Attorney for Group That Set Up DeGeneres Dog Adoption Speaks Out
This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," October 18, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 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."
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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Joining us now from Los Angeles, Keith Fink, the attorney for Mutts and Moms, the adoption agency involved. All right, so where is the dog now? Where is Iggy now?
KEITH FINK, MUTTS & MOMS ATTORNEY: The dog is with the new owner and he's doing fine.
O'REILLY: Now when you say it's with a new owner, you moved the dog pretty quickly out of one situation into the next. Is that the way it usually goes? What I'm trying to say is you didn't do this any differently than you would have done it for any other dog?
FINK: It is done just the same as any other dog. They have adoption procedures, people fill out an application. If they qualify to receive the dog, they get the dog and that's what happened here.
O'REILLY: OK, now were you aware or was the Mutts & Moms aware that Ellen DeGeneres would want the dog, if we could work it out, to remain in the home with the 11 and 12-year-old girls? You know — what I'm trying to get at here counselor is your clients are being portrayed as heartless, as heartless. That yes, you are right legally. There is no question. She violated the contract, you had a perfect right to do it. But if you took the dog away from an 11 and 12-year-old and quickly funneled it over to another home without trying to work it out, it might be perceived as being heartless. Do you see what I'm talking about?
FINK: It is kind of humorous that you say that Bill. I have two responses. The person that is heartless is Ellen DeGeneres. She attempted to destroy - and at this moment she has destroyed two women who have dedicated their lives to protecting and caring for animals.
If you're talking about my clients being heartless because all that they wanted to do was protect the animal, I don't understand that.
O'REILLY: Here is what I would have done, and you tell me what — where I'm wrong. If I'm your client and Ellen DeGeneres violates the adoption rule, which she did and she admits it and that was wrong, and she brings the dog and gives it to an 11 and 12-year-old girl who are responsible, I guess. And they love the dog.
I tried to work that out. I tried to say, "OK, we'll file adoption papers from this." We'll put in that Ms. DeGeneres did a wrong thing, but for the good of the dog and the children, we'll try to make it happen. You see what I mean?
FINK: Yes. That's what we did do. And that's not what Ellen says on her television show. We did offer this family the ability to come in and file adoption papers. But Ellen DeGeneres wants it Ellen DeGeneres' way. She refused, and the family refused to come in and fill out the adoption papers.
What they — what Ellen should have done when she was discarding the dog is call us and say, "Look, I don't want the dog anymore. I met this loving family. They have two great kids. Will you consider the family?"
Of course we would have.
O'REILLY: OK. Now let me stop you. So you're saying — and I want to get this on the record — that the family, the hairdresser, Ellen's friend, wouldn't come in and fill out the paperwork to get Iggy? You're saying that flat out: they would not do it?
FINK: Flat out, and I have the e-mails.
O'REILLY: OK. Now, why wouldn't they do it if the little girls want — the young girls wanted the dog? Why wouldn't they fill it out?
FINK: I've been in California my whole life. I love this state, but unfortunately, we have a segment here I call the Hollywood culture. And I put Ellen DeGeneres, as it relates to this incident, in that culture, because Ellen DeGeneres, she is powerful. She is wealthy. She has a phalanx of lawyers. And Ellen DeGeneres is going to do it her way.
And her way was, "I'm not filling out the paperwork. I want it to go to this family. And if you don't listen to me, the weight of my lawyers is going to come down on you, and then I'm going to use my media on you."
O'REILLY: It sounds so dopey. It just sounds so dopey. If what you're saying is true — and you're a lawyer, so you have to be truthful — particularly when millions of people are watching. It just sounds so stupid. Just go down, fill it out, and keep the dog.
Now, there's one other thing in play here.
FINK: Bill, Bill, why do you say it sounds dopey when those are the facts?
O'REILLY: No, no, it sounds dopey that the family wouldn't do it.
FINK: Well — well...
O'REILLY: If it's my kids, and my kids wanted the dog, I'd go down and fill out the paperwork.
FINK: Well,it underscores an arrogance. And let me just point out the facts for your viewers.
So the facts — the facts of this orchestrated attempt by Ellen DeGeneres. When my client came down to pick up the dog, sitting on the couch in this woman's house happened to be a TV station with the video footage that you showed to your people. You then played the clip, which she had her PR spokesman call my client and threaten a lawsuit and then a media barrage.
Followed by that was a text message: "We're going to sue you tomorrow." On the heels of that, Mike Bjorn, her lawyer, called, threatening her with legal action if she didn't get the dog back. You're right. It is dopey.
O'REILLY: Yes, I mean I think it could have been worked out easily. I don't know why the family, who wanted the dog, didn't do what they should have done.
Now one more question. There are people who believe that Ellen DeGeneres did this for ratings. I don't happen to believe it. She looks like she's sincere. What do you think?
FINK: I believe she did it two-fold. As I say, one, because of brash arrogance; and two, for her own aggrandizement.
This is a non-issue. Perhaps O.J. Simpson is an issue. Iran and Iraq. This is a non-issue. There was no reason for her to go on to her television show to talk about this incident. And she's milked this with a distorted view of what happened.
O'REILLY: All right. Mr. Fink, thanks very much.
And Ellen DeGeneres and her people are welcome to reply if they would like to.
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