Mutts and Moms Under Fire
I'm not a big Ellen fan, but that's because I'm not part of her target audience. As television shows go, hers is a pretty good one, and I will watch it on those occasions when a particularly interesting guest is making an appearance. I happened to see this particular show because of media reports that made me curious about the incident involving the dog rescue, and I remain interested in the outcome for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is my own great affection for dogs.
As celebrities go, Ellen is one of the most congenial and affable. Even in this particular instance, she was not playing the blame game. Rather, she accepted responsibility for placing the dog with a new home without consulting Mutts and Moms, and pleaded with them to return the dog to what was apparently a loving home.
Why did Mutts and Moms take Iggy back? The only reason offered was that Iggy's new family had two girls under the age of 14 in the household. That may be a valid concern sometimes, but it didn't seem to be a real issue in this particular case, and an objective observer would almost certainly conclude that Mutts and Moms did not have the dog's best interests at heart.
Did Mutts and Moms have the right to take Iggy back? That depends on who you ask, but I don't think they did, notwithstanding Ellen's alleged failure to live up to the letter of the contract as set forth in the Mutts and Moms adoption agreement. If and when it comes to a legal battle, Mutts and Moms will be very hard-pressed to explain their failure to insure the compatibility of Iggy with a household that already had a large collection of cats. Moreover, they will be very hard-pressed to explain why they chose to employ a "self-help" remedy by seizing the dog without getting a court order that allowed them to do so.
When Batkis of Mutts and Moms showed up at Iggy's new home, she did so under the pretense of checking out the suitability of the home, then she grabbed Iggy and held onto him until the police arrived. Why did the police allow her to leave with the dog? The dog was chipped, and Mutts and Moms had not yet changed the ownership information, as they were legally obliged to do several weeks earlier. But for this clerical oversight, Mutts and Moms would have had no verifiable legal claim to Iggy, and they would have had to go to court to prove that Ellen had actually breached the terms of the adoption contract. Even then, a court would probably have left Iggy with his new family.
Courts can, and often do, more than rubber stamp and enforce the terms of a contract. Indeed, many of the contracts that people enter into everyday are not legally enforceable, and this is supposed to be one of the first inquiries that a court makes. Similarly, the various terms of a contract might not be legally enforceable, making the actual terms of the contract very different from the one that was signed. And then there's the fact that courts often get things wrong and/or choose to ignore the law and/or rule however they damn well please.
Given that Ellen is not a particularly litigious individual, Mutts and Moms is probably safe from any sort of legal exposure, although the new adoptive family (the truly injured party) may yet file suit; I know that I would. Meanwhile, in the court of public opinion, the verdict is in, and Mutts and Moms has lost. To wit, over 95 percent of the people who have expressed an opinion in polls on the topic think that Iggy should be given back to the new family that Ellen found for it. And some people have not stopped there: A large number of death threats and arson threats have allegedly been made against the operators of Mutts and Moms, who defiantly refuse to give in to any sort of bullying.
Did Ellen use her show as a bully pulpit against Mutts and Moms? Perhaps, but I have no pity in my heart for Mutts and Moms. They knew they were dealing with a celebrity when they first placed Iggy, and they should have known better than to remove Iggy from a loving home. When all the sound and the fury eventually passes, Mutts and Moms will have set back the cause of animal rescue at least 20 years. What sort of idiot would choose to empower sanctimonious control freaks like these when they can get a dog for free outside of a grocery store?
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