Woman Claims Threats Over DeGeneres' Dog

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The Associated Press
Wednesday, October 17, 2007; 11:06 PM

LOS ANGELES -- Ellen DeGeneres' doggie dilemma took a nasty turn Wednesday, with the operator of the animal rescue organization that took the pooch away saying she has been deluged with threatening e-mails and phone calls.

The calls got so bad that Marina Batkis said she had to close her business and stay home Wednesday, a day after DeGeneres broadcast a tearful, televised plea for the dog to be returned to her hairdresser and the woman's daughters.

"My life is being threatened. This is horrible," a tearful Batkis said outside her home.

Batkis and Vanessa Chekroun co-own Mutts and Moms, the nonprofit dog-rescue organization that gave DeGeneres and her partner, actress Portia de Rossi, the dog.

"They have gotten thousands of e-mails," attorney Keith Fink told the television program "Inside Edition." "Most of them are hate e-mails threatening them with lynchings, bombings of their home."

One recording "Inside Edition" played had a male voice saying, "You Nazi, scum-sucking pigs. You're gonna pay dearly for stealing this dog from those little girls."

The twisted dog tale began last month when DeGeneres and de Rossi adopted a cute, black Brussels Griffon mix terrier named Iggy. When Iggy wasn't able to get along with DeGeneres' cats, the couple gave the dog to DeGeneres' hairdresser.

That, Batkis pointed out, violated a written agreement de Rossi signed in which she agreed to return the dog to Mutts and Moms if the adoption didn't work out.

DeGeneres acknowledged she erred but said her hairdresser and her family shouldn't be punished.

"This is so insane," a calmer DeGeneres said on her talk show Wednesday. "It's just the dog needs to go to the family."

Batkis has refused to back down.

"If Ellen wants to place dogs and decide what's a good home, then she should start her own rescue group," she told "Inside Edition." "But I'm the one doing this and I know what I'm doing."

Meanwhile, the dispute has become a hot topic on news and talk shows.

"There's got to be some sort of rational compromise," ABC's Diane Sawyer said on "Good Morning America."


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© 2007 The Associated Press

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