Monday, August 25, 2008

Helmsley's Trust Leaves Billions of Dollars To Dogs

In June, a New York judge reduced the amount of money available to Leona Helmsley's dog, Trouble, from $12 million to $2 million, ordering the remaining $10 million to go to her charitable foundation.

But the New York Times reports that the charitable trust has been assigned to the care and welfare of dogs, according to a mission statement that may or may not be legally binding. Being the only clear direction for the donor's intent, however, means that the entire trust, valued at $5 to $8 billion, may indeed go to the dogs ("Helmsley Left Dogs Billions in Her Will," by Stephanie Strom, The New York Times, July 2, 2008).

May I suggest outlets that uniquely benefit both dogs and humans, such as service dog programs, public assistance through HSUS and ASPCA funding, a national disaster fund (FEMA for pets), veterinary student grants, a centralized database linking CDC, vets, FDA and the public, and research that also benefits humans?