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Animal charities denied Helmsley fortune

NEW YORK, May 8 (UPI) -- Animal welfare groups' bid for more of Leona Helmsley's $5 billion legacy have been rebuffed by a New York judge.

Manhattan Surrogate Court Judge Nora Anderson's April 15 ruling against the ASPCA, the Humane Society and two other non-profits was reported by the New York Post and the New York Daily News Friday night.

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When the hotel and real estate tycoon died in 2007, she willed $12 million to her Maltese, Trouble, a bequest later cut to $2 million.

Helmsley also directed that her charitable trust's mission was "purposes related to the provision of care of dogs" but also any other worthy cause chosen by the trustees.

The animal charities said the trust has handed out $450 million, but only $100,000 for dogs.

Anderson granted that the "Helmsley trustees have turned their backs on dogs and ignored Mrs. Helmsley's clear intent that a significant portion of her charitable trust be used to improve the welfare of dogs."

But she denied the groups' standing to intervene in the case, citing an earlier decision that the trustees have sole discretion.

She also noted Helmsley did not dedicate a specific amount to pets.

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