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October 18th, 2007

Iggy Still Hostage

The fight for Iggy continues still.

I'd hoped to be able to write a happy follow-up to my Give Iggy Back post; instead, a battle of wills and ego has commenced with an innocent animal who can't speak for himself at the ugly center.

Marina Baktis, founder and owner of Mutts and Moms, and co-owner, Vanessa Chekrou, believe that Ellen is using her fame, money, and influence to bully the shelter into returning Iggy - which claims it does not place small dogs in homes with children under the age of 14.

Baktis and Chekrou claim to be looking out for Iggy's best interest, but one has to wonder how removing the dog from a home where it was happy and from a family that loved and cherished it is in Iggy's best interest. Instead, it would seem that their defiance stems more from not liking their authority questioned than any real concern for what is best for Iggy.

If Ellen wants to start her own rescue group then she can decide where the dogs go. Who is she to say who is a good home and whose not? And who is she to say where I should place my animals and how I should do this? I don't tell her how to run her show.
- Marina Baktis

When it comes down to it, Marina Baktis is putting her ego ahead of Iggy's welfare. A dog cannot speak for itself, and it is up to us - as their caretakers - to do what is best for them and to help them have the best life possible. If Iggy has become attached to this family and these little girls, tearing him away from them is unfair and cruel. Little Iggy doesn't understand what is going on - he doesn't know from rules and policies. He has no concept of the human egos that would use him as a pawn to satisfy their own bruised pride. He understands only that he has been taken from where he was happy, loved, and comfortable; he is likely sad and confused. How Marina Baktis can stand here and cite policy when a defenseless animal is hurting and heartbroken is beyond me.

I believe these women care deeply for animals and, usually and under different circumstances, do what is best for them. However, in this instance, they are allowing pride and ego to cloud their judgment - and it is an innocent dog and two innocent, young girls who are suffering because of it.

Marina Baktis's lawyer, Keith Fink, made the following statement:

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.

Again, this reiterates the belief that Baktis and Mutts and Moms has that they are being "bullied". Yes, they have received death, arson, and boycott threats - something that sane people and Ellen DeGeneres have strongly decried. The ignorant people doing these things have done nothing but exacerbate the entire situation. Still...Iggy and his family should not be punished because of it.

What Mutts and Moms seem to be missing is that this is not about Ellen DeGeneres getting her way; this is about two little girls crying over losing their dog, and a little dog being taken from a place where he was loved and happy.

Reports indicate that Iggy has been placed in a new home; a new home that could have went to another dog at the shelter. In taking Iggy from a stable, happy home, Mutts and Moms took away the opportunity for another needy pet to find its forever home. How can they - as people that claim to put their dogs' best interest first - justify this?

I fear this sad tale will have no happy ending. Mutts and Moms claims that Ellen has "ruined" their business...when in truth, it is they - with their willful, obstinate decision - that has done so. If Marina Baktis and Vanessa Chekrou put their own pride ahead of the animals they care for, perhaps it is for the best that Mutts and Moms is no longer able to operate.

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