Two years after Leona Helmsley's death, a battle continues over her multi-billion dollar trust. Her will stated that the entire trust—over $5 billion— be used toward the care and welfare of dogs, but earlier this year, a judge allowed trustees distribute the money amongst a number of charities. Now, the ASPCA, Maddie's Fund and the Humane Society have filed a suit to make trustees follow Helmsley's wishes to help dogs.

The groups believe that Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, per a press release, "failed in his charge to protect [the interests]" of "any heir or heiress." Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, said, "Mrs. Helmsley’s Trust Agreement and Mission Statement were clear: Help dogs. And the trustees have not done this, and instead pursued their own agendas with Mrs. Helmsley’s money. Every person with a will or estate, and every charity that relies on bequest income, should be profoundly concerned about this misdirection of funds."

The groups point out that the $5 billion could be a "game changer" in "changing injustices in dog care and welfare"—in fact, out of the $136 million distributed by Helmsley trustees in April, only $1 million, less than 0.1%, went to animal-related charities—and that a fraction of the $5 billion (hey, 10% would still be $500 million!) would really help. Ed Sayres, President and CEO of the ASPCA added, "There has been a sea change in recent years in how we treat animals and the Helmsley Trustees don’t understand that change... Dogs give us so much in our lives, and the least we can do is make sure they are not harmed, exploited, or neglected, and the Helmsley estate allows us to do so. It is not an overstatement to say that the fate of dogs in this country could very well rest on the decision of this lawsuit."