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Pet People

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thoughts on Ellen Dog Case?

First, I want to say I understand the shelter's point of view. Most shelters have such rules about adopting and for good reason. Unless you've worked with a shelter, you have NO IDEA how people can be. Of course, many are wonderful, but those who run shelters get loads of public abuse from people who want to adopt a pet. There are reasons for long applications and home visits and so on. It's all to prevent dogs and cats from being give up, as only 1 in 9 pets ever stays with the first family it goes to.

That being said, the shelter made a huge PR blunder in the way they've handled it, and now the case is out of control. They should have worked with Ellen, chided her, checked out the home the dog went to and bent over backwards to let the dog stay, all the while making it clear that they were making a HUGE exception. Then Ellen would have been pleased and maybe would have helped their shelter with publicity and so on, which would have gone a long ways in helping more homeless pets, as Ellen is a huge advocate. They could have gone on her show to explain WHY they have their rules. They let a golden opportunity to educate the public slip away.

Now its an ugly battle, and the losers will be homeless pets. Also, many people who run shelters aren't savvy when it comes to communication and public relations and can turn people off. But as I said, it's understandable because you really learn to dislike people more and more each year as you come across more and more irresponsible people and those who abuse, abandoned and neglect.

What do you think? Here's the latest from MSNBC News Services:

LOS ANGELES - Ellen DeGeneres' doggy drama intensified when the agency that took the talk show host's adopted dog back said they have found a new home for the canine.
Access Hollywood spoke with Keith A. Fink, the attorney for Mutts and Moms owner Maria Batkis, Wednesday morning and the attorney said that another home has been found for the dog although he was not able to say for certain that the dog has been physically given to the new owner yet.

He added that Batkis is distraught, under medication at her home, and that she cannot come out of her house. He says that both he and Batkis are getting numerous e-mail and phone threats, as well as death threats.

A publicist for DeGeneres, Kelly Bush, also allegedly took matters a step further by leaving what seemed like a threatening message for Mutts and Moms.
“We’re filing a legal case against you. We’re going to be contacting the media. This is not going to be good for your store or your organization,” Bush said on the tape, which was first played by “Good Morning America.”

However in an interview with the New York Post’s Page Six, Bush denied making any threats.

“If Ellen’s object was to destroy my client to get her way she has done that,” Fink told Access. “My client is destroyed.”

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.”

The dog adopted by DeGeneres and later given to her hairstylist's family in violation of an animal rescue agency's rules will not be going back to the family, a spokesman said, amid threats of violence against the agency.
DeGeneres made a tearful plea on her talk show that aired Tuesday for the owners of the Mutts and Moms agency to give Iggy, a Brussels Griffon mix terrier, back to her hairstylist's family.

The dog was removed from the hairstylist's home on Sunday. The owners of Mutts and Moms claimed that DeGeneres violated the adoption agreement by not informing them that she was giving the dog away.

"She (Marina) is not going to give them the dog," said Fink, who is not legally representing the owners but is authorized to speak on their behalf.
"She doesn't think this is the type of family that should have the dog. 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."

posted by Sandy at 10/18/2007 11:03:00 AM


Blogger B said...

OK--first, the agency did screw this up royally as they could have worked WITH Ellen just as hard as they have worked AGAINST her. I know the part of that contract--I have such a clause in my contract I signed for Hines and I'm sure it's somewhere in the county papers we signed for Lucy. (Poor Charlie and Pearl and illegal aliens without papers-lol). I think thats a great thing to have in the contracts to remind the adoptor that they have an option to take the animal back to a place where it will be taken care of instead of dumping it out somewhere.
I understand that technically, Ellen broke her contract. BUt GOOD GOD--are these people DOG NATZIS or what? These people have underlying issues with Ellen than with the welfare of the dog. All I know is that there will be poor animals that suffer for all of this human drama as now it is likely none will go to that shelter to adopt.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

Dog Natzi is right! I understand why they put such a clause in the contracts, However more could have been done to keep the dog with the family. A home study of the new home and a new contract could have been done. I think this woman tried to use Ellen's fame and it back-fired on her. The one who is suffering the most is the dog who is being bounced around from home to home. Realistically, most people who take the time to adopt a dog from a rescue of this type, are committed to the dog and the process. A home study of Ellen's home should have been done prior to her taking the dog to find out if it got along with her cats. Some of this could have been avioded from the start.

Personnaly speaking, This is why we ended up aopting Hunter from a private person instead of going through a rescue or shelter. The requirements that some rescues ask for are too much. I had one that wanted us to hire a dog walker b/c of our work hours. We don't need a dog walker, The Foreman only works until 1pm and is home by 2pm most days. That means the dogs are only home by them selves for no more than 5 hours a day. Another one wanted us to put the dog in puppy daycare and to be seen by a vet every 6 weeks. That dog didn't even have health issues. If I had unlimited funds, than I might consider daycare when we work late, but not everyday. I was also told that b/c we already had 3 dogs, there wouldn't be a rescue who would allow us to adopt. That their dogs needed to go to families who had only one or less dogs. GET A GRIP PEOPLE!! A family like mine is turned down as a prospective pet parent, but there ae dogs that live in deplorable situations and are euthinized everyday. It's no wonder why people still buy puppies from private breeders.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 1:11:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

I think the shelter did go a bit far on this one. I understand their anger over the “Breaking of the Rules” but they could have handled it a bit better then they did. I wonder why the shelter thinks it is not a good home for the pooch..???.... Maybe something more to the story then we are getting. Anyway, if the pooch was happy with the hair dressers family, why take him away? Why not let him stay where he was and fine Ellen the $500 to be donated to the shelter and move on……. I do fear this will put a bad rep on shelters thus less animals being adopted... sniff sniff...

Thursday, October 18, 2007 2:36:00 PM  
Blogger B said...

I ASK YOU PEOPLE- Who wouldn't want their dog to go to a hairdresser? I mean let's start thinking on the positive assets here--right?

Thursday, October 18, 2007 4:08:00 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

The main issue was that due to the small size of the breed and the fact that it was a puppy to boot, and the fact that there were YOUNG children in the home. The shelter does not place that type of small puppy into a home with young children, only older children. I'm not saying right or wrong either way at the moment, just stating what the shelter person said on the news this morning as to the reason for it not being considered an "appropriate home".

Thursday, October 18, 2007 5:19:00 PM  
Blogger B said...

They said on the radio that the girls were 11 and 12 and that the shelter stated that they don't place dogs in a home with children under 14! Is it me, or don't you think a younger child would have more time and use for a pet than a busy, self absorbed teenager?

Friday, October 19, 2007 7:30:00 AM  
Blogger Sandy said...

I agree 14 is a pretty old cutoff, but the shelter can set whatever policy it wants based on their experience. They are the ones doing all the work--rescuing animals, dealing with idiots who abandoned or abuse pets and so on. If they want to say they'll only adopt to homes WITHOUT any kids, that's their right and if an adopter doesn't like the rules they can find a pet elsewhere.

I know from talking to Inge and others in rescue that people want to give up pets ALL the time for reasons that involve children, so they want to AVOID those kinds of problems.

There are reasons for the rules and checking out homes so much. There are idiots who will get a breed that needs lots of exercise them and keep them in a tiny apartment, for example. A shelter wants to check out the home, the lifestyle and those living there to make sure its the best match so down the road they aren't giving up a pet. That's what they deal with daily.

Adrienne, I'm sorry you feel the way you do about shelters and not all are as strict as you describe. Breed rescue groups are often the strictest, but they know the breed inside and out and know what makes for a good match. Please don't let your past negative experiences prevent you from adopting from a shelter in the future!

Friday, October 19, 2007 9:28:00 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

I think rules are needed and need to be enforced but there should be exceptions to the rule for heavens sake! I mean we all remember what happened with Adrienne and the people she got her dog from right? That was a mess and the animals they ahd shouldn't have been with them in the first place but this was different. This all could have been solved without this mess it has become. I can understand not wanting animals in home with certain children and certain age children but why not just do visits to see how things were working out? Why take that dog from that little girl who obviously loved it and was old enough to take care of it? It's just wrong! Ellen is well known for her love of animals and trying to help them. I think the owners of the shelter went too far with this case! I hope with Ellen's fame and all this will actually turn around and make more people aware of how animals need help and advocating for. Maybe more people will give money and help to shelters.

Friday, October 19, 2007 2:03:00 PM  

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Pet People

Sandy Britt, an animal welfare advocate and volunteer with Clarksville rescue organizations, takes care of three dogs: Zoe, Scooter and Peanut; two cats: Catfish and Tarzan; and one husband, Glen, and according to him she takes care of them in that order.

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