0807pupppy.jpgUnsurprisingly, the Humane Society has issued a statement saying they strongly approve of Leona Helmsley's posthumous wish to put her entire trust towards the welfare of dogs. The group asks that the trustees to honor her wish, creating a better world for the pups--and people--of the planet. Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society, noted that "While there are 10,000 or so humane organizations in this country, many are poorly funded and overwhelmed by the daily burdens they face. Robust giving by Helmsley's trustees can remedy this problem, and in a major way." Read the full statement after the jump.

Leona Helmsley's wish to create a better world for dogs is a noble dream – and, as it becomes reality, will establish a kinder place for all animals on our planet, humans included.

"Wisely spent, Leona Helmsley's fortune has the potential to end the needless euthanasia of millions of healthy and treatable animals in the United States, to halt the scourge of puppy mills, to end the mistreatment of dogs in the greyhound racing industry, and to help promote the healing bond between people and dogs," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. "If also put to use internationally, it can address these problems on a global scale, including the public health problems associated with free-roaming and unsocialized dog populations."

By giving this general guidance on how her estate is to be spent, Helmsley has acted on an already well established social concern in our society relating to the humane treatment of animals. "While there are 10,000 or so humane organizations in this country, many are poorly funded and overwhelmed by the daily burdens they face. Robust giving by Helmsley's trustees can remedy this problem, and in a major way," added Pacelle.

The New York Times reported today that the late Mrs. Helmsley left instructions after her death last year that her entire trust, valued at $5 billion to $8 billion, be used for the care and welfare of dogs. The Times also noted that some people close to the estate were concerned about public reaction to the request; the story quoted one expert as saying her wishes might be subject to legal challenge.

The Humane Society of the United States, the largest animal protection organization in the nation, vigorously defends Mrs. Helmsley's decision to seek improvements for animals with her fortune. "The goal of a more humane society is a cause worthy of our best efforts and investments," added Mr. Pacelle.

Both science and common sense tell us that those who inflict, or tolerate, harm to animals are likewise numb to human suffering. We also know that dogs are our best friends in society, and they are also an antidote to loneliness and depression, enriching the lives of millions of Americans.