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Archive for Saturday, March 3, 2001

Spin City’ dog faces eviction at ritzy apartments

March 3, 2001

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— Rags, the petite, depressed-looking canine star of the hit sitcom "Spin City," faces eviction from his posh lower Fifth Avenue apartment because tenants charge he's relieving himself in the hallway.

Rags, whose real name is Wesley, is a 10-year-old smooth-coated Brussels griffon. His owner, Ruth Powell, paid a breeder in Alaska $1,000 for him.

The 9-pound Wesley plays a suicidal dog who rarely moves, is unmotivated by food or treats and loves to be held. On the show, he is owned by Carter, played by actor Michael Boatman.

In real life, Wesley lives with Powell, 64, a retired city schoolteacher, on the 14th floor at 24 Fifth Ave. The 17-story building once a hotel has been converted to a co-op, but Powell's apartment is rent-stabilized.

She says the odor comes from another apartment.

Powell acknowledges that other tenants caught Wesley using the hallway twice. But she has letters from eight residents who say that if there is a problem, it's not coming from Wesley.

"The only reason they want to evict me is because I'm in a rent-stabilized apartment and the other occupant with the odor is a co-op owner," Powell said. She pays $950 for a one-bedroom and said her apartment could bring half-a-million dollars.

"I have a pension, but I struggle," said Powell, who suffers from breast cancer. She has one other mouth to feed Ernie, also a Brussels griffon and Wesley is key to the household finances.

"Every time Wesley appears on 'Spin City,' I get $600," she said.

Wesley has an agent, and he appeared at the New York wrap party when Michael J. Fox left the series.

Wesley spent about three months in Los Angeles last fall, after taping moved to the West Coast.

The 24 Fifth Ave. Associates office manager, Robert Miller, declined to comment on Powell's case. The building's lawyer, Todd Rose, did not return phone calls.

Powell's lawyer, Fred Seeman, said 24 Fifth Ave. Associates has tried to settle the case "without prejudice," meaning the owner could restart eviction proceedings. Powell wants the company to pay her legal fees $5,200 so far.

She has a court date in about two weeks. Wesley may be out of town. He's scheduled to fly to Hollywood for a taping.

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