An animal shelter in Brooklyn is disputing Lena Dunham‘s claims that her former dog, Lamby, had “challenging behavior and aggression” that stemmed from “terrible abuse” the dog suffered as a puppy.
“When she adopted the dog from us, it wasn’t crazy,” Robert Vazquez, a spokesman for the BARC no-kill animal shelter, told Yahoo Celebrity. “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.”
“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?” Vazquez continued. “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 the dogs.”
Dunham, 31, wrote in an Instagram post in June that Lamby’s absence from her social media accounts was because he’s been living “at an amazing professional facility in Los Angeles” after trying “training or medication or consistent loving dog ownership.”
Lamby ended up at The Zen Dog, a canine rehabilitation center in Los Angeles. As part of a recent profile, Matt Beisner, trainer and owner of Zen Dog, told The Cut that Lamby was “a hot mess” when he arrived.
Beisner says the dog was heavily medicated, had a nasty temperament, and was drinking his own urine. The dog has since stabilized and found a new home.
He tells PEOPLE Dunham regularly keeps in contact with him and that they have had “frequent in depth conversations” about Lamby’s condition.
“As I read what Lena has shared publicly, and the reactions to her posts, it seems to me that people don’t understand or are not considering the bigger picture,” Beisner says. “People get dogs because it’s about them, rather than it being about the dog. We do what we can, and at the end of the day it has to be about what’s best for the dog and the owner.”
Dunham — who has two other dogs, a pair of poodles that are about a year old — has also been open about instances where Lamby appeared to have bitten her. Dunham tweeted about being bitten twice in May 2014.
Vazquez added that Lamby’s records were checked and showed no signs of “multiple owners that abused the dog,” details Dunham shared in a March 2013 New Yorker piece.
A source to close to Dunham told PEOPLE that she took Lamby to six different vets who concluded the dog suffered from “past abuse” and even possibly had brain damage.
A spokesperson for The Humane Society of the United States told Yahoo, “Every dog is an individual with unique needs and all are deserving of a family or guardian in an environment in which he or she can thrive. We are deeply grateful to Lena and Jack for finding Lamby a loving home where he can do just that. Lena is a wonderful advocate for dog adoption and [we] hope she will continue to use her platform to spotlight the homeless animal crisis and urge her legions of fans to consider rescuing.”
Dunham posted a lengthy response to BARC, saying in part, “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.”
She added, “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. “