tv Bulls Bears FOX Business February 21, 2016 2:00am-2:31am EST
i'm jamie colby for "strange inheritance." thanks so much for watching. and remember... >> it's just money. can't take it with you. >> a tv hitmaker loves animals. >> he turned that creativity on animal rights, and it was unbelievable. >> one dog he rescues is off-the-charts dangerous. >> if it's a scale from 1 to 10, columbo's a 12. >> when the hollywood owner dies, columbo becomes their strange -- and expensive -- inheritance. >> acupuncture for a dog? i know we're in los angeles, but really? [ dog growls ] >> is it all worth it? >> your kids could get hurt. you're willing to take the risk. >> we made a commitment to healing dogs and showing other families how to do it. >> welcome to the weird world of pet inheritance. >> so, are you leaving your home to the birds? [ bird squawks ]
i'm jamie colby, and, today, i'm in encino, california. will rogers once said, "if there are no dogs in heaven, then when i die, i want to go where they go." but when the owners go first, especially the rich or eccentric ones, it can make for one strange inheritance. >> my name is tyson kilmer. i'm an animal trainer. when one of my clients, sam simon, passed away in march of 2015, i inherited his dog, who is not exactly lassie, marmaduke, or any other lovably harmless pet you've seen on tv. >> hi, kilmers. i'm jamie. >> i'm tyson kilmer. this is my wife, alison. aliyah and tyler. >> how are you? >> i'm great! >> i heard your family has a living, breathing inheritance? >> indeed, we do. we have a cane corso that used to belong to the late, great sam simon.
>> sam simon -- even if you don't recognize the name, you surely know his work as co-developer, with matt groening, of that iconic and long-running tv show, "the simpsons." sam was born in 1955 and grew up in beverly hills, just down the street from groucho marx. after graduating from stanford university, sam catapults his way up in the tv business, becoming a showrunner in 1978 for the hit series "taxi," at the age of 23. >> sam was the youngest showrunner in the history of television, when he was a showrunner on "taxi." >> mark thompson is an l.a. radio host and a long-time friend of simon's. >> to describe him as highly intelligent would be to understate it in the extreme. >> sam works on "barney miller" and "cheers," before teaming up with matt groening on "the simpsons," which premieres on the fox network in 1989. >> matt groening created these characters and this family, but
the universe that the simpsons exist in -- the town, the nuclear power plant, mr. burns, all of these different characters... sam simon was the driving force behind that. >> but in 1993, after four trailblazing seasons, sam decides he wants a life outside of television. before quitting, he negotiates a deal giving him continuous credit as an executive producer and a share of the show's annual profit, to the tune of $30 million a year. sam, now twice divorced with no children, turns his energy to what becomes his calling in life -- saving animals, especially dogs. in 2002, at the cost of several million dollars, he creates this lavish, sprawling dog shelter in malibu. one of the neglected pooches that end up at sam's shelter is a 6-month old cane corso, also known as an italian mastiff, a
breed some people refer to as "a pit bull on steroids." the big canine is quickly deemed too aggressive to stay at the shelter. so sam takes him home and names him columbo, after the rumpled, trench-coat-wearing detective played by peter falk. >> he adored columbo, clearly. i think he was like an offspring almost. he was like a son. >> a son with a nasty disposition. within months, columbo attacks staff members on the simon estate. there are as many as eight biting incidents. he even goes after sam's buddy, howard stern. >> ok, guys, go play! [ dogs barking ] >> so, in 2011, sam contacts tyson kilmer, who has a reputation for working with dangerous breeds. his hollywood clientele includes rob lowe and mike tyson, but none impresses him like sam simon. >> the first meeting he had with sam, tyson came back and went, "i met my hero.
i met a guy that's doing way more than i am with animals." it was a bromance. >> alison kilmer is tyson's wife. >> was it more than just about the dog? >> oh, yeah. tyson knew right away that sam was someone that was gonna mentor him. >> still, tyson hesitates taking the columbo case. why? >> i had stopped working with that breed a few years prior, just because of the volatility and the liability issues around them. >> i'm sure that training aggressive dogs is dangerous. where is columbo on the scale? >> if it's a scale from 1 to 10, columbo's a 12. >> tyson says he makes an exception for columbo, when simon convinces him that health issues, like painful hip dysplasia, explain why he's such a bad dog. so, it's not just behavioral. it's also medicine? >> that's correct. >> simon's already paying for the best veterinary medicine
money can buy. among other things, columbo gets electromagnetic therapy and acupuncture. acupuncture for a dog? i know we're in los angeles, but really? >> this dog has endured so much pain in his legs that this is not some frivolous treatment. >> and the price tag for columbo's first-class care? >> columbo costs approximately $138,000 a year. >> that's a four-year college education. >> the reality is -- i didn't hire these folks. i was just asked to be present while these folks were working. and this work changed my perspective on this dog entirely. ready to go. >> tyson takes over the actual training, hooking up columbo with a partner to keep him in line. >> hey, jamie. i brought my friends. >> i see that, tyson. i hope they'll be my friends. >> they will be your friends. so, kasha's been the one to teach him how he should be responding and reacting in these encounters. >> she's a pit bull. >> she's a pit bull, yes, but she's very fabulously trained. you want to give it a try? >> i'm willing to try.
>> perfect. okay, so, let's start off by showing her a stay. point to the ground. tell her, "okay, down." >> okay, down, kasha. good girl, kasha. >> and now, this is how she smiles. so, it looks like kind of scary. >> oh! you get a rub on the belly! stay. tyson says his hard work and sam's money transform columbo into a loving and much-less-aggressive pet. so, the bottom line is -- you have rehabilitated this dog. >> i would say that this dog is living, at this point, within very acceptable margins for behavior and safety, as long as we continue to put the work in with him daily. >> it's late 2012, when, at 57, sam simon is diagnosed with colorectal cancer. the prognosis -- it's terminal. >> how did sam tell you he was sick? >> [ voice breaking ] he was just sick. >> what happened?
>> you know, he said, you know, "tyson, i'm dying." >> will sam's death sentence also be the end for columbo? >> i was asked to make sure that columbo was taken off the property immediately. >> immediately? >> yes. >> that's next. >> but first, our "strange inheritance" quiz question. was it roy rogers' trigger... mr. ed... or seabiscuit? you owned your car for four years, you named it brad. you loved brad. and then you totaled him. you two had been through everything together. two boyfriends, three jobs... you're like nothing can replace brad. then liberty mutual calls, and you break into your happy dance. if you sign up for better car replacement™,
>> so, what stuffed horse fetched $266,000 at auction? it's "a," trigger, who belonged to roy rogers. >> with the help of his new friend and dog trainer tyson kilmer -- and a year and a half of intense training -- sam simon's rescued 140-pound cane corso is under control. so, you've given columbo a stay of execution. >> nobody else has been bitten, so the first part is amazing. secondly, he's a happier soul. >> but, in 2012, sam's diagnosis of stage-four cancer changes everything. after being told he has only months to live, "the simpsons"
co-developer launches a campaign to save as many animals as he can before he's gone. he brings tyson along for the ride. >> as his body began to fail him, he would be jumping on a learjet and flying off, so somebody had to watch out for him. >> here was sam simon ready to do all of these things that seem unthinkable. he rescued all of these bears from roadside circuses. he shut down a mink farm. >> so, the money is kind of gone. >> you gave it all to peta. >> no, no, no, no, no, no, no. i put in a trust that will be distributed, in perpetuity, to save the children and peta and other organizations. >> fantastic. >> for two years, sam beats the clock, but his disease never relents. >> i got a call that he was in the hospital, and he had summoned for me to come to his bedside. he just said, "i'm sorry to burden you with this, but will you please take my dog?" of course, i said "yes." >> tyson looked at me and said,
"i got to do this for him. if we don't, they're gonna put columbo down." >> tyson also makes sure columbo can stay by sam till the end. >> i was asked to train columbo to climb a set of steps beside sam's bed so that columbo could get up there and sleep with him. columbo was with sam right up until he passed. i was asked to be on the property when he passed to make sure that columbo was taken off the property immediately. >> why immediately? >> well, columbo couldn't be on the property with an influx of people coming in, just because it just wasn't safe. >> arguably even less safe -- bringing this strange inheritance home to your wife and kids. i have to ask you about that. i met him. he's fierce. you let them hang out with columbo? >> supervised. columbo cannot be unsupervised around my children or around anybody. when he's uncomfortable, he's grumpy. you don't want to be anywhere around him.
and i don't want my kids to be anywhere around him. and stay. >> your kids could get hurt. you're willing to take the risk. >> we make all the precautions. we make sure they're never alone with columbo. we make sure that they train him every day. and us, as a family -- we made a commitment to healing dogs and showing other families how to do it. >> a noble commitment, but who's going to pay for columbo's ongoing $138,000-a-year medical care? was there some sort of verbal agreement between you and sam? >> sam just basically said, "listen, don't worry about this. everything's taken care of." >> ruh-roh! is it possible that sam made a promise to tyson he didn't intend to keep? that's next. >> here's another quiz question for you. santa's little helper, the simpsons' family dog, is what breed? the answer in a moment.
>> so, santa's little helper, the simpsons' family dog, is what breed? the answer is "b," a greyhound homer rescues from the dog track in "the simpsons'" first episode. [ dog growls ] >> the cane corso, or italian mastiff, is an aggressive breed, sometimes called a "pit bull on steroids." columbo, a 140-pounder who belonged to "simpsons" co-developer sam simon, was actually deemed too vicious for simon's dog-rescue shelter. hollywood dog trainer tyson kilmer says one of simon's last requests was that he take columbo when simon died.
>> one thing that sam said is that, "every animal's life has value." >> tyson assumes simon's multi-billion-dollar trust will pay for columbo's costly medical treatments, including acupuncture and electromagnetic therapy. >> was there some sort of verbal agreement between you and sam? >> sam took care of everything while he was alive. when sam said, "will you take columbo?", i didn't say, "hey, how much, buddy?" i just said, "of course. i'll take care of it." >> then, in june 2015, three months after sam's death, tyson learns that those vets and therapists will no longer be paid and all those hollywood-style treatments will be discontinued. tyson reaches out to the executor of the simon trust. now, i'm a dog lover -- don't get me wrong -- but tell me how much you were asking, money-wise, to take care of columbo in the style sam had -- >> i didn't ask for money. i was asking for them to send the vets over.
i wasn't asking for money. >> come on, columbo. >> either way, tyson says he's told there's no money earmarked for columbo. >> i first thought, "it has to be a misunderstanding," but, at some point, you'd think, even if that were the case, they would have an allegiance to what sam would have wanted." >> radio host mark thompson was a longtime friend of simon's. is it possible that sam made a promise to tyson he didn't intend to keep? >> i think the answer is -- of course not, of course not. sam would have wanted money to go for the continued care of columbo. >> the executor of simon's trust doesn't return our phone calls but has ripped tyson in the media. the trustee issued a statement that we got our hands on, and it starts with, "it's truly sad that someone would try to take advantage of sam's generosity to unjustly enrich themselves at the expense of other causes." >> and i'm just an outsider, but the same money that sam was paying for columbo, when sam was
alive, is all tyson is asking for. and it's about his therapy, not a dollar more. i think that's a reasonable request. >> how much is it costing you a month, besides your daily time, to take care of columbo? >> it costs me approximately $9,000, $9,500 a month to take care of him. tyson has custody of a dog that is considered very dangerous. and we have a trustee unwilling to disperse money for the dog's care. end of case? >> if they're willing to go to court, tyson might be able to assert rights on columbo's behalf and get the court to construe the trust. >> underscore "might," says ken kossoff, an l.a. lawyer specializing in pet inheritances. he says it's telling simon apparently did not set up a trust fund to pay for columbo's care, which is allowed under california law. >> you want your trust or any other document to be very clear that who was ever in charge of
the money needs to support the pet. >> case in point -- ken's client in palmdale, california, a widow who wanted to provide for her faithful companions when she was gone. hi, yvonne. i'm jamie. >> jamie, hi. how are you? >> nice to meet you. i heard you're the bird lady. >> i am that. would you like to meet my kids? >> i would like to meet your kids. >> come on. >> oh, thank you. look at all these guys. oh, hello there. who's that? >> he says, "i'm bogie bird." and he says, "i'm the senior bird here." >> bogie is a 34 year-old double yellow-head amazon parrot. while he's older than yvonne's two cockatiels, he's still a youngin' among the parrot breed, who can easily live for 60 years. when yvonne first adopts bogie from a bird sanctuary, in 2013, she worries about making a commitment to a pet that could very well outlive her. >> at my age, i thought, "how am
i gonna make this work out? these guys can live to be 60 years old. i'm not rich." >> so, will bogie become a strange inheritance? yvonne is worried that her cherished parrot will get discarded, like columbo. and what about columbo? >> it must be costing you a fortune. >> columbo's not cheap, and we never, ever, ever, in a million years, thought we'd be here. >> and? >> how can the kilmers get the funds they say they need for his care? >> good boy! you know, i agreed to take sam simon's dog. i didn't agree to take on a billion-dollar estate. >> that's next. what's your strange inheritance story? we'd love to tell it. send me an e-mail or go to our website, strangeinheritance.com.
outlive her. will bogie get the special care he needs when she's gone? she turns to ken kossoff, who's been creating trusts in los angeles for over 30 years. >> a lot of pet owners do not know that they could plan their estate to include their pets. >> yvonne doesn't just want to make sure her pets always have a caring home. she wants to make sure they have her home. >> the trust provides, immediately, for a caregiver to come in, and this is someone who is familiar with my birds. they will live here in the house, basically rent-free, and they'd take care of the birds. i will take care of the utilities and all on the house. >> that could theoretically last for decades. you understand people will watch this and they'll say, "okay, you're 'the bird lady.'" >> yeah. >> "and you've left this beautiful home to birds." >> yes. i don't care how whacky they think i am. i just want to protect these guys. >> apparently, sam simon wasn't
so clear or emphatic about columbo, and so the executors of "simpsons" co-developer sam simon's billion-dollar trust reportedly have no intention of providing a penny for his care. where does that leave animal trainer tyson kilmer, to whom sam bequeathed the 140-pound mastiff? >> i've never had much interest in anything outside of just seeing columbo cared for. i really don't want to be in court over the next five, six years. i'd far rather raise funds for him and just move on with my life. >> sam was his mentor and hero. and, sometimes, you don't write the script on how it's gonna come out, but we're doing the best we can and we're gonna handle it. >> i wanted to put a call into you to see if i could rely on some support from you guys. >> today, tyson hopes to raise enough funds through a network of friends and supporters to finance columbo's care.
you made a promise. >> absolutely. yeah. >> that's a big promise. >> i'm gonna keep that promise. you know, sam was one of -- he was a mentor to me. he was one of my best friends. i'm gonna honor my word to my friend. >> bogie or columbo can only dream of the fortune of the so-called world's richest pet, a german shepherd who's really rolling in the dough. turns out that when a german countess named carlotta liebenstein died, in 1992, she left a $124 million trust for her trusty pooch, gunther iii. well, when gunther iii met an untimely death, carlotta's riches passed to gunther's son, gunther iv, and by then, the trust was worth $372 million and included a villa in the bahamas and a mansion once owned by madonna. and, at that rate, gunther v could be the first canine billionaire. i'm jamie colby for "strange inheritance."
thanks so much for watching. and remember, you can't take it with you. >> a ball club older than mighty casey... >> they were recognized as the best team of the 1860s. >> their 155-year-old baseball card... >> we are looking at a very significant piece of baseball history here. >> and she's looking at a very strange inheritance. >> he's my great-great-uncle on my dad's side. >> which one is he? >> now here's the payoff pitch. >> one of the big ones. this was a family heirloom. >> will there be joy in mudville... >> he was looking for a piece of the action, but i didn't know that. >> ...with jamie at the bat? [ door creaks ] [ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ] [ bird caws ] ♪