NEW YORK – Ellen DeGeneres is teaming up with former Meow Mix owner Richard Thompson to rebuild animal shelters across the United States, the New York Post's Page Six gossip column reported.
DeGeneres has featured Thompson on her show to talk about the campaign and the first project — a makeover of a sanctuary in Monkey Run, Ark. — is currently under way, on Thompson's dime.
"We're halfway done now," Thompson told Page Six. "We've been redoing it for a woman named Janice Wolf, who was found by Ellen. We bulldozed the place, and we're building a new hay barn and a new barn. She's got almost 60 animals, including a zebra, some Watusi cattle and 20 dogs, some that are three-legged, blind and deaf.
"These pets are bringing the community together. Ellen's one of the best rescue people I've ever met, she got a bad rap over Iggy," added Thompson, who sold Meow Mix to Del Monte and now runs the animal-based Web site ZooToo.com.
In September, DeGeneres adopted Iggy the dog from Pasadena-based Mutts & Moms pet adoption agency, then passed him off to her hairdresser two weeks later, claiming the pup didn't get along with her cats. But in doing so, DeGeneres broke a contract she'd signed with the agency stipulating she was to return the mutt to the agency if the pet wasn't a good fit for her and girlfriend Portia de Rossi.
The agency took Iggy back, leaving the hairdresser's two kids devastated. DeGeneres begged and cried publicly on her show for them to return it.