Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Leona Helmsley lets her money go to the dogs

People as diverse as Ann Althouse and Al Mohler are talking about Leona Helmsley. She has apparently let her billions of dollars go to the dogs.
Her instructions, specified in a two-page “mission statement,” are that the entire trust, valued at $5 billion to $8 billion and amounting to virtually all her estate, be used for the care and welfare of dogs, according to two people who have seen the document and who described it on condition of anonymity.

It is by no means clear, however, that all the money will go to dogs. Another provision of the mission statement says Mrs. Helmsley’s trustees may use their discretion in distributing the money, and some lawyers say the statement may not mean much anyway, given that its directions were not incorporated into Mrs. Helmsley’s will or the trust documents.

Helmsley had originally planned for some of the money to "help indigent people," but she changed her mind and decided to give them nothing. Only dogs - no other animals, no plant life, and certainly no human beings - were worthy of her money.

For the theists who visit this blog: Does this story in any way upset or bother you? Why or why not? Are human beings worth more than animals, are animals worth more than human beings, or are animals and human beings of equal value? What makes human beings so special?

For the atheists/agnostics who visit this blog: Does this story in any way upset or bother you? If you think the money should be given to help people, how did you determine that they are more worthy of the money than dogs?


  1. I think this story is a great argument for a vigorous inheritance tax.

  2. Good for Leona.
    As Mark Twain said, "The more I see of people, the more I like dogs"... and I agree. there are many, many good causes for dogs that can put that money to good use. I hope some of it is used to fund veterinary schools and research. It was Leona's money and Leona's business, not the rest of the world's.

  3. You have a point, Doug. Think of the money the government could get from this, but I wonder, would the government be wise at spending it? Doubtful, but hope springs eternal.