bet is that after this is all over with, Ellen or the partner who signed the contract will find herself on a shelters black list unable to adopt any pets. Not that I think that is fair either.

…Don’t shoot the messenger…fix the Laws…


To those who say Ellen was wrong to talk about this on the air, sorry, I can only say I think that expecting someone whose job is hosting a talk show not to talk about something that upsets them this badly on the air is frankly delusional.

Dennis, I suspect you could die of old age, searching for the person who consults an attorney before signing a shelter adoption contract, in all but the most unusual circumstances. Ellen and/or her partner should surely have read the contract, but that, too, is all too normal, although not as universally prevalent as not consulting an attorney.

They'll certainly be on this shelter's blacklist--but then, it's on their blacklist, too. I don't expect Ellen will be making any more donations to them! Some other shelters will surely feel the same way as Mutts & Moms; on the other hand, other shelter and rescue people are more disgusted with M&M's mismanagement of this.


This has been blown way out of proportion.


I feel that the court should order the dog to be placed back into the family (as long as they are approved by a competent pet adoption agency) and that Ellen pay a fair fine to a respected pet adoption agency for breaking the contract. WIN-WIN for the Animals. In my opinion, the animal's welfare is all the matters here.


Comment by SMITH111 — October 17, 2007 @ 10:01 pm

why should Ellen pay a fine to an agency. I've seen a few suggestions along that line. the woman donates to shelters and rescues, she paid a $600 "donation" fee, plus neutering/training/toys/beds /etc for this one, why should she have to pay more? she made a mistake and has admitted it. seems like she's been through enough. i think she'll stick to supporting rescues, but who would blame her if she didn't.

i've done some cruising on an archived link for the rescue, they have a few things i would more than question, like boarding dogs for up to a year or 2 . . . .

Nadine L.

On Mutts and Moms website, Marina stated:

"To rescue a homeless animal is the greatest gift you could ever give or receive. The love and devotion of a dog that has been rescued is unparalleled. They know they have been saved."

So, what this is saying is that Iggy must be gravely disappointed and seriously traumatized at this point because he thought he was saved twice, but no dice. Poor, poor Iggy.


At $600, Ellen didn't "adopt" the dog, she bought the dog. M&M supposedly gets dogs from LA shelters, which charge a $32 adoption fee, then sell the UNALTERED dogs to other people for $600. This is just so so wrong.

By reclaiming Iggy, M&M can now rip off another schmuck. Hey, the more Iggy gets passed around, the more "adoption" fees they collect.

It looks like Mutts and Moms forgot the "non" portion of the term "Non-profit status."


Straybaby, the reason Ellen ought to pay a fine to the agency is because she actually did break the contract, which she ought to have read and known the provisions of. That she's been generous to them in the past doesn't exempt her from being bound by the contract she signed.

Mutts & Moms is morally wrong in not even considering the hairdresser's family, and in taking the dog in the way they did. And Ellen was trying to do a good thing. That doesn't mean that she didn't screw up, or should be totally exempt from any cost for that failure.


Comment by Dennis — October 17, 2007 @ 8:40 pm

"BTW, we all missed that M&M screening didn’t catch that Ellen and partner had cats… pooch and cats? They didn’t do such a good job of matching Iggie to their home…"

Apparently, Ellen and her partner were never required to go through a home screening or sign an application form. So M&M seems pretty inconsistent on when they require a home screening and when they don't.


Why do people feel that cats and dogs cannot cohabitate? I've never had anything but cats and dogs living together. When any new animal is introduced into my home, sure there is an adjustment period (which by the way lasts longer than 10 days!), but they have always settled in just fine. And thanks Dennis for answering the legal aspect of the situation, I had been wondering about that. :-)

Gina Spadafori

SOME dogs and cats can live together, but NOT ALL. Some dogs are just too prey-driven to get along with cats (rabbits, birds, hamsters, etc., etc., etc.)

And some cats (old, chronically ill, especially) are really too fragile to deal with the introduction of a Puppy From Hell.

You need to take this issues into account.


Comment by The OTHER Pat — October 18, 2007 @ 6:15 am

Apparently, Ellen and her partner were never required to go through a home screening or sign an application form.

hmmm . . . . if they didn't sign the app, wouldn't this just be a straight up sale? thus no binding contract?

Lis, i guess i feel she's 'paid' enough in grief and heartache from trying to do the right thing in the wrong way. i'd just noticed there were posts on various forums that she should give a large donation and felt that it was because of who she was. i doubt if you or i had made the mistake they would be calling out for a large donation. seemed a bit unfair to me to penalize her more.


also Gina, not all dogs can live with other dogs and the same with cats :)

i was very careful bringing my dog in as i had 7 cats, some who had never seen a dog. i tested her several times at the shelter and brought her by when i was walking her to see my cats' reaction as i walked her through the apt on a leash. she was/is very cat friendly, but i was concerned about all the cats being able to adjust. i ended up bringing her home on a 'foster' basis for that reason. she was about 9-10months old with NO training. thankfully, she's an easy trainer and very into pleasing, so she was controllable around the cats. there was no way in heck i was going to have any of my cats live in fear (or anger!) because i adopted a dog. this is their home. i also have the same rule for the bed. the dog sleeps in another room, as the cats owned bed rights before she showed up and didn't deserve to lose those rights to a bed hog ;)

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