18 Richest Animals in the World
More often than not rich lists are made up of people who don’t deserve to have
money. These could be people who made the most of their 15 minutes of fame,
those born rich or people who just lucked out with the lottery.
It can be
depressing if you are struggling to make ends meet. Then there’s this kind of
rich list, one that’s depressing but in a different kind of way. We live in a
world in which quite a number of animals are richer than most people could ever
dream of being.
Most countries have laws that forbid people from leaving assets to their animals
following their death. However, thanks to myopic lawmakers and clever lawyers,
there is a loophole. The first documented instance where a person left their
wealth to an animal happened in Russia during the 1800s. Maria Leontieva, a
merchant from Uglish, stipulated that 100,000 rubles (a significantly large sum
at the time) was to be given to her dog Serko in the event of her death.
The precedent for leaving assets to an animal started in the U.S. with
Jonathan Jackson. In 1880 he left orders that a hotel was to be built for his
cats. Since 1923, it’s been legal in America for a person to leave assets to an
animal. It has since become commonplace over the years with people leaving all
sorts of weird valuables to their pets. Nowadays there are over a million wills
throughout the U.S. that include stipulations regarding how a person wishes
their pets to be treated and/or assets their pets are entitled to.
the Tortoise and Porgy, Joy, Pride and Ronald the Cats
Silverstone is a tortoise worth $27,000. The 50 year old inherited his money
from his former owner, a bookshop business woman named Christina Foyle, when she
died in 1999. She ultimately left behind a $120,000,000 fortune.
Silverstone the Tortoise
Silverstone wasn’t the only animal left money in Foyle’s will. All up, she
left $200,000 to a tradesman and his wife, Anthony and Eileen Scillitoe, for the
two of them to care for her six tortoises and her collie-cross bred dog. While
the dog died shortly after her owner, all the tortoises live on to enjoy their
riches, being very well taken care of with those assets.
What sets Silverstone apart from his peers is that, while the other five
tortoises remain with the Scillitoes, Silverstone is under the care of Foyle’s
old housekeeper, Maureen Harding who pampers Silverstone more so than the
Scillitoe do the five other tortoises in their care.
Foyle also left money to her cats, Porgy, Joy, Pride and Ronald, which
Harding also cares for. Harding was originally left a $140,000 cottage by Foyle.
Harding later sold it and bought another house where she cares for the four cats
and one tortoise.
17) Tina and
Kate the Dogs
Together, dogs Tina and Kate are worth over $1,000,000. The collie-crosses
inherited their money when their owner, Nor Hardwell, died just one day prior to
her 90th birthday. To ensure that her dogs would live out their lives in the
luxury they’d been accustomed to, Hardwell left them her 5 acre property, plus
$1,000,000 to spend on whatever they wished.
Tina and Kate Pay More in Taxes Than Most People
Her only conditions were that an
aide was to be installed to oversee the animals, and keep the property clean.
16) Tinker the
Tinker the cat is worth $200,000. When he was eight years old, he caught the
attention of an elderly woman named Margaret Layne. When she died in 2003 at the
age of 89, she had no one else that she wanted to leave her belongings to, so
she left both her money and her 3-bedroom house to her cat Tinker.
A representative was appointed to ensure that Tinker would get milk and food
daily. It was stipulated in Layne’s will, that the house was to stay open for
either 21 years or until Tinker’s death (whichever happens first), at which
point the representative inherits everything.
In a particularly odd turn of events, Tinker received death threats and
harassing phone messages when the story became public. Despite the fact that
Tinker’s representative had everything to gain from the death of Tinker, the rep
opted to act in Tinker’s best interest and moved him to a safe house for the
sake of his well being. As such, to this day, Tinker’s whereabouts or whether or
not he’s still alive are unknown.
After being rescued by millionaire Maria Assunta, Tommasino the cat made a huge
impact in the last years of the elderly woman’s life. So much so, that he
inherited her entire fortune of $13 million when Assunta passed away.
Tommasino - The Third Richest Cat in the World
immediately made him the third richest cat in the world.
14) Flossie the Dog
Some animals don’t even have to wait for their owners to die before effectively
inheriting their fortune. For some it’s just a formality, given that so long as
their owner is alive, they’re living a life of luxury anyway. Flossie is one
such animal. She is owned by actresses, Drew Barrymore, after Barrymore
purchased her from a flea market.
Drew Barrymore and Her Heroic Dog Flossie
Remarkably, while most pets don’t really have to do anything other than what
animals would naturally do, Flossie actually went above and beyond expectations
when she actually saved Barrymore and her husband at the time Tom Green’s life
in 2001. Flossie awoke the pair when a fire started in their home. Barrymore has
since left $1.3 million to her dog.
13) Kalu the
Kalu is a chimpanzee who currently lives a life of luxury with the woman who
saved her in 1985, Patricia O’Neal. O’Neal is the daughter of the Countess of
Kenmore. O’Neal had found Kalu tied to a tree out in front of the Argentinian
Consul-General among the war-ravaged countryside of Zaire.
Assuming she outlives his owner, Kalu will continue with her enviable life
given that O’Neal changed her will in 2000, ensuring that Kalu would inherit her
residence in Cape Town, South Africa that is worth around $80 million.
Patricia O'Neal and Kalu
The only thing that may stand in Kula’s way would be Patricia’s husband,
former Australian swimmer, Frank O’Neal. Their relationship is curious. Whenever
he would go swimming, Kula would run alongside the pool and hit him on the head,
which Frank was never sure how to interpret. Patricia changed her will while
Frank was away, attending the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, suggesting that she did
so knowing that Frank would have objected had he been aware of her intentions.
Furthermore, Frank is reportedly still bitter over an incident in which Kula was
discovered to have stolen and indulged in Frank’s alcohol and cigarettes.
April Marie and Lucia the Dogs
When Gail Posner’s Chihuahuas Conchita, Lucia and April Marie outlived their
owner, they inherited a fortune worth almost $3 million. They also got special
accessory packs that were made of diamonds.
Their Caretaker is Stipulated to Pamper These Chihuahuas
Until They Pass Away
Furthermore, they received Posner’s
$8.3 million Miami mansion.
Oprah is a vocal animal lover and has numerous pets that are under her care.
Should any of them outlive her, then they will be set for life because Oprah has
stipulated that $30 million of her incredible fortune will be allocated to the
care of her animals.
She has five dogs and a variety of other animals that will
benefit from the money.
10) Bubbles the
When music icon Michael Jackson died, his pet chimpanzee Bubbles who Jackson
often referred to as his first son, was supposed to inherited $2 million. This
sum was set aside to ensure his long term well being.
In his early years Jackson had reportedly shared a bedroom with the animal,
and often ate meals at the dinner table with him. Bubbles was reportedly even
house-trained and known to frequently use Jackson’s bathroom. In later years,
Bubbles became aggressive and had to be taken to an animal sanctuary.
Jackson and His Baby Bubbles the Chimp
As with most things to do with Jackson, both in life and at the time of his
death, things got complicated with the stipulated inheritance. It is yet to be
paid out due to legal issues, which is also true of many of Jackson's other
family members who are still fighting over his estate.
9) Jasper the
Jasper is a Labrador-Doberman cross who began his life in Battersea Dogs’ Home.
It was there that he was spotted by Diana Myburgh, a brewery heiress. Myburgh
adopted Jasper and pampered him up until her death at the age of 74 in 1995.
Myburgh had ensured with her will that Jasper and her other dog, a whippet
named Jason, would receive $50,000. When Jason passed Jasper inherited Jason’s
Jasper lives at Maunsel House in Somerset. He is cared for by Myburgh’s
former son-in-law, Sir Benjamin Slade. After investing Jasper’s inheritance in
the stock market, Slade has seen Jasper’s fortune increase by 300%.
Slade had wanted to clone Jasper at one point, but there are a number of
individuals who will receive Jasper’s fortune when he dies. They (and their
lawyers) felt that a clone would jeopardize their entitlements.
8) Castle of
Mey’s Cows and Sheep
Due to a fund of $6 million established by the Queen Mother before her death in
2002, a herd of 150 Aberdeen Angus cattle along with 200 North Country Cheviot
sheep at the Castle of Mey Farm, are the richest groups of animals in Britain.
Each animal is worth around $16,000 respectively.
The Castle Of Mey and Gardens
A number of other animals at the Castle of Mey also share in some of the
money. This includes two goats, six rare breed sheep, two piglets, two male
rabbits, six rare poultry, three call ducks, and a couple of lovebirds named
Julia and Jeremy.
The Queen Mother had always had an interest in the Aberdeen Angus breed of
cattle. In 1937, with George VI, the two became joint patrons of the
Aberdeen-Angus Society. The Queen Mother held her post right up until she died
at the age of 65.
7) Nicholas the
With the death of British singer Dusty Springfield in 1999, her 13-year-old
ragdoll feline named Nicholas was guaranteed to live in luxury for the remainder
of his life. Though he didn’t inherit a specific amount of money, Springfield’s
will stated that Nicolas was to be given imported baby food, and sleep in a
7-foot-tall indoor tree house. He was also to be treated with catnip and a
variety of scratching posts. His bed was to be lined with Springfield’s old
Dusty Springfield Early in Her Career
By Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Rijksfotoarchief: Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Fotopersbureau (ANEFO), 1945-1989 - negatiefstroken zwart/wit, nummer toegang 2.24.01.05, bestanddeelnummer 921-1469 (Nationaal Archief) [CC-BY-SA-3.0-nl],
via Wikimedia Commons
There were even specifications in Springfield’s will that Nicolas was, in
order to sleep each night, be played some of Springfield’s own music so that he
could hear her voice every night before bed. Perhaps the only drawback of
Springfield’s will for Nicolas was that he was to be forced into marriage with
her friend’s cat, given that the cat’s owner, Lee Everett-Alkin was assigned to
be Nicholas’ guardian.
Juice and Callum
British fashion designer Alexander McQueen committed suicide in 2010. In the
note he left behind, he stipulated that he wished that his bull terrier dogs,
Minter, Juice and Callum would be taken care of.
Ultimately, each received $81,000 to ensure that they would be fully taken
care of for the remainder of their lives. Much of the rest of McQueen’s
remaining money was distributed to various animal charities.
5) Trouble the
Maltese terrier, Trouble is worth $1.6 million. Were it not for his former
owner’s relatives, though, he’d actually be worth a lot more. His departed owner
was property billionaire, Leona Helmsley, who originally left Trouble $12
million when she died in 2007.
Trouble’s entitlements were slashed, when Helmsley grandchildren (who she had
disowned) contested the will. The New York State Attorney General’s Office
lowered Trouble’s inheritance because it was ruled that Helmsley had been
mentally unstable when she decided to leave her money to her pet. This is
despite the fact that Helmsley had been nicknamed the “Queen of Mean” and openly
loathed her grandchildren. This left very little doubt that she honestly wanted
to leave all the money to her dog.
Trouble The Dog and Helmsley
Thanks to the money, Trouble lived the remainder of his life in Florida aided
by Clark Lekic, the general manager for the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel. Trouble’s
yearly expenses consisted of $60,000 in guardian fees, $100,000 for 24-hour
security, $8,000 for grooming, $3,000 for various expenses, $1,200 for dog food
and between $2,500 to $18,000 for medical related expenses. Trouble passed away
when he was twelve.
4) Trekkie Dogs
Majel Barrett-Roddenberry was the widow of ‘Star Trek’ (1966 – 1969) creator
Gene Roddenberry. When she died in 2008, she left her dogs a fortune of
$4,000,000, with another million allocated to her employee, Reinelda Estupinian.
Star Trek Creator Gene Roddenberry and His Wife Majel
Estupinian was entrusted to take care of the animals, given that
Barrett-Roddenberry felt that Estupinian had taken as good care of the animals,
if not better than than Roddenberry, over the years.
3) Gigoo the
Gigoo is the richest chicken in the world, and has a net worth around $10
million. She inherited the fortune thanks to publisher, Miles Blackwell.
The Richest Chicken on Earth - Gigoo
his wife gone, Blackwell felt that there was no human he wished to leave his
money to. So Blackwell decided to leave it to his pet chicken.
2) Blackie the
The wealthiest cat in the world is Blackie, and has a net worth around $25
million. He inherited the fortune when his owner Ben Rea, when he passed away
and left his money to his beloved cat – and ONLY to his cat. Rea refused to
leave anything to his human relatives because over the years head had become
estranged from them.
Blackie the Cat
As a notorious recluse, Rea found companionship with his
cat. He wanted to ensure that Blackie would live the rest of his life in
comfort. In Blackie's case, it is more like living in luxury.
1) Gunther IV
Gunther is a German Shepherd worth around $324 million dollars. He inherited the
wealth from his father Gunther III, who inherited the original amount of $124
million in 1992 from his former owner, Karlotta Liebenstein. When Gunther III
passed away, his own fortune, which had increased significantly over the years,
was handed down to his son.
Gunther IV the Dog
Representatives of Gunther IV have used his money to purchase Madonna’s
former Miami villa, properties in the Bahamas, Germany and Italy, a BMW, a
truffle worth around $1,300 and to hire a personal chef in additoin to a large
number of servants.
There is speculation in the media that, while Gunther III legitimately
inherited his fortune from Liebenstein, Guther IV’s inheritance is just an
elaborate publicity stunt made by those around him. However, a legitimate law
firm in the Bahamas manages his finances, suggesting that everything may
actually be on the up and up after all. This would make Gunther IV the richest
dog in the world. Whatever the case may be, the fact is that whether Gunther IV
is officially super-rich or not, he lives like he’s the richest dog in the
On the surface it sounds eccentric, if not completely crazy to leave assets to a
pet. Especially taking into consideration the numerous people and causes around
the world that could really use the assistance and opportunity that the money
could buy. Then again, when you really think about how much pets can bring to
people’s lives – the companionship, the enjoyment and the unconditional love –
it’s understandable that some people would be so thankful and concerned for the
welfare of the pets once they themselves pass. You can see that pet owners will
do whatever they can to ensure that their pets are both taken care of, but also
have the best of everything that money can buy.
In reality, many people don’t even consider their pets’ welfare or just what
might happen in case they were to die suddenly. So in a way, as eccentric, weird
or downright crazy as it may very well seem, maybe leaving pets money is
actually the right things to do. It all just seems a little odd, even for the
most eccentrically, wealthiest people.
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