Sam Simon's Will Dispute: New Owner of Dog Launches $500,000 Fundraising Drive to Cover Care

Tyson Kilmer with Columbo - H 2015
Claudia Lucia

Tyson Kilmer with Columbo, photographed on Aug. 12, 2015 at the trainer’s home in Encino.

Tyson Kilmer, who adopted the troubled Cane Corso, seeks $500,000 in projected lifetime costs to ensure his ability to continue its monthly physical and psychological regimen.

Nearly eight months after his death from cancer, Sam Simon's beloved 125-pound, 5-year-old dog Columbo is the focus of a newly established YouCaring fundraising campaign to finance his projected lifetime care costs.

With no end in sight in a nasty estate standoff first chronicled by The Hollywood Reporter in September over the Simpsons co-creator's will (questions remain as to whether it was properly crafted to contain a set-aside provision for pet coverage), new owner Tyson Kilmer — previously the troubled Cane Corso's aggression trainer, who had become Simon's close friend — is focused on raising $500,000.

would be enraged" says friend Merrill Markoe, as Simon's estate sits at the center of a bizarre fight surrounding his beloved-yet-volatile pooch Columbo and the trust that's stopped paying for his care and hasn't kept the money flowing to the animal-rights organizations to whom Simon had dedicated his life (and fortune): "He would never cut off funds to his own f—ing dog!""]

The money, he explains, will go toward paying monthly physical and aggression therapy bills. Columbo has knee, hip, lumbar and thoracic issues, which aggravate existing psychological problems that have led to a record that includes biting incidents and attempted maulings.

Kilmer says he's acutely aware of the dubious optics of such a drive, which so far has raised $2,450. But he insists he's simply attempting to retain the same level of care for Columbo that Simon put in place during his lifetime and would have expected to persist after he was gone. "Regardless of what some folks say, it’s really, really necessary," says the trainer, who notes that he and his family have so far been absorbing Columbo's costs to their acute financial detriment.

Victoria Stilwell of Animal Planet's It's Me or the Dog told THR in September that such a high cost "may sound quite steep," yet "it's not far-fetched for this kind of very troubled animal, with these sorts of challenging issues where there's no cure, only managing and coping. This is just what this costs for constant vigilance — otherwise, without a doubt, dogs like this end up at the pound."