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Helmsley Reportedly Left Billions For Dog Care

Animal welfare groups must be panting: Leona Helmsley reportedly directed that her fortune — up to $8 billion — be used for the care and welfare of dogs.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that the bequest was included in a so-called mission statement for the estate of the real estate magnate, who died last August.

It's not certain whether all of the money will go to the dogs, however. The mission statement wasn't formally incorporated into Helmsley's will or trust documents.

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Two people who saw the statement told the Times that the document also says the estate trustees may use their discretion in distributing the money.

They could, for instance, decide to spend the money for animal rescue groups, veterinary schools or research on canine diseases.

The hotel queen's will named her own dog, Trouble, as a beneficiary. But the Maltese isn't quite as well-heeled as she used to be. In April, a Manhattan judge reduced the trust fund for the 9-year-old pooch from $12 million to $2 million.

From the Associated Press

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