Celebs Who Treat Their Pets Terribly

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The following article includes allegations of animal abuse and neglect.

From Elvis Presley to Justin Bieber, a surprising number of celebrities have temporarily owned what turned out to be illegal pets. While the former star's late chimpanzee, Scatter, reportedly caused trouble while living with The King in Bel-Air decades ago, per Alanna Nash's "Elvis and the Memphis Mafia," the Biebs' pet capuchin monkey, OG Mally, was infamously confiscated in Germany when the pop star was on tour in 2013. Three years later, Bieber admitted that the situation was at least partially his fault. "Honestly, everyone told me not to bring the monkey [on tour]. ... I was like, 'It's gonna be fine, guys!' It was the farthest thing from fine," he told GQ, adding, "In Germany, that monkey's endangered or something ... but I had the papers. I even had it written out that he was a circus monkey and he could travel and all that s***. I had all the right papers. Things get twisted." Thankfully, Mally went on to happily in a zoo.

While celebrity pets are often adorable (See: Miley Cyrus' practical home zoo, featuring everything from cats and dogs to pigs and horses, all of whom she adores) and occasionally exotic, they're unfortunately sometimes grossly mistreated. Cue the Sarah Mclachlan, because these stars' alleged behavior toward their pets might just break your heart and make you want to adopt them.

Tyga's tiger was confiscated

From unpaid rent claims to domestic violence allegations, Tyga is no stranger to controversy — so it might not be too surprising that he allegedly hasn't always been a grrrrrrrrrreat pet owner (sorry, it was right there). Take his once-beloved tiger: Tyga reportedly acquired the giant cat from Indiana when it was a cub in early 2014 with the help of Nicholas Lee Bishop (aka Nick the Wrangler), per the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

By that May, however, TMZ reported that California Wildlife officers confiscated the animal, who was previously featured on Tyga's social media. Since tigers are illegal to own in The Golden State, Tyga faced criminal charges — misdemeanor for possession of a prohibited species — with a possible six-month jail sentence. "Tyga took good care of the tiger," sources claimed to the gossip rag. "... The rapper didn't realize it was illegal to own ... and as soon as he realized, he gave it to a sanctuary."

Tyga was never officially charged, and the tiger was placed in a private animal sanctuary called Lions, Tigers, and Bears. In 2016, its founder Bobbi Brink claimed to TMZ that Tyga never bothered to check in on the critter, which they renamed Maverick — and that the musician hadn't donated a dime to the non-profit organization, even though Maverick costs them $10,000 annually to cover food costs alone. Speaking with CBS8, Brink accused Tyga of animal neglect: "Maverick is a perfect example — they take on these animals for nothing more than to do video shoots or take pictures or selfies."

Paris Hilton allegedly abandoned one of her kittens

Paris Hilton is a prolific pet owner — the socialite not only boasted 35 pets at one point, but she also has a Hilton Pets Instagram account dedicated to them, and loves to spoil them rotten (See: her two-story doggy mansion). In 2009, she took to Twitter with some advice for any followers looking to become pet owners. "There are so many animals in need of homes," Hilton wrote (via People). "If you want a new pet, I recommend you adopt like I did."

But sadly, not all of the star's adorable pets met with happy ends: The previous year, Gawker reported that Hilton allegedly failed to get her kitten, Prada, neutered for six months, and when she did take him to the vet for the procedure, she supposedly simply abandoned him there. At this time, it was also alleged that she had all of her pets living in her home with no one there to actually watch, nurture, or care for them, save a housekeeper who'd come by to feed them.

"We gave Ms. Hilton every opportunity to do the right thing for Prada but she failed to comply and then abandoned him," Kris Kelly Foundation founder Kris Kelly claimed to Gawker. "After seven days no one from her household has even contacted us or the vet's office to check on the wellbeing and whereabouts of poor Prada. We now have Prada in a foster home and have no intention of giving him back to Ms. Hilton. She has proved to be a negligent pet owner."

Michael Jackson's chimpanzee outgrew Neverland

Michael Jackson adored his chimpanzee, Bubbles, with reports claiming that the primate slept in a crib in Jackson's room at his Neverland Ranch home and followed him everywhere back in the late '80s. However, when he grew too big and rambunctious for the King of Pop to care for, Bubbles was placed in a non-profit sanctuary in Florida in the mid-'90s.

Sources cited by Express claimed that Bubbles' behavior suggested he was miserable in Jackson's paparazzi-hounded presence. "Bubbles does not like cameras. Even when his caregivers try to take a photo, he will turn his back if he sees a camera," an insider said. "He occasionally will spit water at people when annoyed about cameras and is able to throw sand with amazing accuracy. Bubbles can be sensitive and dramatic. If he has any kind of cut or scratch on his body, no matter how small, he will show it many times during the day to his caregivers and ask for sympathy."

Much more concerning, however, were the allegations of animal abuse. In 2014, Jane Goodall claimed to TMZ, "I went to see [Michael] and we talked about Bubbles. I ticked him off. Bubbles is still alive and he's beautiful. But when he was with Michael he was being beaten." While Goodall didn't directly accuse the late pop star of abusing Bubbles himself, Jack Gordon — sister La Toya Jackson's ex-husband — did: "I saw Michael punch Bubbles, kick him in the stomach. Michael used to say, 'He doesn't feel it. He's a chimpanzee. I have to discipline him.'"

Was Lena Dunham in breach of her dog's adoption agreement?

When Lena Dunham adopted her beloved pooch, Lamby, from the Brooklyn Animal Rescue Coalition (BARC), their contract stipulated that if Dunham were to not be able to care for Lamby anymore, he would have to be returned to the shelter. But in June 2017, Dunham revealed that she gave Lamby to a Los Angeles facility that cares for dogs with special needs, citing that he was aggressive and had been abused by previous owners.

BARC slammed Dunham's claims, claiming Lamby's file had no indication of abuse, that she was in breach of the adoption agreement, and that she got two new puppies before deciding Lamby was a bad fit for her life. A rep for the organization told Page Six, "[Lamby] was mild mannered and very well behaved [at the shelter]. There were no signs of bad temperament or any kind of aggression ... the dog became a favorite of our staff and volunteers during his stay here." The rep went on to allege that the "Girls" alum had the opportunity to return Lamby, but she supposedly ghosted them.

Dunham defended herself on Instagram. "While I'm sorry to have disappointed [BARC], I can't apologize," she wrote, alongside a painting of her pooch. "Lamby was and is one of the great loves of my life. ... I still support him financially and I'll always be there for him in every way but he's notably happier in his new surroundings."

Logan Paul's former pet pig was abandoned and hurt

Logan Paul is no stranger to scandal and has come under fire multiple times for allegedly mistreating his pets. In January 2023, fans were outraged when Paul's former pet pig, Pearl, was found abandoned and injured in a field by the nonprofit The Gentle Barn. They made a TikTok about the rescue, writing in part, "She's clearly been through so much trauma that we can't begin to imagine." They also pointed out that they believed the pig had belonged to an influencer, before fans deduced in the comments that it was Paul.

Paul did admit that the pig was his former pet in an email he wrote to The Gentle Barn, as obtained by TMZ. Yet he claimed that he had rehomed her at a horse ranch when he moved to Puerto Rico in 2020. The YouTuber explained that she was later moved to the farm across the street when that owner moved, as well. Paul also addressed it on Twitter, writing, "This is an incredibly heartbreaking situation." He added, "I'm beyond thankful to the @TheGentleBarn for taking her in & will do whatever I need to aid in Pearl's care."

That wasn't the first time that Paul had been accused of allegedly abusing pets either. In the past, he had put his Pomeranian in seemingly stressful situations for YouTube videos, like introducing him to an actual tiger and putting him in a bucket to zipline him off the roof. There was even once a Change.org petition to ban Paul from owning animals.

Courtney Love was accused of killing her family pets

Courtney Love is another celebrity who has made headlines for questionable behavior, yet her daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, made some serious accusations about the Hole singer when filing a restraining order against her famous mother in 2009. In deposition papers acquired by The Fix, Cobain claimed that Love's alleged negligence resulted in two of the family's pets dying, according to the New York Daily News.

Cobain had alleged that their cat had died from Love's hoarding tendencies after it got snarled in "Etsy fabrics, boxes of paperwork, trash and other possessions." Their dog seemingly died under different circumstances though, with Cobain claiming that it swallowed a pile of Love's prescription pills that she had seemingly left lying around. Things were allegedly so bad that Cobain apparently didn't want Love allowed near her remaining dog. Court papers read (via KOMO News), "In addition to keeping Courtney away from Frances, Frances' grandmother and Frances' aunt, the restraining order also prevents Courtney from contact with Frances's dog, Uncle Fester."

While two pets reportedly died in her care, Love denied abusing her pets and went on the defense against whoever leaked the court documents, tweeting (via Jezebel), "I'm a kitty killer! Who puts such an unjudged piece of trash in a madman's hands?" While she didn't mention their dog, she did suggest that the cat's death wasn't her fault, writing on Twitter, "It was a mountain lion that killed Peabody!!"

DMX was charged with animal cruelty against his dogs

Late rapper DMX, whose real name was Earl Simmons, often professed that he loved dogs. In 1998, the "Party Up" rapper had gushed to MTV News, "I used to take dogs on the street ... bring them home if I could, make somewhere for them to sleep right outside the building. I had dogs as long as I can remember." A decade later, however, he was charged with animal cruelty. Per CNN, police received a report that DMX was allegedly abusing his canines — when authorities responded to his Arizona home, they seized 12 pit bulls.

It appears that the dogs had been taken because they were in rough shape, not having had food or water. What's more is that police also reportedly found the remains of three dead dogs on DMX's property and believed one of them may have been burned. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio stated, "A guy like this DMX character, with all his money and fame, has no excuse for not providing proper care for his animals." DMX's lawyer denied those accusations, claiming that the rapper had been on tour and hired a caretaker to tend to his dogs, which he did without considering Arizona's hot weather.

While DMX pleaded guilty as part of a deal stemming from drug charges, he later addressed his animal cruelty arrest to ABC15 by saying that he would never hurt a dog or take part in dog fighting, of which he was also accused. DMX dished, "I got a dog tattooed on my back. I love dogs."