The owners of a Pasadena, Calif., pet rescue agency—Mutts and Moms—received death threats after comedian Ellen DeGeneres tearfully reported on her talk show this week that the agency had taken back her dog, Iggy. Mutts and Moms co-owner Marina Batkis said DeGeneres had broken her adoption agreement by giving the tiny Brussels Griffon terrier to her hairdresser after discovering the dog didn’t get along with her cats. After the agency received a flood of e-mails and phone messages, including one calling Batkis and her partner “Nazi, scum-sucking pigs,” DeGeneres told E! News’ Ryan Seacrest that she just wanted what was best for the dog.
What the commentators said
“We fear Ellen's hopes to refocus the dialogue of the IggyGate debate on the dog's welfare were forfeited the moment she decided to issue a fatwa against the Pasadena puppy-placers,” said Defamer.com. Now the standup thing to do would be to “call off her army of torch-and-pitchfork-wielding Ellenites before they burn the shelter to the ground.”
“It seems hard-hearted,” said Andrew Wineke in the Colorado Springs Gazette, but it’s common for pet rescue agencies to enforce rules against giving away adopted animals. These organizations make a “lifelong commitment” to the pets they handle, and if the first home doesn’t work out they usually want to be the ones to decide where the animal goes next.
DeGeneres’ “tear-soaked performance” instantly won her “both fans and enemies” around the world, said Veronica Schmidt in London’s TimesOnline. DeGeneres’ Web site was “awash with the type of messages of support usually reserved for divorce or bereavement.” And the American media is having a field day—first gushing with support for Ellen and her hairdresser’s little girls, then wagging fingers over poor Mutts and Moms.