Owner Of Mutts And Moms Dog Rescue Agency Files Police Report After Claims Of Death Threats


The owner of Mutts and Moms dog rescue agency is claiming that she has received death threats after the public has heard the story of Ellen DeGeneres giving an adopted dog, Iggy, away to her hairdresser and her two daughters, ages 11 and 12.

Marina Baktis, the owner of Mutts and Moms, said that DeGeneres violated the organization’s policy by giving Iggy away to another family without notifying them. Baktis then took the dog away from the hairdresser.

Despite DeGeneres’ pleas, Baktis refused to give back the dog because she violated her agreement with the agency. Also the shelter said it has a policy of not giving puppies to families with children younger than 14.

Baktis said, “If Ellen wants to start her own rescue group then she can decide where the dogs go. Who is she to say who is a good home and whose not? And who is she to say where I should place my animals and how I should do this? I don’t tell her how to run her show.”

On “Good Morning America”, Batkis’ lawyer played a message that he said is from a DeGeneres public relations representative.

The voice mail said: “We’re filing a legal case against you. We’re going to be contacting the media. This is not going to be good for your store or your organization.”

Batkis stated that she would not return Iggy because of the way she has been treated by DeGeneres. She also said she has received death threats and is afraid for her safety. She filed a police report with the Pasadena Police Department last night.

DeGeneres stated on her show today, “This has become so insane. It’s not even, it’s just just the dog just needs to go to the family. It’s like the fight should … not be about anything. It just needs to be in a good home. That’s all you’re supposed to do is put a dog in a loving home.”

Source: ABC News, TMZ

130 Responses to “Owner Of Mutts And Moms Dog Rescue Agency Files Police Report After Claims Of Death Threats”

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  1. Vicki says:

    I applaud you for your great work. I will never watch Ellen again. What a sad commentary for a public figure. I recall her having other dogs and saying on her show how she had to get rid of them for one reason or another.

    Keep up the good work! Hope Iggy has a great home.!

  2. Bridgett says:


    I totally agree with you. That thought hit me too when I found out how quickly she had placed the dog. Someone was waiting for that dog. Considering how long it usually takes to place a dog???? Something underhanded it going on here.

  3. Flamin says:

    I agree with you Lynn, this is why I don’t call M&M’s a pet rescue, but a pet business.
    “Wish someone would contact the woman M&M stalked before and find out what she had to do to get her newly adopted [from them] dog back.”

    I have a feeling we will be hearing a lot more from that woman, and how many others, that has had experiences with M&M’s. I wonder how many pets were reported as ” lost or stolen” that got placed from M&M’s too.

  4. straybaby says:

    Flamin’, I don’t know how to do a direct link on archives, but it’s under how to adopt>3. what dog is right for you?

    i learned about web archives during the Pet Food Recall and ChemNutra changed their site ( i was shocked a business would pull that crap SO publicly!!) so on Tuesday after the M&M site went down, i did some cruising. I didn’t get past the fact they were boarding dogs for up to a year or 2 to hit on the kids thing. good catch!

    those kids had already been living with a small dog for 2 yrs, so one would think they would be fine with a small breed puppy. i’d be more likely to adopt a small pup to children their age vs pre-k and k. and i might be hesitant adopting a larger dog to the very young also. it all depends on the dog(s) and the children.

  5. Krista says:

    Sounds like you give up alot with these contracts. Glad to know about this fine print as I would never sign something like that. What happens five years down the road when someone becomes sick and can no longer take care of their adopted pet? God forbid… Can’t give it to your sister? Must give it back to the shelter? Absurd…

    I always thought that once a shelter places an animal they have turned over the entire care, not just part of it, all in good faith to a new home and they are happy about it.. That’s why they screen in the first place, isn’t it?.. I never gave a thought as to a shelter saying I was okay for decision making in all other areas for the pet but not capable of finding a new home if necessary… So why have this clause for returning if you think the new owner is incabable of caring for that aspect should it arise? Certainly they aren’t putting in clauses about what vet to use, where to send for day care, food to feed, boarding, how long you can be gone on vacation, etc.. Are they? I’m just curious and maybe some of the rescue people here can answer.. How long till the return to sender part of the contract runs out? One year, two, five? How long?

  6. Realist says:

    If someone adopted a child and then gave it away a few weeks later it would only be the fault of the adopter.

    How is this any different? Regardless of what has snowballed the initial reason for interference was that a rule had been broken.

    And give me a break with all the “baktis doesn’t give a sh*t about animals” talk. You do not know her any more than you know Ellen so stop blabbering on and go rescue some animals yourselves.

  7. Bridgett says:

    Krista’s response is exactly what Mutt’s and Mom’s has done to rescue movement as a whole. People are now going to think twice before they sign on the dotted line. No one wants to have a beloved pet ripped out of their home because of some perceived infraction of a contract.

  8. Flamin says:

    Thanks Straybaby, I found it!
    I agree, it should be an individual home assessment , large or small dog with children. Some larger dogs can knock over a child wile playing, and some children can play rough with small dogs. A home study is always a good tool when placing any animal. I think if M&M’s did a home study with Ellen and the cats in the first place, all this drama would have been avoided.
    Could Baktis be evaluated under CA laws to see if she is fit to have a pet rescue/dog business? Near where I live there have been a few of the so called pet rescues shut down in Snohomish county that were horrible places! Not rescues at all, but dog mills, sold, resold, living in terrible conditions. I don’t know but after watching Baktis, and looking at her high covered chain link fences, the way she acted when the TV crew tried to see the yard, it just creeped me out!

  9. straybaby says:

    “How long till the return to sender part of the contract runs out? One year, two, five? How long?”

    generally, it never runs out. that said, it is put in contracts to protect the pet from ending up in a shelter or abandoned. not so rescuers can go play pet snatcher (unless the animal is being abused in the legal sense etc). the dogs i’ve independently placed have this in their contract. but they are in homes that have owned the breed in the past and also have family that owns or has owned the breed or dogs. i trust that their friends and family are equally capable to handle one of these dogs IF they (the original adopter) feel they can. If i got a call that one of my adopters could no longer care for their dog and would like to rehome it with a close friend or family member, i would want to check it out. but i would prob go into it feeling that is probably a correct placement. and might also be best for the dog, especially if the dog is already familiar with them. i know one of the dogs would prob go to the pet sitter if something happened to the owner. the owner brought the pet sitter with her to meet the dog (pet sitter had also cared for her previous dog). i wouldn’t have a problem with that. many people do make plans for their pets if something happens to them (not enough do though!), and i think most reasonable rescues would respect that (and be happy about it). but that clause does give the dog somewhere to go in case it wasn’t predetermined and family/friends can’t take the pet(s) some rescues will even take companion pets with the one they adopted in that situation.

    the clause in the contract should not be a scary thing for an adopter in general. just make sure if a pet is chipped, it’s in YOUR name as the primary owner (NOT second contact!) and it’s kept UTD with current info including phone number changes etc. also, everyone should have a copy of their vet records at home in case of emergency along with current rabies certificate and city license, a must have for disasters and emergencies, but also could be handy with a high and mighty rescue. see a vet right after you adopt also (should be done any way!).

  10. Flamin says:

    repost of ASPCA statement. It Makes good sense to me!


    NEW YORK, October 17, 2007—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today responded to media reports and overwhelming public inquiries regarding the situation of Iggy, the dog adopted by Ellen DeGeneres from the Los Angeles-based rescue group Mutts & Moms, who was recently removed from Ms. DeGeneres’ hairdresser’s home after the rescue group learned of the re-homing that was conducted without its knowledge or prior approval as specified in its adoption contract.

    Said ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres, “Ms. DeGeneres’ love and concern for animals has become practically iconic. As such, we have the utmost respect for her actions in trying to provide loving homes for animals in need—she sets a great example for not just other celebrities, but the entire American public.”

    “We also understand the point of view of Mutts & Moms. Several shelters, including our own, have similar language written into their contracts that essentially function as a safety net for the animals they adopt out, so that adopters know they can always bring the animals back in case the adoption doesn’t work out. With an estimated five to seven million companion animals entering shelters every year, the last thing any responsible shelter wants to see is the unnecessary euthanasia of pets.”

    All shelters in the United States function as independent entities, each with their own specific adoption policies. “Had a similar situation been encountered with an ASPCA adopter,” said Sayres, “and had the new home met our adoption criteria, in all likelihood we would have encouraged the new home environment for the animal. Furthermore, the ASPCA applauds those who provide responsible pet care by providing veterinary needs—such as spaying or neutering—behavior training, as well as providing the animal with a safe and loving home.

    “We would encourage Mutts & Moms to re-visit their approach to this situation and look forward to a positive outcome that reinforces the importance of pets in our society and the human-animal bond.”

    All M&M’s Baktis had to do was evaluate the home, (Ellen’s home too ), of the New family, instead of bulldozing her way into the home with a policeman under false pretenses not to do a home study, but snatch Iggy.

  11. Bridgett says:

    ASPCA has spoken. ‘Nuff said.

  12. Jenny Bark says:

    Msnbc just said that Ellen has again (2nd time) asked her fans not to make death threats & she will not talk about Iggy until the kids get him back.

    You all know i’m for Ellen & we all have the right to our opinion but have you all read some of the other posts. Not the posts you can tell are from rescuers or shelters or on pet sites but the ones from all the other people. Imo they are all for Ellen. This story has reached million’s of people & they have a lot to say. Imo they don’t see Ellen they see themselves, they don’t see the hairdresser’s kids they see their kids.

    I think this is going to affect the adoption of pets a lot. You all know we lost 2 babies & we have been thinking of getting an older dog & this has made the decision of where to get it very hard. We have gotten dogs from the shelters & they have never called back or inforced a contract. We also have pb show dogs that our breeder will take back but we also can find our own home for them. Our cat was wild. Since we are not showing we where going to get from a shelter but we will NOT co-own. Our babies are just that our babies period. They are also taken care of in our will just like our human kids. When we die they have a home to go to. I called our lawyer & he said we where safe but after reading the posts on pet sites I’m not so sure.

    What I’m getting at is if we are not sure how do you think other people feel who only want to get a pet & are now finding out they can be taken back & they really only co-own them?

  13. straybaby says:

    thanks for postin that flamin’! i hadn’t seen it.

    the shelters i’ve worked with here do encourage the pets coming back to them in their contracts (but it is sad when they do.) the alternative is they land in the city kill shelter and for some reason the original adopting shelter doesn’t get notified before it’s too late. luckily we have been working towards no-kill, so if a pet is chipped and no owner can be located, they can trace where the chip originated. and they do. still not fool proof though. we did have one pup end up in a socal kill shelter. luckily they always did once last scan before euthing in case it was missed. . . . .

  14. Jenny Bark says:

    If you adopt a child you do not co-own it, that child belongs to you.

  15. Flamin says:

    Oh no, update on Fox News, and TMZ. Ellen stopped tapping of her show, needed time off. Taping of her show to resume Tuesday. Comments on News people concerned Iggy has not been seen. Concerned Baktis rehomed the dog way to fast, causing suspitions as to the whereabouts of Iggy. I hope this doesn’t end worst then it already has!

    Baktis didn’t react professionally in this matter, if she is unstable, would she, could she hurt the little dog? Why dosent Ca animal control, humane service whoever look into Iggy’s whereabouts!

  16. Flamin says:

    Reading now,

  17. Phoebe says:

    Sophia says:
    October 18th, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    “Get a grip! ………….

    Huh? This is ridiculous. Ellen’s partner is a well-known actress. Why in the world would you suggest that the rescue is homophobic? Are you trying to create more rumors? If so, this is really a stretch…….

    You are not making any sense here. Are you implying that Batkis’s lawyer is a liar? Why so? Or are you saying you think the lawyer sent the message? Either way, you are making some outrageously stupid remarks.”

    You’re the one who needs to get a grip. Am I “trying to create more rumors?” Ooo, you caught me. I’ve got Entertainment Tonight on hold. They really care what we have to say and can’t wait for the latest rumor to sprout. Puh-lease.

    I’m not impling anything. I’m stating that the lawyer doesn’t know who left that message. He’s assuming and speaking on national television about his assumptions. If I was DeGeneres or her PR people, I wouldn’t dignify such an allegation with a response. As for the death threats against Batkis, we’re taking her word for those, too. The same word that gave false information to the police in order to get them to help her intimidate the hairdresser and her two young daughters and help her steal Iggy. Oh, yeah, good call on trusting that word.

    As for Ellen, her partner, and Batkis’ motivations, again, I said I was wondering. People do that when circumstances warrant it and these most certainly do. Batkis railed, “I won’t let the Ellen DeGenereses of the world get away with this.” She said it. She needs to explain it. Not that she’s believable. She violated her own rules when adopting Iggy out without a home inspection, yet it’s “the Ellen DeGenereses of the world” who are trying to “get away” with something. Oh, no, nothing personal there - except deep animosity and this was said BEFORE any threats or backlash. So, why the spewing?

    And, hate to burst your bubble, but there’s a whole world of people who wouldn’t know Portia de Rossi, Ellen’s partner, from a hole in the ground. It seems Batkis might be one of those. She adopted Iggy out to Portia, yet she’s going after Ellen. The one who didn’t sign any legal papers regarding Iggy. Interesting. Going after the one with the deeper pockets, no doubt. I smell a lawsuit for emotional ‘distress’ in the future. Batkis is wringing her hands on-camera as often as possible. Obviously her response to self-reported threats is to make herself even MORE visible. Her lawyer knows exactly what he’s doing.

    As for your charming comment about my “outrageously stupid remarks…” Well, I guess you cemented your credibility right there, didn’t you? Good for you.

  18. Scratch says:

    I would love to see M&Ms actual adoption contract. Anyone have one with the personal information blacked out?

  19. Krista says:

    I could never co-own a pet with anyone and I consider myself an excellent pet parent after a lifetime of doing so.

    It goes against my nature to have the possibility of another person telling me what to do with my pet (on any matter) that I have loved and cared for. Or someone that monitors me. Can you imagine what happens should someone move out of state? Will that be next?

    I just can’t believe this invasive rule would follow me around for years and years.. Quite frankly that contract clause (for me personaly) it’s a smack in the face to my intelligence and capability. I don’t like it.. Initial screening should determine everything..

  20. arianna howard says:

    I think ellen made a mistake but mutts and moms are real jerks they are all twisted over nothing and just to be crappy they are punishing those little girls I HOPE THEIR BUSINESS DOES FALL APART they are just plain mean and that attorney is a slime

  21. caesar says:

    I highly disapprove of Mutts and Moms, Marina Batkis and Vanessa Chekroun’s actions. They acted on impulse with vengeance on the goodhearted-ness and best interest between a celebrity and deserving children; not with empathy or forethought. In researching the web, PETA, Humane Society, BBB, and SPCA historical information, these owners have not proven themselves respectful or caring. In fact they show spite, more than anything. Reviewing everything to date re. Marina. She still doesn’t show any emotion for the human bond between animal and a well deserving family. A reasonable human would not act on impulse driven by a bogus contract but allowed time for review and reasses the situation. A responsible business owner would have responded by now to the media, attorneys, and press with a RESOLUTION and not hiding and REACTING with negativity. When one appears as a villain one would naturally want to disarm the situation; not in this case. Nothing on the news has touched me in such a way that i would be actually reaching out and being an activist.
    This is Marina’s quote: “Celebrities you know, they, they get preferential treatment. They have lots of money. They go into a restaurant they get a table.”
    Look close at her glasses >. I try not to be judgemental but something doesn’t seem right.

  22. Lynn says:

    Re the last paragraph of the last post:

    And recognizing this, Marina took advantage and charged twice the usual fee, as I understand it.

    She speaks with forked tongue.

  23. The Lioness says:

    So, Baktis has essentially admitted, semi-publicly (it’s out via the media now,) that she rehomed the dog elsewhere just out of spite. NICE.

    Good luck getting your business out from under this, Ms. Baktis. You’re going to need it.

    People like this give animal rescue folks and organizations a bad name!

    ~The Lioness

  24. The Lioness says:

    Di, I’m sorry, but no one—NO ONE–deserves death threats or any other threats of their safety.

    M&M DOES, however, deserve the nice little ride through the mud they are getting in the media. Act like an asshole, get treated like one.

    I don’t wish M&M any ill will, but I do think Baktis needs therapy and should get out of the animal welfare business. Honey, run your store, but please, please, PLEASE leave rescue to those who TRULY care about the animals!

    ~The Lioness

  25. Mitch says:

    I am outraged! With all of the unloved, uncared for animals in need of rescue in this world, any rescue agency should be pleased to have an animal rehomed if it did not fit with it’s initial family. Folks, this is about the animals’ safety, well being, care and happiness (and yes, they feel happiness).

    Being ripped from a family that cares about a pet to spend more time in a cage by itself (especially as a puppy) is not being good to the animal and then being passed off to more new people is only going to create a pet with separation anxiety and other social issues. The rescue agency, M&M is not acting in this pet’s best interest. Why is it so important for this rescue agency to act on this pet contract when there are obviously more pets out there in need of a “good” home? A “good” home has most likely been found in this case, if in doubt - they should have just checked it out without causing all of the hurt and upset thus far.

  26. lhasa lover says:

    We recently lost a family pet of 17 years which nearly killed both myself and my husband. We purchased another pet from a private breeder and I can not imagine them coming into my home and taking him from us or if something would happen to us and another family member would take him in. I do not think Ellen did anything wrong in giving the puppy to another family and I am sure she would not just have dumped him on anyone. I would never recommend Mutts and Moms to anyone or I would make sure they knew what they were getting into if they adopted a puppy from them. I understand they would not want the animal just dumped out on the road or stuck with someone who cared nothing about the animal and I do not think Ellen would do any such thing. What is wrong with this whole picture?? I think they should return the puppy to this family with a public apology to all pet owners in the world|! I will shut up now so as not to say the wrong thing!

  27. Steve says:

    I have been a pet owner all my life. I have always had dogs in my household. A few years ago when I wanted another dog I researched the pet adoption agencies. The one thing that completely turned me off was exactly what happened between Ellen and Mutts and Moms. Once a pet is adopted, the adoption agency should NOT have any more authority over what is done with that animal as long as the animal is safe and unharmed. Furthermore, Mutts and Moms completely mishandled this situtaion. They could have used more tact, understanding, and better judgement. This is exactly why I will NEVER adopt from an agency like this.

  28. what happens if someone files a police report against you says:

    […] said she has received death threats and is afraid for her safety. She filed a police report with …http://www.itchmo.com/owner-of-mutts-and-moms-dog-rescue-agency-files-police-report-after-claims-of-…Curling up with an enjoyable mystery - Nashua TelegraphShe&39s the kind of heroine who, if you were […]

  29. Anonymous says:

    What’s wrong with you people? yeah if you think of it, Ellen did not abide by the ‘contract’ stated by Mutts and Moms, but seriously think about it? Ellen had the dog’s best interest at heart. If you look at the youtube video, ellen stated that she and portia were completely honest when Marina Baktis asked how is the dog doing. Ellen didn’t lie. she even said that when she moved the dog to the hair dresser, it was to see if that dog was compatible with that home instead. Why would you return the dog and move it back and forth, for god sakes, you’re putting that dog into shock. and it was Marina Baktis stupid fault for not registering the dog’s chip under Ellen’s name, because ellen did pay the legal way. If Marina Baktis really did care for the dog, she wouldn’t let some stupid ‘contract’ stated by something they made up get in the way for finding a dog a loving home. All you people who are against Ellen are retarded, cause you need to really think about what she did. Ellen loves animals. At least she didn’t keep the dog, because she was honest about not being the right family for the dog. There are hundreds of other dogs back at the Mutts and Moms agency waiting to be cared for and yet Marina Baktis decides to focus all her attention on Iggy. If Marina Baktis really was a caring person and ‘understandable’, she could have handled it more professionally. She LIED to the hairdresser family and SNATCHED the dog and RAN. wtf!? Ellen did not give the dog to an abusive family. Marina Baktis is a stupid b1tch because she fails to see the best outcome for the dog. She LIED by telling the hairdresser family that she was doing an ‘inspection’ of the house, and she FAILED to register the dog’s chip under Ellen’s name when ellen paid for it already. THose people who are hating ellen for whatever reason, can go screw yourself. Ellen did this out of good heart.

  30. TdR says:

    Baktis will forever be known as a controlling fruitcake. She shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near animals and sent to see a shrink on a regular basis.

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