Animal shelter disputes Lena Dunham's claims her dog was abused prior to adoption


The BARC no-kill animal shelter in Brooklyn, from which Girls star Lena Dunham adopted her dog, Lamby, is disputing the actress' claim that she gave the pet back due to "challenging behavior and aggression."

Dunham detailed her decision to bring her dog back to the shelter in an Instagram post: "A lot of you have been asking where Lamby is these days since he's always been the star of my gram and I've been posting pics of my poodle girls. Well, you know honesty is my jam but this one has been really heartbreaking to talk about. But I feel I have to share that last March, after four years of challenging behavior and aggression that could not be treated with training or medication or consistent loving dog ownership, Lamby went to live at an amazing professional facility in Los Angeles @matt_thezendog where an awesome person named @therealdanishay (who is educated in a rescue dog's specific trauma) loves him so hard."

The shelter took issue with the part of Dunham's claim that detailed the dog's history of abuse. "Lamby suffered terrible abuse as a pup that made having him in a typical home environment dangerous to him and others- we needed to be responsible to ourselves, our neighbors and especially our beloved boy."

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NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 01: Actress Lena Dunham attends TimesTalks: A Final Farewell to the Cast of HBO's 'Girls' at Jack H. Skirball Center for the Performing Arts on February 1, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 02: Actress Lena Dunham attends the the New York premiere of the sixth and final season of 'Girls' at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center on February 2, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Zak Photography/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 02: (L-R) Actresses Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet, Lena Dunham and Jemima Kirke attend the the New York premiere of the sixth and final season of 'Girls' at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center on February 2, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 07: Actress Lena Dunham is seen on December 7, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 14: Actress Lena Dunham arrives at Glamour Women of the Year 2016 at NeueHouse Hollywood on November 14, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 07: Lena Dunham leaves Lourde's birthday party at ZZ� Clam Bar on November 7, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 14: Actress Lena Dunham poses backstage during Glamour Women Of The Year 2016 LIVE Summit at NeueHouse Hollywood on November 14, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 01: Honoree Laurie Simmons, daughter Lena Dunham and Tip Dunham attend ICP's luncheon honoring Laurie Simmons on November 1, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for ICP)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 27: Jennifer Konner and Lena Dunham attend 12th Annual New York Television Festival - Creative Keynote: A Conversation with 'Girls' at SVA Theater on October 27, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 25: Jenni Konner, Lena Dunham, and Jessica Grose attend Hearst MagFront 2016 at Hearst Tower on October 25, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Hearst)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 25: Lena Dunham (L) and Abbi Jacobson pose onstage before discussing Abbi Jacobson's book 'Carry This Book' at Symphony Space on October 25, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images)
LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS -- Episode 0434 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actress Lena Dunham during an interview on October 11, 2016 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: Actress Lena Dunham is seen walking in Soho on October 24, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 02: Lena Dunham discusses Let Girls Learn at The American Magazine Media Conference at Grand Hyatt New York on February 2, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 24: Actress Lena Dunham speaks from the podium at the Lena Dunham and Planned Parenthood Host Sex, Politics & Film Cocktail Reception at The Spur on January 24, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: Honoree Lena Dunham speaks onstage at Variety's Power of Women New York presented by Lifetime at Cipriani 42nd Street on April 24, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for Variety)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 13: Actress Lena Dunham attends ELLE's Annual Women in Television Celebration on January 13, 2015 at Sunset Tower in West Hollywood, California. Presented by Hearts on Fire and Olay. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for ELLE)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 11: Actress Lena Dunham attends HBO's post Golden Globe Awards party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 11: Actress/director Lena Dunham (L) and singer/songwriter Taylor Swift attend HBO's Official Golden Globe Awards After Party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 05: Lena Dunham attends the 'Girls' season four premiere at American Museum of Natural History on January 5, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 02: Actress/Author Lena Dunham reads from her book, 'Not That Kind of Girl' during the 2014 Ally Coalition's Talent Show at New World Stages on December 2, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - NOVEMBER 11: Actress / Director Lena Dunham attends Pen Center USA's 24th Annual Literary Awards Festival at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on November 11, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Lena Dunham meets fans and signs copies of her book 'Not That Kind Of Girl' at Waterstones, Piccadilly on October 29, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 14: Actress Lena Dunham signs copies of 'Not That Kind Of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's 'Learned.' at Barnes & Noble bookstore at The Grove on October 14, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 30: Television personality Robin Roberts (L) and actress Lena Dunham tape an interview at 'Good Morning America' at the ABC Times Square Studios on September 30, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 25: Actress Lena Dunham arrives at the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on August 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 23: Actress Lena Dunham attends Variety and Women in Film Emmy Nominee Celebration powered by Samsung Galaxy on August 23, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Variety)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 05: [EDITOR'S NOTE: Image has been digitally processed] Lena Dunham attends the 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: Director Lena Dunham on the set of 'Girls' on April 23, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Bobby Bank/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01: Lena Dunham filming 'Girls' on May 1, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Sands/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 07: Lena Dunham attends the 2014 Point Honors New York gala at New York Public Library on April 7, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Nomi Ellenson/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 18: Lena Dunham visits 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon' at Rockefeller Center on March 18, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/NBC/Getty Images for 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon')
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 27: Actress Lena Dunham attends the Fox Searchlight Pictures' 'Dom Hemingway' screening hosted by The Cinema Society And Links Of London on March 27, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 13: Actress Lena Dunham attends an evening with 'Girls' at Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre on March 13, 2014 in North Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 13: Writer/director Lena Dunham poses with Best Actress in a TV Comedy Award in the press room during the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 13, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 09: Lena Dunham attends the premiere of 'Girls' season 2 hosted by HBO at NYU Skirball Center on January 9, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
Cast member Lena Dunham arrives at the premiere of Universal's 'This Is 40,' December 12, 2012 at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 12: Writer/Director/Actress Lena Dunham attends 'Girls' Greenroom Photo Op during the 2012 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Paramount Theatre on March 12, 2012 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for SXSW)
SANTA MONICA, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Actress/filmmaker Lena Dunham, winner of Best First Screenplay for 'Tiny Furniture,' accepts award onstage during the 2011 Film Independent Spirit Awards at Santa Monica Beach on February 26, 2011 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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"We checked the records for Lamby," Robert Vazquez, a spokesperson for the BARC shelter told Yahoo Celebrity. "He was 'owner surrendered, not enough time,' so we do not know where she got 'multiple owners that abused the dog.'"

A source close to Dunham said, "Lena had Lamby checked out by at least six veterinarians who deemed he had brain damage."

The star herself had been open in the past about Lamby's misbehavior and aggression, tweeting in 2014, "We have a special-need rescue dog who has bitten me twice, under specific circumstances, in our own home... He has an amazing trainer..."

"When she adopted the dog from us, it wasn't crazy," Vazquez said. "I have pictures of the dog loving on Lena and her mom, 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," he said, referencing a recent article from the fashion magazine in which Dunham showed off her pet.

Vazquez claims he has "been in charge of the dogs" at BARC for more than a decade and that he was personally there the "four times Lena visited Lamby" prior to the dog's adoption. "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. 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," Vazquez said.

Dunham responded to Vazquez's comments on Instagram: "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 behavioral issues than I do. While I'm sorry to have disappointed them, I can't apologize," the actress wrote. "Lamby was and is one of the great loves of my life. When I met him I knew we'd have an amazing journey. 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: "Why should this story be subject to scrutiny and anger? It is willfully misunderstanding the truth. I hope those judging can imagine the incredible pain of letting go of your favorite creature on EARTH because you know you can't help them be healthy and happy. 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 behavior 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. I have weathered a lot of micro-scandals but this one hurts MOST, because of the vulnerability of letting people know Lamby and my story, and because I miss him so damn much.

Dunham's words captioned a photo of a painting of Lamby. "This is the painting that greets me every day when I walk into my home," she wrote. "This is the animal who taught me about loving and letting go. I know I'm a lot of fun to place your issues on, but I won't let anyone hang their hat on this peg. Not this time."

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 behavioral issues than I do. While I'm sorry to have disappointed them, I can't apologize. Lamby was and is one of the great loves of my life. When I met him I knew we'd have an amazing journey. 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. Why should this story be subject to scrutiny and anger? It is willfully misunderstanding the truth. I hope those judging can imagine the incredible pain of letting go of your favorite creature on EARTH because you know you can't help them be healthy and happy. 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 behavior 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. I have weathered a lot of micro-scandals but this one hurts MOST, because of the vulnerability of letting people know Lamby and my story, and because I miss him so damn much. This is the painting that greets me every day when I walk into my home. This is the animal who taught me about loving and letting go. I know I'm a lot of fun to place your issues on, but I won't let anyone hang their hat on this peg. Not this time.

A post shared by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

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