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Posted at 8:02 AM ET, 10/16/2007

Morning Mix: Spears Surrenders on Hit-and-Run Charges

By Liz Kelly

Headlines: Britney Spears turns herself in for Aug. 6 hit and run incident, then paints town pink... Optimist Paul McCartney hopes for "dignified" divorce... Paris Hilton wants to leave her mark on the world; plans to start with Rwanda... Lindsay Lohan returns to movie set... Jennifer Aniston is boring in print again... Ellen DeGeneres under fire for giving dog to hairdresser... Colin Farrell opens up about son's cerebral palsy... "Law & Order's" Vincent D'Onofrio and wife expecting baby... Michael Jackson ordered to pay law firm $175K in overdue fees... Hilary Swank to play Amelia Earhart in new biopic... Lauren Bacall, Scarlett Johannson among honorees at Elle event... Actor Barry Williams (aka Greg Brady, aka Johnny Bravo) honored by Air Force... Two accomplices make deals to testify against O.J. Simpson.

Rumor Mill: Diddy expected to turn himself in on club dust-up charges... Prince William and Kate Middleton spend Balmoral weekend with Charles and Camilla... Lauryn Hill expecting fifth child... Ivana Trump, 58, to marry 35-year-old boyfriend.

Say What?
"I still think photographers should be lashed out at. They should be put in a cage where you can poke them with a stick for a quarter. But not in a hostile way, just for giggles." -- Sean Penn

By Liz Kelly  | October 16, 2007; 8:02 AM ET
Categories:  Daily Mix  
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Next: Love to Hate: Oprah's Shoe Fetish


From Paris Hilton: "I love having everything documented," says Hilton, who hopes to turn the footage into a film. "It shows people what everyday life is like for me, how hard I work. There are a lot of misconceptions about me."

I thought the trip was about bringing attention to Rwanda?

Posted by: Kelli | October 16, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I can't wait to get the mug shot!

Posted by: Pompous Magnus | October 16, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

I have to say, there seems to be more "oy vey" in today's Morning Mix than usual.

Oh, Sean talented, and yet so kooky.

Posted by: ASinMoCo | October 16, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

"But we don't torture!" Sean Penn.

Posted by: Stick | October 16, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Colin is an awesome dad!!! wow, maybe he has grown up!!

Posted by: unmute | October 16, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Jennifer Anniston, boring? How about normal and relatable instead? We should have a little balance between the "boring" Jennifer interviews and the train wreck stories about Britney and LiLo.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 16, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

DeGeneres also says that her hairdresser's daughters, ages 11 and 12, had bonded with the dog and were heartbroken when he was taken away.

"Because I did it wrong, those people went and took that dog out of their home, and took it away from those kids," says DeGeneres, sobbing.

"I feel totally responsible for it and I'm so sorry. I'm begging them to give that dog back to that family," she says. "It's not their fault. It's my fault. I shouldn't have given the dog away. Just please give the dog back to those little girls."

That's a little sad. Poor girls. Couldn't they just investigate the home and then let the dog stay? I'm glad they want the dog to find a good home, but wow, how traumatic for the kiddies.

Posted by: Poor Iggy | October 16, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

"The agency sent a representative to the hairdresser's home Sunday and took the dog away."

Give me a break. I understand there are rules, but if the house and people in it are good people who love the dog what's the difference. Some of these animal agencies go to far.

I also like Jennifer Aniston and her boring interviews. Sometimes it is nice to see someone who isn't showing her panites or worse or running around crazy.

Posted by: Irish girl | October 16, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Welcome to California, where doggie adoptions are more investigated than child abuse allegations. Let's see Brit drives in a panic away from the paparazzi with her kid in her lap, does drugs in front of them and keeps her kids (well mostly). Ellen skips a step in giving a dog to a nice family and they lose dog.

Oh and why is the Prince William and Kate Middleton thing in Rumor Mill? They really did spend the weekend at Balmoral. The only question is how far away is an engagement.

Posted by: ep | October 16, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

"I love having everything documented," says Hilton...

HA HA HA HA HA, I just spit orange juice all over my keyboard. Maybe in a couple of months when Pam is done w/Rick Paris can have him back. I understand he's quite the documentarian (is that a word?).

Posted by: jes | October 16, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I don't think I filled out as much paperwork when I bought my house as I did when I adopted my dogs. They wanted references and the right to visit my home, though they never did. I find it rather funny that someone with a few grand can walk into a pet store and buy a dog out right and yet in order to adopt a dog from a shelter, for a couple hundred bucks, you have to basically go through an FBI background check, only more thorough.

Also, I love Sean Penn's quote.

Posted by: jake e. poo | October 16, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

When did Lauryn Hill have a third and fourth child? I'm really behind the times I only knew about the first two.

Posted by: petal | October 16, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

-Most animal organizations mean well but I think some of the people who run them are whack jobs, and that includes PETA.

- I think Paris is really visiting Rwanda as a potential market for her various projects (clothing line etc)than for humanitarian reasons.

Posted by: Lisa1 | October 16, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I think the whole thing surrounding the dog and Ellen is ridiculous. 'EP' said it best... Britney can do what she wants with her kids and nothing happens for years and Ellen is sweet enough to bless the kids with a sweet dog and gets trashed everywhere on the web. Whatever. Everyone who has seen anything on Ellen knows she loves animals so much and would never give a dog to an unsafe home. It is ridiculous how people think dogs are on the same level as humans.

Posted by: Mama | October 16, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I lurve Sean Penn!

Posted by: other irish girl | October 16, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

First - who knew Colin Farrell was such a decent guy? What a fabulous Dad.

Second - the Ellen/Dog thing. I totally sympathize.

A few years ago, my husband and I adopted a 3 year old dog a no-kill rescue organiztion in the DC area.

We were shocked when - after going through several interviews/visits at the facility and a home inspection - we were told we couldn't use the collar we purchased. We had to use one of THEIR collars with THEIR identification on it...because he was THEIR dog. And they would check up with us in a few months to make sure he was still wearing it! That should have been a tip off on how they would react when we ultimately had to return him about 6 weeks later.

While docile, slow and sweet in the rescue facility, he turned into an alpha-male, escape artist and counter-jumper extraordinaire who started to bite at us once he got over the shock of his move. We began to realize why he had been found as a stray.

The rescue organization actually criticized me and gave me a lecture on how I wasn't obviously responsible enough to own a dog. This despite the fact I presented them with a diary of my own observations on his behaviour, vet records and medications, and an analysis by the obedience trainer I was working with who said the dog wasn't at all trustworthy. (The trainer actually was the one who convinced me to give the dog up - she said while it was noble I wanted to give a rescue dog a home, for all the time, money, pain and effort I would have to put into the dog to make him even moderately trustworthy we should get a puppy we could mold from day one)

As for not being responsible enough to own a dog? Tell that to the vets I have now that minister to my well-behaved Bulldog and they'd laugh you out of their office. Ditto my neighbors, who laugh that some children aren't cared for as conscientiously as my dog.

These facilities are a little insane, I've decided. While I would adopt a traditional, older "pound dog" in a minute, I don't think I would go back to one of these rescue agencies. I think sometimes they are blind to the fact that some of their dogs are actually in rescue for a reason. And while it's admirable that they want the dogs to go to a good home, they have to realize they are not the only judges of character in the universe.

They just shot themselves in the foot. No other celebrity will probably get a dog from them in coming years.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | October 16, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

does Britney really drive at night with sunglasses on?

i'm just sayin'

Sean Penn has growed up good.

Posted by: b | October 16, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"Most animal organizations mean well but I think some of the people who run them are whack jobs, and that includes PETA."

Well said, Lisa1. I've known PETA members over the years who were responsible, reasonable and broad-minded animal advocates. I've also met a few who were clearly a couple sandwiches short of a picnic basket, given their extremist views.

Posted by: niceFLguy | October 16, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I was all set to adopt a dog from a rescue, but when they asked for the anal probe, I was outta there!

Posted by: Pompous Magnus | October 16, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I can totally sympathize w/ Ellen & the Can't-Keep-Things-In-Perspective animal rescue people.
I once inquired about adopting a cat from a rescue organization. Because my other cat had been declawed (he was like that when I got him) I was deemed an animal abuser. They told me they would rather the cat spend his whole life in a small cage watinig to be adopted than go to an abusive home such as mine.

Posted by: jlr | October 16, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

As someone who works in rescue, I am dismayed that Ellen violated her contract (a legally binding document). We have our contracts for a reason: To make sure that the animals we rescue go to loving, permanent homes. The hairdresser and family may, indeed, be loving, committed pet owners, but there's a reason we have the adoption process and contract. Do they know how much it costs to care for a dog? How much time and energy it takes to train them? What behaviors would they accept? What training methods would they use? These are all questions we ask. Had Ellen contacted Mutts & Moms and explained the situation (not working out in her home but would be perfect for the other family) I have no doubt the rescue group would have worked with them to facilitate the adoption.

Please don't blame every rescue group for the idiosyncrasies of a few. Millions of homeless pets are placed in loving, permanent homes every year because of the work we do. I would bet that 99% of the families who adopt from us are happy with the results. Unfortunately, it's the 1% that gets the attention.

Posted by: Catlady | October 16, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Once the adoption is complete, the dog becomes the property of the new owner. Yes, they are property, get over it. To say that Ellen cannot now pass the dog along to the new loving family with children is like telling someone who bought a lovely piece of jewelry you have to return it to the store when you die, you can't leave it to your heirs. Once ownership has passed, it has passed. Ellen was doing a GOOD thing here. Why make it so hard to do good?

Posted by: ep | October 16, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

There are a lot of sick, sick, sick people out there who abuse animals, and that's why there is so much work involved in letting someone adopt an animal (and not just in California, either). If only pet stores were so responsible.

Now, if only the royals would stop shooting defenseless animals for fun. Surely they can think of something else to do with their copious money and free time. Shoot clay pigeons if you feel the need to express your manhood by firing at things, for crying out loud.

Hooray for boring! I love Jennifer Aniston and it's so refreshing to hear about someone with values, a head on her shoulders and her private parts appropriately covered.

Posted by: Californian | October 16, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

The driver's seats of all of Brit's cars must be gross beyond belief, as there she is again without pants.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 16, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Sean Penn giggles?? ??

Posted by: me | October 16, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Colin Farrell's son does not have cerebral palsy. He has Angelman's Syndrome, a genetic disorder. Please get your facts straight.

Posted by: journalist | October 16, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Colin Farrell's son does not have cerebral palsy. He has Angelman's Syndrome, a genetic disorder. Please get your facts straight.

Posted by: journalist | October 16, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

When the Britney mug shot is released we'll see a picture of her hair's current length without the bad wigs.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 16, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Maybe you could have Stephen Hunter's entire 10/16 column as your "Say what?"

Whassup with that?? What is THAT supposed to say?? Do I have to be a dirty old man to get it?? And in the Washington Post... I know he's a big Hollywood screenwriter now but HUH???

Posted by: Huh??? | October 16, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Animals aren't defenseless. They just don't have guns.

Posted by: Stick | October 16, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Look, I work for a rescue group, and if the rescue group had just let this one go then no one would ever respect these contracts. It would also kill any chance of legal action they might have (it would be implied consent).

These types of groups work really hard to try to be sure these animals, which have already been abandoned at least once, go into a forever home. We work very hard to be sure we don't adopt to people who will just abandon or kill the animals we rescue.

But if someone adopts from one of us, signs a binding and legal contract, then just decides to ignore that contract, then they should be accountable.

Now, that being said, the family should try to work with the rescue group to adopt that dog. There is no reason they can't fill out the application, do the interviews and home inspections, then pay the adoption fee and sign a new contract and get the dog back. I am quite sure the adoption group never told them they couldn't do that.

The issue was that they initially refused to return the dog to the rescue group. So the group had no choice but to enforce its contract through any legal means necessary.

Honestly, only people who have never worked in rescue and seen the effects of abandonment and poor ownership would think that Ellen was in the right.

Posted by: mwalkerg | October 16, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

EP-the fact that you see a living creature in the same light as a hunk of metal and rock says a lot about the kind of person you are. You are exactly who we don't want to end up with one of our rescues because you will "get rid" of an animal that damages something you paid more for.

Posted by: mwalkerg | October 16, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

thanks for judging me based on what the LAW says. I noticed you keep referencing legal binding contracts for why Ellen was a terrible person. You can't have it both ways.

Posted by: EP | October 16, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

mwalkerg, you make a lot of good points, but what makes me angry is that this rescue group really dropped the ball on this. Instead of going to these people's home with a cop (as reported on TMZ), they should have arrived with the application and conducted the adoption process on the spot. More than likely these people would have passed the test and then there would have been no need to separate the children from their pet. If you are unable to care about their feelings, think about the fact that this had to be traumatizing for the dog, as well. He hadn't done well in his home with Ellen, and was finally in a home with people who loved him - only for him to be moved yet again.

Yes, they should enforce their contracts, but they should do it in a way that is best for everyone involved. What exactly did they accomplish here other than to generate tons of negative publicity for themselves and rescue groups in general? Oh yeah, they also probably will see a massive reduction in donations. Way to go, Mutts and Moms. Did you seriously think this situation wouldn't make the news and reflect poorly on you? Would it have killed you to speed up the adoption process with these people? If they had done that, the publicity would have been positive, it would have shown rescue groups as being conscientious, and money and adoption offers would have poured in.

Posted by: Katzndogz | October 16, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

mwalkerg - I understand your point. But sometimes these organizations get way, way too caught up in things. They become so rigid and obsessive with procedure that they become counter-productive. Somebody, somewhere, should have just let common sense, and not rigid rules, guide their actions.

Posted by: Lacie | October 16, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

If adoption groups put all of these hurdles to adopting a pet, I fear that lots of people will just say f*** this, and go buy a puppy.

Posted by: Nelson | October 16, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Also how many people adopt puppies and then abuse them? Isn't this "protect the animal" really something of a paper tiger?

Posted by: Lacie | October 16, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

to mwalkerg:
I think you perfectly illustrate why some people have problems with animal rescue fanatics.
Take a small bit of info and make a HUGE assumtion with it.
Animals are a part of the family, but they are also, legally, property.

Posted by: jlr | October 16, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Lacey - many people do. Senator Frist even bragged about adopting animals from rescue groups to use in medical experimentation when he was a med student. Don't delude yourself into thinking that kind of thing only happens once in a while. It happens quite often. We in rescue groups see it so much that many of people who work in this area burn out very quickly.

And I agree with everyone that it would be best for the dog to be adopted by the family, but again, I believe they started by refusing to cooperate with the rescue group.

And as far as contractual obligations go, the rescue group actually has to take possession of the animal back before it can legally sign it over to a new adopter. We recently had this issue. And while our group did go to the home to have them fill out the application and do the home check, we had to have a picture of a member of our board holding the animal so that we had proof that we had "taken it back."

And EP, I understand what you are saying about how the law defines animals (except in San Fran) and how those of us who actually care about them define them. There is a disconnect. However is not with those of us who actually care about them as living creatures but with those making laws.

And in the end even lawmakers see the difference, otherwise we wouldn't be able to require the return of the animal. As you say, if someone bought anything else they would then have the right to do whatever they wanted with it. But the law tells us that we can require the return of the animal if the adopter can't care for it. Our contract, which clearly states this, was vetted by lawyers. So even the law distinguishes between a dog and a couch.

And for anyone who said it is easier to adopt a child than a pet, I understand they are trying to make a point, but be real! As someone who works with a pet rescue and has a sister that has adopted 3 children, I can tell you in no uncertain terms that the hoops you have to jump through (and the money you have to spend) for a child is much, much worse. And you certainly aren't allowed to just give the children away to some other family because they don't get along with another member of your household.

Trust me when I say I know there is a difference between children and pets, but both are dependent on us for their very life. We made dogs and cats this way. Until we start to respect that responsibility we will always have too many strays desperate for a home through no fault of their own. And we will have people working with rescue groups that have become so depressed by this that sometimes they are maybe a little harsh with offenders.

Thanks. Sorry for the long rant. I am a bit frustrated with the current attitude toward people who dedicate their lives to helping animals in need by doing rescue work

Posted by: mwalkerg | October 16, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

EP: Yes, the LAW says animals are property. However, the law also says if you sign a contract, you're beholden to it. If you bought that piece of jewelry with a contract that said you were to return it rather than bequeath it, you would be legally required to do so. Fight it in court if you want.

Lacie: Is it a paper tiger? We hope that the vast majority of pet owners love and care for their animals to the end of their days. We're not necessarily talking about people who go home and kick the dog. But what about the family that leaves the dog in the backyard 24/7? Or lets the cat roam DC's streets, perhaps without being spayed or neutered? What if a person can't afford routine vet care at $60 to $120 per appointment, let alone catastrophic care? Is declawing an abusive procedure? What about debarking?

Those of us who work in rescue have our own contract with the cats, dogs, rabbits, horses, elephants, rats, even snakes that we take into our care: to find them loving, safe, permanent (keyword, there) homes where they will be reliably cared for to the end of their days.

Posted by: Catlady | October 16, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Hi jlr,

No big assumptions, I based my reply on direct comments.

For a long time African Americans were legally property, as were children.

Just because it is law doesn't mean it is right. It just means that we aren't enlightened as we like to think we are.

So this is what rescuers fight with every day. This pervasive attitude that animals are like lamps - if you don't like it you can just throw it away.


Posted by: mwalkerg | October 16, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I am hoping you are not lumping many of us here into "animals are like lamps" category.
I don't think most people are like that, and that is where our opinions differ.
I think most pet owners do right by their pets. To me, it sounds like you think most pet owners are awful to their pets.

Posted by: jlr | October 16, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I have great respect for people who volunteer to take care of abused and abandoned animals. I am talking about counterproductive zealotry. For example, just what part of a home inspection insures that a pet won't be sold for medical research? And, I'm sorry, but stating that unless a person can afford the "routine care" smacks a bit of elitism. Are people really going to insist on seeing your bank account before letting you take home a puppy?

My overall point is that if over-zealot, though well meaning, people make the system too difficult people will simply avoid adoption agencies altogether.

Posted by: Lacie | October 16, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

And what about de-clawing - is this abuse? And how can you tell if someone is going to leave their dog out 24/7 - by the way they look? Or where they live?

I have adopted dogs and hope to again, but if pushed too hard I might simply go to a reputable breeder.

Posted by: Lacie | October 16, 2007 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Declawing is both mutilation and abuse, and some countries (such as the UK) have outlawed it for years. Most vets in the U.S. will not perform it as it is so inhumane and painful -- it's not like clipping nails, it's removal of the digit all the way to the first joint.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 16, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Hi again jlr,

I agree with you (though it may not seem like it) - most people do right by their pets (some would even say a great number go overboard).

And I agree that it is only a small number of people that are truly abusers.

Unfortunately when you work in rescue you see way too many of these people in the latter group (hazard of the trade).

But I thank you for reminding me that it is a small number - it is too easy to get sucked down into the "people suck" mud when you work rescue. I need to remember how many wonderful people are out there.

Posted by: mwalkerg | October 16, 2007 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Hi Lacie,

Just as there are really only a small number of abusers out there, I think you have to agree that there are only a small number of zealots working in rescue. Unfortunately they give everyone a bad name. But most that work in rescue truly care about both the animals they rescue and the families they hopefully will become part of. I feel it is unfair to lump all rescuers into the zealot pile (just as I had to unclench and stop lumping all adopters into the abuser pile).

Posted by: mwalkerg | October 16, 2007 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Agree mwalkerg. The people I adopted my dog from were wonderful. They sat me down and briefly talked to me about why I was adopting. They gave me a nice brochure and encouraged me to get my dog spayed. (Yes, I know technically you don't spay a "dog.") Which, of course, I did. In return I paid a modest fee.

Much more than that, I assert, becomes what I would consider to be unacceptably intrusive.

My dog and I have been companions for nearly a decade now.

Posted by: Lacie | October 16, 2007 7:24 PM | Report abuse

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