LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - For comedian Ellen DeGeneres, this shaggy-dog tale has gone too far, and she has decided to take a long weekend to recover.
DeGeneres appealed on her talk show on Thursday for people to refrain from making death threats in a puppy-adoption dispute that has included her sobbing on television. It also sparked debate among animal lovers across the United States.
DeGeneres canceled her usual back-to-back tapings for Friday and Monday’s shows in order to rest up and return “refreshed” next week, a publicist for her syndicated weekday program said.
“Ellen is taking a long weekend, and will be back with a new show on Tuesday,” the spokeswoman said. “It’s been a tough week.”
DeGeneres, one of the country’s best known entertainers, wept on TV earlier this week as she recounted how an animal rescue group took back the puppy she had adopted last month but then passed on to her hairstylist’s family without the animal agency’s permission.
The on-air tears from DeGeneres, host of the Oscar awards this year, stirred an outpouring of public support. Footage of DeGeneres begging for the agency to return the dog, Iggy, was replayed endlessly on the Internet and celebrity news shows.
DeGeneres pressed her plea for the dog’s return again on Wednesday. She opened Thursday’s show asking for calm.
“I think this is last time I am talking about this unless I am lucky enough to say one day to you, Iggy has returned,” she said. “It’s gotten out of hand. The people that have Iggy or had Iggy, I don’t know, are receiving death threats, I am told, and that is not OK.
The performer said she had adopted the shaggy-haired mixed breed dog in September and spent thousands of dollars to neuter and train it. But the dog did not get along with her cats, so she later gave Iggy to her hairstylist.
Mutts and Moms reclaimed the dog on the grounds that DeGeneres violated the adoption agreement, which required her to return the pet to the agency if she chose not to keep it.
One owner of Mutts and Moms, Marina Baktis, told Pasadena police on Tuesday night that she had received several threats on her cell phone and her work phone.