s much as Ellen DeGeneres likes dogs, she apparently doesn’t like it when they’re dressed up as her.
An Ohio woman who hoped to get her dog on Ellen’s show has been ordered to remove a billboard, not far from the studio where the show is taped, that pictures her golden retriever in a blond wig and DeGeneresque attire.
The billboard read, “Ellen, Denali the Dog Wants to Meet You.”
Madalyn Ruggiero, a freelance photographer, had rented the billboard for six weeks, the Los Angeles Times reports.
“She says she likes dogs, so I thought she’d love my dog,” explained Ruggiero, who dresses her golden retriever in funny costumes and sells the images as greeting cards.
Instead of an invitation to be on the show, Ruggerio received word from a billboard company lawyer that the sign, after it was up for five days, had to be taken down — apparently as a result of complaints from DeGeneres’ staff.
“Our CBS Outdoor Attorney has advised that we take down the Denali The Dog bulletin ASAP due to the fact that the clothes the dog is wearing in the copy and the use of the name Ellen appears that they are trying to trade on the public image of Ellen DeGeneres,” wrote Tim Fox, director of governmental affairs for CBS Outdoor.
Fox noted the billboard campaign was stopped “at the demand of the representatives of Ms. DeGeneres and her show.”
A publicist for DeGeneres’ show said she was unaware of the billboard controversy.
The disputed ad has been taken down from the billboard, at Cahuenga Boulevard West and Broadlawn Drive, and replaced with a public service message for the Marine Corps.
Ruggiero, 37, of Maumee, Ohio, said dressing the dog as Ellen was the suggestion of the billboard salesman. She was originally going to use a photo of her dog in Elvis attire.
CBS Outdoor says it will attempt to give Ruggiero at least a partial refund for the billboard ad, for which she paid $6,000.