Ellen DeGeneres
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Celebrity pets: Mistreated or made in the shade?

By Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres pledged allegiance to her cats and lost her dog Iggy on a technicality, or so she told her TV audience on Oct. 15.

DeGeneres said she gave the dog to her hairdresser after it didn’t mix well with her cats, a no-no in the eyes of the rescue agency from which DeGeneres got the pup.

“I guess I signed a piece of paper that says if I can’t keep Iggy, it goes back to the rescue organization, which is not someone’s home, which is not a family,” she said in a show transcript provided to the Associated Press.

DeGeneres is pleading for the dog to be returned to her hairdresser, who she writes in an Oct. 16 Internet post has two young girls already in love with Iggy.

Will DeGeneres’ mistake be forgiven? Will Iggy be sent back to the hairdresser’s home, where it lived for two weeks? Or will this celebrity pet be forced to find new owners?

As we wait for the story to unfold, we look back on some notable celeb-pet relationships. (Reed Saxon / AP)
Paris Hilton

The socialite owns a Yorkshire terrier and a Chihuahua named Tinkerbell, prominently seen in every season of her reality show, “The Simple Life.”

Tinkerbell was reported missing in 2004 after Hilton’s apartment was robbed, but she was found days later. A 2005 online poll by the New York Dog Magazine and the Hollywood Dog Magazine named Hilton worst celebrity dog owner.

But living as Paris’ pooch can’t be all bad. Tinkerbell “wrote” a memoir, “The Tinkerbell Hilton Diaries.” (Stephen Chernin / AP)
Britney Spears

As Britney’s child custody hearings unfold with the media on red alert, the pop star has had to endure a public debate over whether she’s fit to be a parent. But is she even fit to be a pet owner?

PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk lashed out at Spears, accusing her of treating her dog London “like an accessory.” Gossip rags claimed the $3,000 Yorkie was an impulse buy. About a year earlier, an online poll named Spears worst celebrity dog owner.

We confess we have no firsthand knowledge of Spears’ way with dogs, but we can confirm that her former pet Bit-Bit wins our award for worst name for a celebrity dog ever. Bit-Bit? That might be cute if it were a pet robot. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images)
George Clooney

The “Michael Clayton” star has long been one of Hollywood’s most eligible bachelors. A quick survey of his red carpet appearances over the years reveals a stunning -- and lengthy -- string of girlfriends. But perhaps Clooney’s longest relationship was with his Vietnamese black-bristled potbellied pig, Max. Clooney and Max lived together for 18 years, until Max’s death in 2006. (Scott Wintrow / Getty Images)
Adam Sandler

Adam Sandler once filled in for David Letterman, which is a big deal even for a star of Sandler’s wattage. So who was his first guest? His English bulldog, Matzoball. That’s love right there.

Sandler recently had a daughter, Sadie, which migh not have sat too well with a jealous Matzoball. Sandler reports that the bulldog takes her toys -- when she sees the baby having fun with them -- and hides them. They’re later found chewed up with mucus all over them.

Sandler’s pet love was established when his previous dog, the late Meatball, attended his 2003 wedding in a custom tuxedo and yarmulke.

For Matzoball’s (and Sandler’s) interview, click here. (WireImage)
Oprah Winfrey

It’s no surprise that the billionaire talk show host has, among other things, pets, and many pets at that. She’s owned up to six dogs at a time and featured them in her magazine, O. If the Woman Who Has Everything is as generous with her pets as she is with her Chicago studio audience, those dogs are living the high life. (WireImage)
Michael Jackson

Among the pop star’s many reported eccentricities over the years, including his hyperbaric sleep chamber and eyebrow-raising friendships with children, is his relationship with a chimpanzee named Bubbles. For several years in the 1980s, Bubbles was a near-constant companion at Jackson’s side. He was even rumored to have sat in on the recording sessions for Jackson’s “Bad” album. The aging chimp has reportedly grown feisty in his later years and now lives on a ranch in Southern California. Jackson has a new chimp, also named Bubbles. (WireImage)
Sharon Osbourne

Sharon Osbourne’s dogs were probably discussed more than she was even at the height of “The Osbournes.” The “X-Factor” judge has 13 -- count ‘em, 13 --dogs (according to her website)! More than any celebrity in recent memory, the exploits of Sharon’s dogs have become media fodder -- from Ozzy rescuing Pippy from a coyote in their garden to Minnie’s notorious behavior on the set of Sharon’s talk show. (The pom nipped at David Hasselhoff. Not the Hoff!?)

On a more somber note, it was reported last month that Sharon flew to London to see her daughter Kelly in concert and cried tears of joy. But it was later revealed that the tears were shed over news that Minnie was gravely ill back in Los Angeles. (WireImage)