Animal groups eager to get Helmsley money

July 3, 2008 7:56:52 AM PDT
Some animal welfare groups are ready to try to take a bite of Leona Helmsley's billions, if the money really does go to the dogs.The New York Times reported yesterday that Helmsley left instructions that her estate -- of up to eight billion dollars -- be spent on the care and welfare of dogs.

The president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States says it could do a lot of good. Wayne Pacelle says, "You could solve the pet overpopulation problem." He says dogs that are left behind in disasters could be cared for. Rabies in countries like China and India could be attacked.

The president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Ingrid Newkirk, says some of the money could go toward spay and neuter programs.

Helmsley's will named her own dog as a beneficiary. But in April, a judge reduced the trust fund for the dog from 12 million dollars to 2 million.