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Statement on Helmsley Estate Ruling

The Humane Society of the United States

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, issued the following in response to a judge's ruling that the trustees of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust are not obligated to distribute funds from the estate for the welfare of dogs:

"Leona Helmsley's estate could still be used for noble purposes to improve the welfare of millions of dogs, should her trustees choose to honor her wishes fully. Her fortune has the potential to do so much good for the animals many consider to be our closest friends and companions. This estate has the potential to help end euthanasia of millions of healthy and treatable animals in the United States, halt the scourges of puppy mills and dogfighting, and help promote the healing bond between people and dogs. If also put to use internationally, it can address these problems on a global scale, including the public health problems associated with free-roaming and stray dog populations."

The ruling confirmed that the trustees have the discretion and the power to achieve these purposes.


The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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