LOS ANGELES - Ellen DeGeneres' doggy drama intensified Tuesday after her tearful plea on her talk show led to death threats against the rescue group that took back her adopted dog for violating the contract, according to a spokesman for the agency's owners.
DeGeneres explained on her show that the Brussels Griffon terrier mix didn't get along with her cats, so she gave it to her hairstylist's family. The owners of Mutts and Moms claimed that DeGeneres violated the adoption agreement by not informing them that she was giving the dog away and removed Iggy from the hairstylist's home Sunday.
As a result of the publicity, Marina Batkis and Vanessa Chekroun received voice mail and e-mail threats of death and arson and were besieged by the media, disrupting business at Paws Boutique store in Pasadena, where they handle the volunteer, nonprofit rescue agency, attorney Keith A. Fink said.
Batkis rejected DeGeneres' plea to give the dog back to her hairstylist's family.
"She (Batkis) doesn't think this is the type of family that should have the dog," said Fink, who is not legally representing the owners but is authorized to speak for them. "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."
DeGeneres' attorney, Kevin Yorn, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
"It's very upsetting to hear that someone is getting those kind of calls," DeGeneres' publicist Kelly Bush said. "Ellen just wants the dog reunited with the family."
On her talk show taped Tuesday and airing Wednesday, a serious DeGeneres reiterated to her audience that "the dog needs to go to the family."
It "just needs to be in a good home," she continued, according to a transcript given to The Associated Press. "All that you're supposed to do is put a dog in a loving home."
DeGeneres had said her hairdresser's daughters, ages 11 and 12, had bonded with Iggy and were heartbroken when the dog was taken away.
Fink said Moms and Mutts has a rule that families with children under 14 are not allowed to adopt small dogs.
"It's for the protection of the dog," he said.