Animal Law

Did owner want dog's $140K yearly bills paid by estate? Animal groups growl over lack of trust money

  • Print.

When Simpsons show co-creator Sam Simon died in March from colon cancer, the ultra-wealthy 59-year-old left his beloved but ailing and aggressive 125-pound dog in good hands.

However, it appears that he didn’t provide financially for his 5-year-old Cane Corso, Colombo, whose food, training and medical expenses had been adding up to around $140,000 annually. Meanwhile, the charitable trust established by Simon hasn’t anted up what is needed either, the dog’s new owner, Tyson Kilmer, tells the Hollywood Reporter.

Simon, an animal rights philanthropist, had an estate plan. Yet Kilmer, a celebrity canine-aggression training consultant, isn’t the only one complaining about a lack of funding Simon is said to have told them to expect, the magazine reports in a lengthy article.

Nonprofits including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals say causes Simon generously supported before his death, such as a 184-foot anti-poaching ship operated by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, aren’t being paid for by the trust overseeing his assets. (The estate is said to be worth several hundred million dollars, and Simon’s home alone is reportedly on the market for around $18 million.)

Those in charge of the trust say they are handling the situation appropriately and contend Tyson, who they claim has sought as much as $1.7 million, is pressuring the trust for more money than is needed to care for Columbo, the article reports. In addition to his aggression issues, which require special handling and secure confinement, the dog’s hip and leg ailments have been treated with $3,460-per-month acupuncture.

From the sidelines, it isn’t clear whether Simon, who left no funeral directions, opted not to specify how certain areas of his estate should be handled or didn’t realize that his well-regarded tax lawyer had not put money aside for Columbo’s care, the article says.

It is customary even for those with far lesser wealth to provide financially for an individual who is expected to care for a pet, experts tell the entertainment publication.

In the best practice, said Ryan Shumacher of Rosenfeld Meyer & Susman, “You ask them if they have pets and then, if so, if they want money attached to the pets. People don’t necessarily know to bring it up.”

See also: “Dealmeister’s Daughter Leaves $8.3M Mansion to the Dogs; Lawyer Named in Resulting Will Contest”

Huffington Post: “Gail Posner’s Home Bequeathed To Dog Conchita Sells For $8.4M”

MomZette: “Birds Make out Like Bandits”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.