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Posted at 10:42 AM ET, 10/18/2007

Outrage Over Iggy, but Not Brit's Kids?

By Liz Kelly

Britney Spears carries son Jayden James in September. (AP/

As the controversy over Ellen's pound puppy, Iggy, continues to unfold I can't help but compare this case of puppy love gone wrong to another custody case originating from the general 90210 area: the question of who will ultimately retain primary custody of Sean Preston and Jayden James Federline. And, measuring the relative public outrage sparked by the two cases I can only assume that SPF and JJ would have a better chance of tugging on our heartstrings if they grew tails and wore collars (hush you).

For anyone who hasn't been paying attention, a quick rundown of each case:

SPF & JJ Federline: A judge removed Britney Spears's sons from her care and handed them over to ex-husband Kevin Federline in September. Pending several hoops through which Spears must jump (including counseling and regular drug testing), she may or may not get her kids back. We watch, sickly fascinated, occasionally pausing to shake our heads at the fate of the two boys.

Iggy: Ellen adopted doggie from a rescue organization. Doggie didn't get along with Ellen's existing cats so Ellen gave the dog to her hairdresser, violating her adoption agreement. Dog was removed from hairdresser's family, causing children to cry and sparking MASSIVE public backlash. Rescue org. president now receiving death threats.

Why is it that a dog (adorable though he is) draws from us a level of outrage that -- like Ellen's tearful public plea for Iggy's return -- seems a bit outsized? And, at least to someone who has been following the children caught in the Spears/Federline custody battle for the past month I find myself uncomfortably ashamed that our reaction to their fate has been more of the "oh well, that's showbiz types for ya" variety.

We've been conditioned by years of animal propaganda -- from kitten posters to Animal Planet's annual Puppy Bowl -- to revere animals. And I am more susceptible than most to the heartstring-tugging produced by animals in adversity. A childhood experience with "Watership Down" devastated me for weeks and I haven't seen most Disney movies (including "Bambi" and "Dumbo") because I get too emotional when faced with animals in peril.

But I have to step out of my animal-loving self momentarily to ask: Where is the outrage for Sean Preston and Jayden James? We watch as these children endure hordes of paparazzi tracking their ping-pong visits between parents and as those parents display every indication that neither is equipped to rear them. Last month, when the judge removed the children from Britney's care we collectively shrugged and we'll likely shrug again when they are inevitably uprooted and returned to Spears.

We can assume that Sean Preston and Jayden James will eventually grow past the level of helplessness that pets never lose in our estimation. They have their grandparents to (hopefully) temper the instability of their parentage. They have nannies who (we hope) will provide the daily care and TLC not coming from mom and dad. Yes, they will survive and maybe grow up to be as petty and irrelevant as one or both of their parents. Maybe this is ultimately why we have already hardened our hearts against them.

By Liz Kelly  | October 18, 2007; 10:42 AM ET
Categories:  Hollyweird  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Morning Mix: Threats Over Fate of Ellen's Pup Iggy
Next: Britney Loses Visitation Rights


ah well, people almost always root for the underdog.

Posted by: methinks | October 18, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

interesting commentary. as a dog lover, i was one of those who thought "meh, oh well" about the kids. unfortunate. but i attributed that to not having kids and having a dog instead. i had assumed that had i had kids i'd be more saddened by JJ and SP. huh.

Posted by: not bluto | October 18, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

i agree w/you. the fate of those 2 children appears to be met w/the public's yawning lack of genuine concern. and yet the founder of the rescue group gets death threats. what is that about? our family has 4 dogs that we adopted through rescue groups. each group had a contract we needed to sign. each contract said that if we could not or did not want to keep the dog, we had to return the animal to the organization. one may or may not like that, but it's the agreement made in exchange for the dog. to arbitrarily decide to give the dog away, in violation of that agreement, is self-absorbed. and her crybaby behavior on tv is very off-putting. her actions resulted in the dog being removed and thus, the hairdresser's children feeling sad. the organization was simply following its guidelines. how are those people to blame? ellen doesn't look very smart. she looks selfish.

Posted by: bosox406 | October 18, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I guess people are shocked because Ellen cried and she is normally so perky. I don't know about everyone else, but I'm not in the least bit outraged about the dog, or Ellen or the family that lost the dog.

Not that I'm losing any sleep over Britney's kids either.

Posted by: DJ | October 18, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I don't think it is a matter of "dog" versus "kid", there are kids involved in both cases.

I think it is easier to root for the children in the dog case because they are old enough to plead their case for themselves. I saw one of the kids on TV this morning crying and begging for her dog back. That is hard to resist.

BS's kids are too young to make their own appeals, or probably even understand what is going on.

Posted by: CJB | October 18, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Liz, I'm not sure that the two situations are directly comparable at all. In the case of SP and JJ, the kids were removed from the custody of one trainwreck parent and placed in the custody of another slightly-less-of-a-trainwreck parent. It's sad, but I was actually relieved that someone was focused on getting the kids into a better environment. As far as this dog goes, it's sad that Ellen's hairdresser's kids bonded with the dog and then it was removed from their home, and it would be nice if the adoption agency would bend the rules a little and just let the dog stay where it is, but like you said, she violated the adoption agreement. I guess I'm not outraged in either case.

Posted by: Stef | October 18, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I don't really know much about K-fed except that the mother of his other children says he is a good father, so I am not exactly sure where all the angst about him having custody is coming from?

So he was a back up dancer who married a dumb pop princess and now he has custody of the kids. I never see any pictures of him with the kids in the gossip rags or him with out underwear (thank god) or him falling down drunk, etc, etc. Just because he is a gold digger doesn't make him a bad dad.

Posted by: Irish girl | October 18, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Why no outrage over the kids? Maybe we blame them. Maybe the kids got what they deserved. They made their beds. Let them lie in 'em.

In that same vein, I think the dog misled Ellen. They should both be put to sleep.

Come to think of it, the kids need to go, too. And Brit and K-Fed.

Posted by: byoolin (if he were a Republican) | October 18, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Liz, I think it's because in the Iggy story it's a lot easier to take sides. Further, many people see a simple solution "Free Iggy!!" Also, ironically, because it really is a less important topic, people may feel free to vent without that subconscious fear of being wrong. It's like food fights in academia. They get so violent because the stakes are so small.

And as a fellow lagomorph lover (I have two adopted rabbits) I understand your trauma over Watership Down.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 18, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I'm having a hard time keeping track of who's more messed up. Previous post is a cry for simplicity in the Celebrityverse.

Posted by: byoolin | October 18, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

"My" previous post is a cry, etc., etc., not RDP's. (He seems to have strayed over here from the Achenblog, no doubt bored stiff by two full days of the same topic.)

Posted by: byoolin | October 18, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Bosox: Yes, Ellen violated the contract. But it's not like she took the dog down to the nearest shelter or dropped him off on a street corner - she gave him to a family that, by all accounts, is a perfectly lovely fit for the dog. The rescue organization's response to the contract violation is out of whack with the organization's goal of finding safe homes for the animals. These contracts have an important purpose, I agree. But, by enforcing it in this manner, the rescue organization has both removed a dog from a good situation and has really helped perpetuate the stereotype of the overzealous, irrational animal-rights zealot. In other words, cutting of its nose to spite its face. This would have been a situation where, as available in a lot of contract violations, monetary damages of some sort would have made the same point, but with a happier outcome for all involved.

As for the direct question in this posting, I'm not sure why we feel less outrage for the kids than we do the dog. Maybe we think kids are not as helpless as dogs. Maybe its because we know that, whatever happens, the kids won't be put down. Maybe its the other side of the coin: as much as society loves to worship celebrity, it revels in its downfall.

Posted by: demagirl | October 18, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Well, I hate to say it, but Britney's kids were doomed before they were born, when she was still claiming to be a virgin.

It's unfortunate that her kids will most likely be shuffled back and forth, but honestly, we all know that there are kids who are worse off than they are.

Granted, having two talentless parents whose jobs are now to seek the limelight in any way they can (because they have nothing else to cling to), wasn't their choice, but consider this: we can't really decry this so much since society feeds off of it. If we didn't buy the magazines, read the articles, watch the entertainment shows, then Britney wouldn't have an audience.

Celebritology lists at least one item about Britney everyday, if that stopped, so would the addiction.

As far as the Ellen thing goes, she was wrong for violating the agreement. I swear all celebrities cook stuff like this up because they just want to be in the news. And it's always for self-gain, usually to promote something new they have in the works.

Posted by: J | October 18, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

"Maybe its because we know that, whatever happens, the kids won't be put down."

No, but they can be beat to death, neglected, abused, etc, etc. I don't think this is happening to Brittney's kids, but it happens all the time.

I love animals, but they don't rate as high as kids on my list.

Posted by: Irish girl | October 18, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I am tired of all the people saying, she had a contract, the agency has to follow the rules, blah, blah, blah. Quite frankly, some of the people running these small organizations are completely out of touch with reality, and IMO are NOT doing the best job for the animals.

I had an ugly encounter with a similar adoption organization myself a couple of years ago. I wanted to adopt a couple of kittens. I have been a responsible pet owner my whole life.

I contacted an organization I found online that had kittens, and was shocked with the way they treated me. They were rude and treated me as if I were a criminal for wanting to adopt. The assumption right up front was that I was a bad candidate, and I had to jump through hoops to convince them otherwise.

They had a lengthy, multi-page form to fill out, that asked all sorts of personal questions that I thought were totally out of bounds. They wanted to talk to my prior vet, and when they couldn't get in touch with him, accused me of lying (I hadn't had an animal for a couple of years).

They wanted written statements from everyone in my home about what they would do to support the cats, they wanted to come over and inspect my house, and they wanted to be able to "pop over" for inspections anytime they wanted. They wanted names and addresses of people that would take care of the cats if I took a vacation!

They also had tons of contracts and conditions they wanted me to sign and agree to, some of which I found ridiculous. Needless to say, I told them to take a hike.

I can't imagine any animal getting placed, or anyone being able to meet their exacting standards! It was totally over the top.

The place in the news brought back all those bad memories.

Posted by: CJB | October 18, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

As its been said before, in Ellen's case she was trying to do the nice thing and give the dog to a nice caring family. Britney's case involves her not taking responsibility for her actions. Unlike Ellen, Britney hasn't really made that much of an effort to get her kids back. That is why I don't feel outrage for Britney.

For the Ellen issue, the adoption agency could have avoided this if they had just made the family sign a contract. They would have gotten more money out of the deal and they could have kept the entire matter on the DL to keep people from thinking that they had bent the rules for a celebrity. What saddens me is that the other animals in the shelter might have a hard time getting adopted do to the bad press given to the shelter in this affair.

Posted by: michael | October 18, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what exactly we're supposed to be outraged about w/SPF & JJF. I mean, I think that most viewing Britney's public behavior believe she shouold not be around any children let alone her own. The judge's only alternative then would be to award physical custody to the only other person seeking it, which would be the childrens father. I'm not a K-Fed lover but I don't recall seeing any evidence his partying is being done w/the children present or that he does drugs in front of them or walks around his house naked w/them there.

I guess I save my outrage for the paps who in their rabid attempts to snap Brit Brit never really care that the kids are people and don't deserve that kind of daily trauma.

Posted by: jes | October 18, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Irish girl on this one. Being a dancer-turned-opportunist (and cheesy rapper) does not, in and of itself, make K-Fed a bad father. Maybe he's stepping up and becoming the man that most of us never thought he was capable of being.

Brit-Brit has already shown the world what she's made of and where her children rate among her personal priorities. But until Kevin stumbles, falls, stumbles, falls, stumbles, falls, and throws himself under the bus the way his ex-wife has, I think we have to give the guy the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by: niceFLguy | October 18, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if the rescue group would have reacted differently if Ellen had reacted differently.

Posted by: b | October 18, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Ellen is adopting dogs that she can't take care of and Rosie O'Donnell is fighting for the rights of gay and lesbian foster parents that can't adopt the kids they already care for.

Let's get some perspective people, it's a dog. And a rather scruffy one at that.

Posted by: yellojkt | October 18, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"Being a dancer-turned-opportunist (and cheesy rapper) does not, in and of itself, make K-Fed a bad father."

No, but ditching a pregnant girlfriend (and mother of your other children) to go shack up and impregnate The Virgin doesn't get him in the running for father of the year.

But we'll see what happens. It'll be shoved down our throats whether we want it or not.

Posted by: J | October 18, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

There has been plenty of outrage over Brit's behavior. have we forgotten the picture of her driving with her kid on her lap and chalking it up to being "country" How about the fact that she is doing the bare (pun intended) minimum in trying to get her kids back? How about the hundreds of posts in this very blog about how awful a person/mother/singer she is.

By next week, this whole Iggy thing will be gone, but Brit will always give us something to comment on.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

What's with all the long-windedness...I have to pee.

Anyhow...I saw a poor deer run across the high way this morning and fly in the air when it was hit by oncoming traffic. It made me so sad...and I'm no PETA wimp. I dont know why all the outrage over animals, but I do think someone above said it right. In the case of Ellen, I think it's a simple fix, give the dog back, and it's about the sad kids, not the dog really.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Brit's custody battle has been written about and discussed to exhaustive proportions, and this after most of us were sick of her already. There was even an entire "special Dr. Phil" on the subject.

One or two days talking about a foster dog. Of COURSE someone has to bring up the old argument about animal fans caring more for animals than people. I'm so tired of that one. Makes no sense and doesn't hold merit. There are LOTS of homeless pets out there, and it's nice this issue is bringing it to the public's attention.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Allow me:

1. The children are being supervised under a court-mediated supervision of a divorce case looking for the best interests of the children, giving some assurance to most people that the children will be in decent hands.

2. Some jerk of a dog rescue worker stole a dog from a couple of kids under one of those shady "adoption" agreements that rescue agencies use to claim they still have a legal right to a pet.

Posted by: Joseph J. Finn | October 18, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Brit and Fed's kids are actually under the care of someone who seems to care about them and are in the court system. There has not been any accusations of outright abuse or anything like that and the yseem to be trying to keep the court case out of the headlines as much as possible.

Ellen made a scene of the dispute, and I think it's redrawn out alot of the conflicting emotions people has had over the years concerning Miss DeGenere's.

Posted by: EricS | October 18, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Britney is a fine example of why not everyone should breed.

And sing. Or attempt to sing.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Iggy-gate could have been completely avoided had Ellen been a responsible animal-lover and adopted a shelter dog. I have absolutely no sympathy for people who spend thousands of dollars on designer dogs when there are literally millions of perfectly good pets to adopt from local shelters. Stop the crying and go get the kids another dog - they're like $40 at the shelter - with shots!

As for SPF and JJ, I agree that they were kind of doomed from the start. If we really cared, we'd figure out a way to spay and neuter their parents.

Posted by: Juicy | October 18, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I'm in the minority... I care not one bit about Brit and K-Fed but the custody battle has made me feel terribly sad. I guess its because my daughter was born right around the same time as Brit's first-born, Sean Preston. The whole thing made me think how awful it would be for my little one if my husband and I suddenly divorced (it's a happy marriage and we just celebrated 11 years so that's unlikely) and she had to be shuffled back and forth at such a young age. That kind of instability would be awful for a 2 year old! Not to mention the apparent lack of positive role models in their life, the constant chaos of being surrounded by paparazzi, etc... I am also a dog-lover (I have 2 dogs that have been in the family since our pre-baby life), but this custody case has bothered me MUCH more than the whole Ellen saga.

Posted by: Boca | October 18, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I don't think its so much outrage over the dog itself, but about the dog being taken away from kids that had bonded with it and the way the rescue organization and Ellen D handled it.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Just T. got out at a good time, just like Fez did with Lindsay Cokehead.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Uh, Juicy, the dog was from a rescue shelter called Mutts & Moms, not exactly a designer dog shop. Ellen was being a responsible animal lover. Also the kids had bonded with the puppy, its hard to just replace that with just any other dog.

Posted by: michael | October 18, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Um, michael, I have no doubt that Mutts & Moms is more designer than the West LA SPCA, having been there to adopt my own dogs on more than one occasion. Also, the kids are young enough that they would bond with a new dog fairly quickly - it's not like they're never going to love another pet again. Anyway, my point was she should have gone to a shelter in the first place.

Posted by: Juicy | October 18, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Breaking news: Judge suspends Brit's visitation rights.

Posted by: Wolf | October 18, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Just read on CNN, Brit's lost visitation rights

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Of COURSE someone has to bring up the old argument about animal fans caring more for animals than people. I'm so tired of that one. Makes no sense and doesn't hold merit

Do you mean Liz? It is her blog afterall.

Posted by: Irishgirl | October 18, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

damn, refresh, refresh, refresh.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Stef. The courts are doing what they can to help Brit's kids and protect them from the bigger train wreck parent (Brit), and the rescue organizations are doing what they can to abide by rules that are there for a reason.

Posted by: Californian | October 18, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

In both cases, animals and children are completely at the mercy of adults and should be treated with love,tenderness, and compassion. I feel badly for both the animals and the children such as SP and JJ who have unnecessarily been placed in jeopardy.

I'm just glad that the courts have intervened in the case of SP & JJ and not done the "Oh Mom's a celebrity. Let's keep our hands off" routine. With luck, both boys will grow up relatively unscarred from the trauma of Mom and Dad and having their childhood examined by a curious public. Frankly, I think Brit-Brit needs to put into a mandatory no-release until she gets it kind of parenting & life-skills boot camp.

Posted by: pnina | October 18, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: liz | October 18, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Even when you do adopt an animal from the local shelter, they often have the clause in the agreement that you will return the pet to the shelter if you can't keep them. I feel that the pet's chances are a lot better if the owner can find someone they know and trust to take the pet than to return them to a shelter where, if they are not adopted within a certain amount of time, they are put to sleep.

Posted by: Laura | October 18, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Californian
"...and the rescue organizations are doing what they can to abide by rules that are there for a reason."

And my point is, some of these smaller rescue groups have rules that make absolutely no sense, and do nothing but hinder getting more animals in loving homes.

For example, the Mutts and Mommy group will not adopt small dogs to families with any kids under 14. Seems kind of arbitrary and nonsensical to me. I know several families right now that have both small dogs AND kids under 14. The dogs are not abused, and the kids are learning to love and care for pets.

I am not against some level of screening, and I understand the need. In my area, the humane societies seem to have found a good balance with how much screening to do.

But don't assume that just because an adoption agency has contracts and rules they necessarily make sense or are in the best interest of the animals, or adopters.

There appear to be a lot of what I consider "militant" people running some of these shelters!

Posted by: CJB | October 18, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Damn, why couldn't this be about Iggy Pop? That's why I read it, not to hear about a dumb mutt. BORING.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Yep, Twitney is once again in hot water with the courts. CNN is reporting that full custody of the kids has reverted back to KFed, until further notice, and for reasons not publicly disclosed.

My money says the pop tart failed one of her twice-weekly court-mandated drug tests.

Posted by: MisterBear | October 18, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

"For the Ellen issue, the adoption agency could have avoided this if they had just made the family sign a contract.

The family was not eligible to sign the contract as the agency's policy was not to place an animal in a home with children under 14. Ellen could have avoided the entire situation if she had read and heeded her contract by returning the dog to the agency when it was deemed incompatible with her cats. The agency was just doing what they believed to be the right thing. Appears that a suitable home for the dog has been found already. There is a reason that emotion should not play a part in these matters.

Posted by: BDWESQTM | October 18, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

It's because we don't give two sh**s about a couple of overmoneyed brats who, even if both parents wereith them,would grow up overindulged, pampered and overdeveloped egos and senses of entitlement. Why not ship them back home to live in an actual trailer on welfare to give them something to really cry about? Or let them live my life and I'll take over theirs.

Posted by: Stick | October 18, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

from the cnn story re: britney losing visitation rights, "It is unclear what led to the decision."

maybe calling the judge an "old fart" and getting po'd because he "disrespected" you?

Posted by: methinks | October 18, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

OT -- Deborah Kerr died. What a classy lady and a great actress.

Yikes, and AP is reporting Joey Bishop died. He's the last of the Rat Pack.

Wonder who will be third.

Now, back to dissing Britney, who is a brain-damaged twit.

Posted by: b | October 18, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure these two cases relate at all. In the one with the kids, Britney is clearly self-destructing, has possible drug and mental problems. The kids got moved to the more stable parent while Britney (hopefully) can pull her life together.

It's traumatic, but hopefully the kids are in a better place now and things will resolve.

In the one with the dog, it seems more bureaucratic. Ellen couldn't keep the dog, thought she found a good home for the dog, the kids in the new home bonded with the dog. But since Ellen didn't follow protocol, the dog was removed from its new home.

Is the dog in a better place now? Was anything wrong or lacking where it was before it was removed?

Posted by: cdog | October 18, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Third was Teresa Brewer, the singer. 76 years old.

Posted by: byoolin | October 18, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Why isn't anyone outraged by the removal of Britney's kids? Because Britney's kids are in a more stable home right now. Are you actually saying that we should be outraged the court removed them from her care? I say that we should be outraged it took so long!

Posted by: Go Kfed! | October 18, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

No outrage over the kids? Seriously? It's a common theme in every comment section for every story written about her and on the one message board I frequent.

Posted by: prophet | October 18, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

thanks byoolin -- i forgot about her. great voice.

Posted by: b | October 18, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Underlying your comments is an assumption that we should be outraged/concerned because custodial care has passed from Brittney (the mother) to Kevin (the father) -- as if it was an outrage that a father should get primary custody. Why is that? Are you really as sexist as that? He is, by all rights, a decent enough father to his children -- from either of the women who have borne his sons. I would explore your bias on this a bit.

Posted by: colorado kool aid | October 18, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

What a waste of time to be posting a comment on a dumb subject like this.

Posted by: Slim Pickens | October 18, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

With dogs, we *know* what to do. With kids, who knows where to begin? So we jump in with advice for the dog situation, but the parenting situation? I wouldn't touch that with a fork!

Posted by: mom & dog owner | October 18, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I agree that leaving someone while pregnant is bad, but that has nothing to do with how he interacts with and takes care of his kids.

Oh, and I just saw a video about when the people took Iggy and I have to say that the woman who took him is crazy. It shows the little girl trying to look at the dog while the woman is holding him and the woman won't let her. She actually puts her back to the child. She is an idiot for acting that way. Yeah, rules are rules, but that is no way to treat someone who is innocent in the situation.

Posted by: Irish girl | October 18, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Huh. I guess I just still don't see the parallels in the two situations, so I don't see why we should be expected to respond the same way to the dog thing and to the kids. But I think some commenters here have hit on something: we all feel we are qualified to rant about dog treatment (and, really, the stakes are pretty low - it's a dog, it'll find a home, whatever) but when it comes to other people's parenting, maybe a lot of us really do have the damn good sense to keep our mouths shut.

Posted by: h3 | October 18, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

As a volunteer with one of those "militant" small rescues (we keep 40 dogs at a time, more if we can in foster), I'd like to add a few things.

People like to think they like animals more than humans, I've decided, we all have anthropomorphic tendencies: we like to pretend dogs are little mute people with tails. People come to events and meet my fearful foster dog and attribute all kinds of adjectives to her: worried, sad, beat down, I even joke that she tries to get someone to take her out of there by acting like I beat her. Also, I think people who see abused pets see a faceless evil who put the dogs in a place to be rescued, thereby rallying around the dog. If I had a penny for every time someone asked me, "How could someone do such a thing to an innocent animal," I'd be as rich as Britney herself.

Contrast that to Britney and the boys, and we know who or what the evil is (or so we like to think). The other thing is we think that all the money these boys are privy to will certainly make up for what they lack from their parent(s).

Finally, regarding the contract. Three things. First, the organization should be doing a better job of going over the contract. I go over every section, point out that we have made a commitment to safety, food and shelter to that dog for life, and always assure them we are there to help. Second, Ellen broke her contract. People are upset, but the rescue group was following their rules. Sorry. Finally, my rescue group is always debating whether to adopt to families with small children, or any children at all. Often, the notion of lawsuits comes up. Despite assuming no liability and all that kind of wording in the contract doesn't actually remove us from liability. Some organizations see that and pragmatically don't adopt to families that have children/children<6yrs, etc.

I sure hope this wasn't too serious for this blog! :) If so, just ignore me and move on.

Posted by: kate | October 18, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

That is how it is in America. Kids die and folks shrug it off. Dogs get mistreated and killed and it is a travesty/outrage and there are protest in the streets. As a dog lover ( I have 2) and a Mom, I do like other species do I value my own first. Also, as a meat eater how do these people square the outrage over animals dying. I don't get it.

Posted by: AJ | October 18, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Simple - she signed a contract and if she did not read the details then that is on her. Just because she is a celebrity does that make her able to do the wrong thing when ordinary people who adopt animals (like myself) and adhere to the contracts we signed are held to those rules. I will never watch her show again!

Posted by: CATalina | October 18, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

What a waste of time to be posting a comment on a dumb subject like this.

Posted by: Slim Pickens | October 18, 2007 01:44 PM

This comment was directed at who? or whom? I always forget, but if its such a waste of time, why comment at all?

Posted by: time waster | October 18, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

It's a freakin' dog. It's not like she gave it to Michael Vick. The Iggy story couldn't be less newsworthy.

Posted by: musicgeek | October 18, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I have 2 dogs and no kids, but people assume because I'm single that I treat my dogs as children, I don't. I've never wanted children so why would I treat my dogs as children. I get outraged over any report of animal abuse or child abuse, I do understand are not equal, although I am glad our justice system is taking animal abuse seriously.

Over the last several years pets have become a multi-billion dollar business, especially anything related to dogs, dog spas, over prices accessories, day care. I was at Petsmart last night and still am awed by the overwhelming selection of halloween customs for pets. (I have never dressed my dogs in costumes). Where I live there was a huge karfuffel(sp?) over allowing patrons to bring dogs to outside eating establishments. San Francisco doesn't have dog owners, they have dog guardians. A few weeks ago Amy Dickenson (Ask Amy) was on NPR talking about the prevelance of people taking their dogs to stores, etc. and the number of callers that thought it should be ok was a bit shocking to me. People are spending $10,000+ to build custom made dog houses. Sorry to go on and on.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"It's a freakin' dog. It's not like she gave it to Michael Vick."

Wow, with comments like this, you probably think that it still wouldn't be newsworthy if she had given the dog to Michael Vick. I hope you don't have pets. Maybe even kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I am not a K-fed fan but what makes one think that he is a bad parent?

He is an opportunist. Women have played the role that Federline has played and I don't see the comment sbaout them.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 18, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I love dogs. I love kids. My love of dogs, however, wouldn't preclude me from eating one if I were starving.

My love of kids would.


Posted by: Duane | October 18, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Comparing the 2 stories is like comparing apples and oranges. They are similar in that they both involve celebrities' personal lives, but that's where the common ground ends. I must add that there are a range of 'real' issues that people should be so passionate about, but thats beside the point. That said, the case could be made that the judge had a long list of reasons and sufficient evidence supporting the ruling that Britney's kids be taken out of her custody. Any parent would agree.And while the rescue agency is merely trying to abide by their established rules and safety prescautions, taking a dog out of a safe, loving environment seems a bit harsh-and anyone dog-owner would agree.

Posted by: DonkeyKong | October 18, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I have no issue with Britneys kids. They have a dedicated Dad, who may or may not be a gold digger, but seems to be a passable parent, at least compared to Britney. As for Brit herself, I am hopeful that she will clean up her act in the next few years and will split custody of the kids. I'm not outraged because Britney is ill, and the kids have a Dad to go to and a dedicated outer family who cares.
Iggy is a dog that got taken away from a caring family. I hope the rescue org will do something to at least check if the family is suitable for the dog and if so will return him. I'm not outraged about either. No dead or injured children or dogs, just unhappy people both child and adult alike.

Posted by: Diana | October 18, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I hate to say this, but I saw the interview on the Today Show with the kid in question who lost Iggy the dog and I did not see a kid in mourning over a lost dog. Believe me when we lost our dog suddenly to a car accident, you could not hold back the tears. Granted, my dog will not be returned, but we got another one and my kids couldn't be happier to have another furry friend. I'm sorry that sounds mean, but I got the feeling she was playing for the camera.

This whole thing is blown so out of proportion. Yes, it could have been solved on the DL and I probably would have erred for bending the rules on this one, but a contract is a contract.

Posted by: maxman | October 18, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Maybe what we need to do is make people take classes before they're allowed to have children OR dogs.

Posted by: Kaelinda | October 18, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

As a small point, Ellen herself did not sign the contract, but her significant other did, so it IS legally binding. Of course, so are all of the EULA's that we electronically 'sign' when opening new software. And those EULA's include equally ridiculous stipulations, that anybody would find laughable, but companies put them in there for one reason or another.

How are you the dog 'owner' if someone else has more control over it than you do? You are leasing the animal, and can be told to return it at any time (surprise visit, and they decide you're abusive somehow). From what I've seen, many of these 'rescue' operations are quite full of themselves, and have higher standards for leasing their animals, than for foster parents of human children! Lord forbid you're not as good a person as they think you should be. Not to mention, if they think you are responsible enough to take care of the animal yourself, why do they assume you are completely incapable of finding another good home? Oh yes, you don't OWN the animal, you are only renting.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for ensuring a good home life for their charges, but this woman did no such thing. She claimed to be coming over for a home inspection with the new family, but when she got there, she snatched up the dog, and wouldn't let anyone touch it, even to say goodbye.(if you watch the video, you can see see her deliberately keeping the dog out of anyone's reach, even the littlest girl as she is trying to say goodbye) She states in her contract that she will not lease an animal to any household with children under FOURTEEN, as they are a danger to the animal. FOURTEEN?! My 6 year old can be a little rough, which gets her educated on how to treat animals, but how else is she to learn? This woman had made up her mind before she went, and was intent on hurting that family, and giving the dog to someone else. If she dislikes kids so much, why call her operation Moms and Mutts?!

Posted by: Fred Evil | October 18, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

How about we give Iggy to the Federline and the kids ... then put Britney in the Pound!

Posted by: RichieRich | October 18, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I agree that it's easier for us (the American Public) to take sides on issues about animals than it is about kids. I was at the zoo and saw some dad jerking his kid's arm around to get the kid to behave. I wanted to say something, call the authorities, but I thought "well, maybe its the parent's right to 'discipline' their kid, maybe I have no right to judge in this situation." I see a person jerking a dog around on the other hand, no question, call the ASPCA. Is that an ethical way to approach the world? No, of course not. But for whatever reason we feel more comfortable in our concept of "right and wrong" when it comes to animals than we are when it comes to people.

And to Colorado Kool Aid - I think you are jumping the gun. The situation is tragic because these two children are growing up in an incredibly dysfunctional situation and their mother is publicly demonstrating how low they are on her priority list. Nobody's much a fan of K-Fed, but I think that has more to do with the skeevy persona he put out prior to this point. And I think most people are willing to admit that right now he looks like the lesser of two evils. No daddy bashing here.

Posted by: Omaha | October 18, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Just give the kids to the dog and be done with it! God!

Posted by: Jerry | October 18, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

the two are completely unrelated and it's stupid drawing comparisons. you're talking about the biological kids of one woman who wilds out in public, drinks and drives, and allegedly does drugs and one man who doesn't appear to. now said man has primary custody of his own biological kids. what are we supposed to be mad about? seems to me like the problem's solved.

Posted by: kat | October 18, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I think there is a great deal of outrage over Brit's little boys but there's no place to express the anger. With Ellen's dog, people can call or email the adoption organization and vent to high heaven. Where can people go when they see Brit dragging her kids around enduring the paparrazi so she can have another cup of Starbucks?
At least there is a judge involved in the case of the Federline boys who are making sure that the parents' meet certain criteria in order to keep the boys. Kevin seems to being doing his part, Brit is having a problem. And as one commentor wrote, we don't see Kevin walking around almost naked or exposing the kids to the paparazzi.
Just because, you can't measure the outrage, doesn't mean it's not there.

Posted by: mimi | October 18, 2007 5:19 PM | Report abuse

the problem is, brit and k-fed did not sign a parenting contract. if they had, if we all had to, many kids would be in a shelter.

what if ellen got the dog then adopted a baby? would they take it back?

but separating kids and dogs seems unrealistic. we all know it is usually a kid who wants/needs/benefits from that type of unconditional love.

Posted by: marie | October 18, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I wish that Brit and Ellen would get it on together.

Posted by: diggy zazz | October 18, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, diggy zazz! Thats worse than the Donald and Angelina image from this morning. gross gross gross.

Posted by: Omaha | October 18, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I don't think there is a lack of sympathy for those two babies at all, every tabloid has been screaming of the atrocities they've been living for months, maybe people in general feel everything's been said, repeatedly.

Iggy on the other paw gave ranters a new topic, and true to form those who feel they have something pertinant to say have been raging against the establishment until they can't push anymore keys on their pcs.

Another thought, with lawyers, judges and CPS involved; the public can scream themselves blue and not make any difference. Perhaps our out spoken friends thought they had a voice in Iggy's fate.

Posted by: Mum's the Word | October 18, 2007 7:44 PM | Report abuse

At least keep it to the same species? Why has the media totally ignored what President Bush ordered after Katrina? Reposted from earlier: "President Bush ordered the slaughter of over 50,000 personal pets following Katrina so the residents would have less motivation to return and possibly resettle. Blackwater agents ran out of bullets and shotgun shells shooting all the animals and pets and had to have ammunition shipped in from surrounding States. Read ANY of Bush's transcripts from Aug 28th-Sept 18th 2005......hundreds of dogs were shot while the owners were still holding their beloved companions. The crimes and cover-up committed by the Humane Society were so vast and sickening after Katrina that this organization should be put out of business.

Posted by: Alice | October 17, 2007 10:13 AM

Posted by: Is this true? | October 18, 2007 7:50 PM | Report abuse

No one has "hardened their hearts," Liz. Let's not be melodramatic. SP and JJ already, in their short lives, have enough money to be completely screwed up by their parents and to pay for enough therapy and rehab to get over it, with mansions and Mercedes to spare. And they have, if no one else, a judge who appears to have their best interests at heart. You had me until you dragged Puppy Bowl into it. That's just uncivil.

Posted by: LLL | October 18, 2007 8:08 PM | Report abuse

In the case of Brit & K-Fed, there's a third party involved - a judge. Working from a pre-determined set of legal rules, he's made objective, rational decisions to determine what is best for the kids. In the case of Iggy, there is no third party, just a crazed, biased, and somewhat shady adoption agent determining the fate of a ridiculously cute dog. The fact that they are associated with an upscale pet boutique makes me wonder about their credentials and their objectivity. If the family involved can provide a stable, loving home for the dog, then there shouldn't be a problem.

Posted by: TheLou | October 18, 2007 11:23 PM | Report abuse

So TheLou thinks it's acceptable to sign a contract and then go back on it.

So TheLou thinks that dog agencies don't have a role in vetting potential adoptees.

Sorry, your comment is so biased it's hardly worth thinking about.

Posted by: Julie | October 18, 2007 11:45 PM | Report abuse

The first thing I had difficulty understanding Ms. Kelly is your failure to grasp the public outrage that IS taking place over the Federline children. People are going crazy all over the place!

The second thing I found problematic was your implication that Kevin Federline was not parenting his children. I'd be interested in knowing what you base your conclusion on. The fact that he doesn't use the children for photo ops & fashion accessories doesn't make him a bad parent.

Britney Spears has alleged that her mother has an addiction to prescription pain killers. I'm not convinced that Lynne Spears would be a viable alternative at all.

Posted by: Diana | October 19, 2007 1:36 AM | Report abuse

Maybe it's because we're not mad about Britney getting her kids taken away? I, for one, consider it a good thing.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 19, 2007 3:00 AM | Report abuse

I agree w/Stef's post (waaay upstream). I think Liz's comparison is like apples to oranges. Although Federline children elicit most people's sympathy, I think those same people feel relieved the kids are w/K-fed (the more stable parent of the two) and not w/Britney. As for Ellen's dog, I think the outrage came from the fact that the children of the hairdresser had already bonded with the dog and were upset when it was taken away from them.

Posted by: plamar1031 | October 19, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

to demagirl: it doesn't matter what ellen did w/the dog - she violated the terms of the agreement that says she was to return the dog to the organization from which she adopted it. how hard is that for her or you to understand????? ellen arbitrarily decided to give the dog to someone. the group's requirements prohibit placing a dog in a family w/children under the age of 14. why? because sometimes younger children can harm the dog. we have that exact situation w/the beagle we adopted. the child in the family kept hurting him, whether intentional or not. you don't like those rules? then don't adopt from there - go down to the animal control facility and get a pet there. they don't have those stringent requirements.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 19, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

"'It's a freakin' dog. It's not like she gave it to Michael Vick.'

Wow, with comments like this, you probably think that it still wouldn't be newsworthy if she had given the dog to Michael Vick. I hope you don't have pets. Maybe even kids."

Two wonderful dogs. Love them with all my heart. My life wouldn't be nearly as rich without them. But, come on, a celebrity's dog? A dog? In the headlines? I'm all for celebrities of the human variety serving as a needed break from stories about, say, violence in Burma. But a dog is, to say the least, a bit much. As is your attitude, sir.

Posted by: musicgeek | October 19, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Oh puh-leeze! Ellen gave Iggy to a family she's obviously known for years who already have one dog. Do you really think she would have given the dog to a potentially abusive home?

The owner of the adoption group made it perfectly clear - this is a battle of wills and personalities. Anyone, and I mean anyone, who professes to love animals and want the best for them would have to admit that there was nothing wrong with Iggy's new adoptive home. It's now a matter of vicious spite on her part for not returning the dog.

It's the adoption group's owner who has abused Iggy by shuttling him around and now sending him out of state. So you tell me, who's really the bad guy here? Where's the common sense? The rules were created by her and can be changed by her.

I say shut that dog adoption group down now AND bring it's owner to jail for animal cruelty!

As for Brittany Spears' kids, I think the public are sick to their back teeth of her.
Those kids have family that should have stepped in. It's not a matter for public debate or opinion.

At least Paris Hilton's PR people have been smart enough to keep her ugly face out of the tabloids

Posted by: Dharani | October 19, 2007 7:32 PM | Report abuse

mark my words...
k-fed and shar will be back together once this dust settles with train wreak babymama #2 (britney)
being a gold digger who left his babymama #1 is not a sign of being A BAD DAD..just a little young and immature....
going out in public with no panties, doing drugs and becomming the next anna nicole are signs ofa BAD MOM...said to say if she last out the year living that will be a miricle

Posted by: deja | October 20, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

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