LENA Dunham probably wishes she had let sleeping dogs lie.
The Girls creator is under fire from the Brooklyn Animal Rescue Coalition (BARC) after she sent her dog Lamby to The Zen Dog, a facility that aims to change behavioural issues in dogs, reports the New York Post .
Dunham, 31, announced on Instagram in June that she could no longer keep the pooch, who became a celebrity in his own right, complete with his own Instagram account and even an appearance in Vogue with Dunham’s Girls co-star, Adam Driver.
Dunham previously claimed in a March 2013 New Yorker essay that Lamby had three prior homes and a history of abuse, and lamented that the dog didn’t get along with her longtime boyfriend, Jack Antonoff.
In 2014, the actor posted a since-deleted photo of her bleeding rear end and claimed Lamby bit her because he was scared of their doorbell, but noted that the dog had “special needs” and “an amazing trainer.”
However, BARC refuted Dunham’s claims that Lamby was abused prior to Dunham’s adoption.
“We checked the records for Lamby. He was ‘owner surrendered, not enough time,’ so we do not know where she got ‘multiple owners that abused the dog,’” BARC rep Robert Vazquez told Yahoo Celebrity.
“When she adopted the dog from us, it wasn’t crazy. I have pictures of the dog loving on Lena and her mum, which is weird if the dog was abused. It wouldn’t be cuddling with her or be in the bed with her ‘boyfriend’ in the pages of Vogue.”
“If Lamby had a bad past or was abused, do you think BARC would have adopted him to Lena knowing she’s a new star and put her — or the dog — in that situation? We would have told her if the dog had issues,” he fumed. “We are a no-kill shelter. We don’t lie about the dogs’ histories because that gets them returned — and mentally it’s not good for dogs … It’s just hard to believe the dog was nasty when she took Lamby to every green room with her when ‘Girls’ was still a thing 4 years ago.”
Vazquez also took issue with Dunham’s debuting two new puppies on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” in February, a month before she claims to have surrendered Lamby to his new home.
“[She] didn’t admit she bought her two new dogs [despite writing in the] New Yorker that dogs shouldn’t be dumped or thrown away because they have feelings,” Vazquez said.
A Zen Dog employee defended Dunham’s decision to leave Lamby in their hands, explaining that perhaps Dunham and Antonoff just loved Lamby a little too much.
“Thousands of dog owners, my wife @brooklinbeisner and I once included, have been violently blindsided by our ‘sweet, loving, happy, excited, playful, cuddly dogs,’”
Matt Beisner wrote on Instagram. “I’ve found that other than neglect or abuse, the number one cause for bad behaviour, including aggression, is inappropriate or excessive human affection. Too much ‘sugar.’ I understand that BARC’s commitment to the welfare of the animals they rescue is deep and true. And I know Lena Dunham to be a sincere and compassionate rescue owner. But there is more to consider. Such is the way of #THEZENDOG.”
Dunham herself got defensive on Instagram on Thursday night over Vazquez’s claims.
“It’s come to my attention that the staff at the shelter where I adopted Lamby have a very different account of his early life and behavioural issues than I do. While I’m sorry to have disappointed them, I can’t apologise,” she wrote. “Lamby was and is one of the great loves of my life … But his aggression — which was unpredictable- and his particular issues, which remain myriad, weren’t manageable, at least not by me. I did what I thought the best mother would do, which was to give him a life that provided for his specific needs. He’d been with me for nearly four years and I was his mom- I was in the best position to discern what those needs were. After countless hours of training, endless financial support and a lot of tears he was given access to a better 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.”
She continued, “I would never say an unkind word about the staff of BARC, what they do is amazing and life saving for these animals- but we have different accounts of Lamby’s behaviour and they were not present in my home nor did they live with him for an extended period. They did not witness the consistent and responsible care I provided.”
While Dunham’s care for and rehousing of Lamby may have been well-intentioned, it could pose legal problems: BARC’s contract, like many other adoption shelters, requires owners to return their dogs to the shelter from which they came if they can no longer provide adequate care.
Vazquez stated, “Really the only thing we can say is that she is still under contract, which states that if it doesn’t work out, they have to bring back the dog to us, so we can evaluate it.”