Puppy Plea: DeGeneres Makes Last Effort For Pooch

Talk show host says dog has been given to a new family.

ByABC News via via logo
February 18, 2009, 3:46 PM

Oct. 18, 2007 — -- Ruby, the 12-year-old girl who received Ellen DeGeneres' dog, Iggy, after the talk show host determined it was not getting along with her cats, said it was scary when representatives from the rescue shelter took the dog away from her home.

"I was extremely upset and my parents were extremely upset," Ruby said on "Good Morning America." "All I want is my dog back."

The Pasadena, Calif.,-based Mutts and Moms animal shelter took the dog from the girl's home after learning from DeGeneres that she had given the dog to her hairdresser.

Newly released video shown on "GMA" today showed how DeGeneres had tried to comfort Ruby after 4-month-old Iggy was removed.

"You're going to get your dog back," DeGeneres said on the tape in response to Ruby's request to be reunited with Iggy.

The agency said DeGeneres broke the rules of its contract, despite the fact she told it she had found a new home for the dog after she discovered she could no longer house it.

In DeGeneres' case, the rescue mission said it does not allow families to adopt pets if the home has children younger than 14 years old. Both Ruby and her 11-year-old sister fail to meet the requirement.

Earlier this week, DeGeneres gave a sob-soaked plea on her national talk show explaining her position and begging the agency to return the dog to the family. She apologized for not following its proper procedure.

"Please give that dog back to the family. It's my fault. It's my fault," she cried on air.

But Mutts and Moms said DeGeneres signed a contract saying she would return the puppy if she was unable to keep it.

Today, DeGeneres will make a final plea for Iggy's return on her show.

"I think this is the last time I'm talking about this," she said. "Unless I'm lucky enough to say one day to you, 'Iggy has returned.' As of today, as I'm talking to you, Iggy has not been returned. And, in fact, I think we were told it was given to another home. Unfortunately, Ruby, the little girl, doesn't want another dog. She wants Iggy. It's not a toy that's broken that you can replace. It's a dog."

The case of the pulled pooch has ignited a national debate over animal adoption and its rules.

Some question whether agencies make it too difficult to take Fido home and whether their severe restrictions will limit adoptions.

"I don't ask a million questions because I would rather see someone take that dog than the dog put to sleep," said John DeCando, an animal control officer in Patterson, N.J.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which has received support from DeGeneres in the past, said it believes Mutts and Moms made a mistake.

"If you are going to overscreen people, you are going to scare them away," said Stephen Musso, of the ASPCA.

But some private pet adoption agencies agreed the mission did the right thing by removing the dog.

"We are very strict. We turn down many, many applications," said Lawyer Lee Wheeler, of Hearts United in Nebraska. "It causes many hurt feelings, but in our opinion it is most important to protect the dogs."

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