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October 16th, 2007

Give Iggy Back!

The purpose of any no-kill, pet adoption agency is to connect stable, loving families with homeless and abandoned animals. This is usually accomplished with the help of selfless, benevolent volunteers who open their doors as foster homes for these animals until a suitable, permanent adoption can be made. Some 3-4 million animals are euthanized every year, and the altruistic efforts of these volunteers and adoptive families saves hundreds of animals from that terrible fate.

It would seem, then, that these agencies would do whatever is necessary to ensure the animals find happy homes, and would, at all times, have the animals' best interest in mind.

With that in mind, one has to wonder what the Pasadena, California-based Mutts and Moms had in mind when they took Iggy, a Brussels Griffon mix dog, out of the nurturing, happy home it had been placed in by its former owner.

The story began on September 20, when talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and her partner, Portia de Rossi, adopted Iggy from Mutts and Moms, a nonprofit volunteer organization run as one of the no-kill agencies described above and started by Marina Baktis.

Ellen and Portia tried everything to acclimate their six cats to the addition of Iggy, who Ellen describes as a "rambunctious" dog; even spending over $3,000 for training in an attempt to bring peace to their cats and new dog. When Ellen realized nothing was going to work, she made the difficult, yet best, decision for Iggy and her other pets...her hairdresser's family had been wanting a puppy.

It seemed the perfect home for a rambunctious puppy - the hairdresser and her husband had two daughters, aged 11 and 12, according to Ellen. Indeed, it seemed to be a perfect fit; Ellen describes daily updates and photos from the excited family about their newest and obviously much-loved member. Naturally, Ellen sees her hairdresser every day and she was able to keep up on the minute details of Iggy's new - and obviously very happy - life.

Into this happy story now returns Mutts and Moms.

Whenever a person adopts a pet from such an agency, they sign paperwork saying that should they - for whatever reason - no longer be able to take care of said pet it will be returned to the agency in question so that a new, suitable home can be found. The reason for this, obviously, is to prevent people from dropping pets off somewhere or bringing them to shelters where they might be euthanized - going against the very calamities these agencies attempt to prevent.

Ellen did sign such papework when she adopted Iggy, though - as she readily admits - neglected to read the fine print. She did not realize there was anything wrong with giving Iggy to the hairdresser's family, but feels she made a sound decision with Iggy's best interest in mind. To her horror - and the heartbreak of Iggy's new family - Mutts and Moms saw fit to remove Iggy from his new home because of Ellen's decision.

It is difficult to understand their reasoning, or believe they could even come up with any valid excuse as to why they chose to take a happy dog from a loving home - causing distress not only to the young girls who had become attached to him, but to the dog itself.

I am almost certain there are a good number of dogs still in need of adoption at Mutts and Moms, and cannot fathom why they would waste the time, money, and effort in seeking to confiscate and then re-adopt little Iggy. It makes no sense whatsoever.

Ellen admits she made a mistake in not contacting Mutts and Moms before attempting to place Iggy with this family; however, Iggy nor the family (nor Ellen, for that matter) should be punished for her blunder. It was a very simple and honest mistake. As you can see from this clip, Ellen is simply heartbroken over what has happened and begs the agency to return Iggy to the family that loves him.

Had Mutts and Moms truly been that worried about Iggy, they simply could have asked his family to come in for an interview, or traveled to his new home to make sure it was suitable and the family acceptable. The new family could have - and no doubt willingly would have - signed any paperwork that was needed or done anything the agency asked of them to settle this issue and secure Iggy as theirs.

Instead, Mutts and Moms decided to take an innocent little dog away from a home and family where he was happy, loved and comfortable and stick him in a foster home to await re-adoption. They broke the hearts of two young girls and have caused pain and tears to everyone that knows and loves Iggy - and all I can do is sit here and wonder why?

From what I have been able to tell, Mutts and Moms has removed its website and contact information from the web; apparently they have no interest in hearing what we - the disgruntled public - has to say. A cached web archive of the site, however, can be found here.

I have read that Mutts and Moms is affiliated with Paw Boutique; their site is also non-functioning at the moment. A Dog Lover's Guide to Pasadena, however, lists this information:

Paw Boutique
523 S. Raymond Ave
Pasadena, CA

Support Mutts & Moms dog rescue by shopping at the Paw Boutique for all your pet supply needs: food, treats, toys, beds and more. Store also offers a pet food delivery service.

Their email address is pawboutique AT yahoo.com.

While I do encourage everyone to make their voice heard and ask Mutts and Moms to return Iggy to his rightful home, I ask that you also take into consideration the other animals there needing homes - boycotting this shelter only hurts the dogs that are fostered there...please do think of this.

I would like to believe that M&M had the best intentions and that someone just made a terrible and badly thought-out decision, and that the shelter will see what a mistake it has made and return Iggy. I hate to see any such shelter taken down or become nonoperational because they are so desperately needed. In your ire for this unfortunate and painful circumstance, please, remember the dogs there that still need homes; I ask that you find a way to express your frustration through something other than boycotting.

My message to Mutts and Moms is simple - please do the right thing, and return Iggy to his family and home.

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