10 June 2011

Leona Helmsley's millionaire pooch 'Trouble' passes away

One of the world’s richest dogs has died at the ripe old age of 12.

“Trouble” was the Maltese formerly owned by real estate mogul, Leona Helmsley. Trouble inherited $12 million when her infamous owner passed away in 2007.

Trouble made headlines at that time when it was discovered that, in her will, Helmsley had left nothing to her two grandchildren or her son’s widow, instead choosing to bestow a huge chunk of her riches on her little dog.

After Helmsley’s death, Trouble moved to Florida and has since been cared for by Carl Lekic, the general manager of one of Helmsley’s hotels in Sarasota.

A judge awarded Lekic $100,000 per year from the inheritance which was kept in trust. This covered $8,000 per year for grooming, $1,200 for food and the rest for his fee and a full-time security guard which was deemed necessary after Trouble started receiving kidnapping threats shortly after the news of her windfall broke.

According to a New York Daily News article, “the high-maintenance pooch had a life of luxury from the git-go. She was bought at a Kennel Club pet shop on Lexington Ave. and traveled home in a Mercedes-Benz stretch limo.”

While Trouble’s fortune may have made many of us humans drool, she wasn’t actually the world’s richest dog. There are a few others who can make that claim:

- The world’s richest dog is likely a German Sheppard named Gunther IV whose net worth is estimated at $372 million. Gunther IV actually inherited the money from his father, Gunther III, who inherited it when his owner, Countess Karlotta Libenstein of Germany, died.

- There is a New York poodle named Toby Rimes who inherited $80 million from her owner, Ella Wendal.

- Oprah’s dogs are rumored to stand to inherit $30 million when the talk show queen passes.

- Miss Charlie Brown, a dog in South Dakota, is poised to inherit $130 million when her owners are no more.

- Drew Barrymore placed her Beverly Hills home, valued at $3 million, in trust with her Yellow Lab mutt "Flossie" as a reward for alerting her that her house was on fire in 2002.

And dogs are the only wealthy pets out there:

- Kalu the chimpanzee inherited Patricia O’Neill’s $109 million fortune to ensure her husband wouldn’t get a penny. The fortune includes a farm and mansion in Australia.

- British publishing mogul Miles Blackwell changed his will following his wife Briony’s death in 2000 so that Gigoo, his pet chicken, would inherit $10 million.

Sara Best | @shbest
Sara was literally born into the animal welfare movement. While growing up, her father worked with various organizations on campaigns from the Canadian seal hunt to the slaughter of dogs in the Philippines to the ivory trade in Africa. Eventually, Sara became involved in animal protection projects herself. Now she is a writer living near Toronto, a mom to two little omnivores and married to one dedicated carnivore. Visit Sara's blog.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/slice