Los Angeles Billionaire Philanthropist Involved in Court Battle Over Dog Park Incident

by Lisa

A legal dispute between Los Angeles billionaire philanthropist Dr. Gary Michelson and interior designer Sandra Evling has taken a contentious turn, with allegations of extortion arising from an incident at a dog park in 2022.

The incident in question occurred on August 9, 2022, when Evling claims that Michelson’s AmericanXL Bully, Blue, attacked her and her dog. Evling alleges that she sustained severe injuries while trying to protect her pet and asserts that Michelson was aware of Blue’s aggressive behavior but failed to restrain him.


In a surprising turn of events, Michelson, 75, filed a lawsuit in May 2023, accusing Evling of attempting to extort $85,000 from him and threatening to have Blue euthanized. According to Michelson’s lawsuit, the encounter between the two occurred at Gold’s Gym in Venice, California, where Evling allegedly made threats of legal action and demanded payment to remain silent about the incident.


Michelson, a retired orthopaedic spinal surgeon and inventor with numerous patents to his name, asserts that Evling’s demands caused him considerable distress, prompting him to seek legal recourse. He filed a complaint seeking damages of $250,000, citing Evling’s alleged oppressive and malicious conduct.


Notably, Michelson’s philanthropic endeavors include substantial contributions to animal welfare causes through foundations like the Michelson Found Animals (MFA), which has directed over $100 million towards research and advocacy initiatives.


However, in response to Michelson’s lawsuit, Evling filed her own limited civil case in July 2023, alleging negligence on Michelson’s part for failing to control Blue. The lawsuit seeks both punitive and compensatory damages, though no specific amount was mentioned.

Despite conflicting accounts of the incident, medical records obtained by the Los Angeles Times indicate that Evling’s injuries did not include fractures or vascular damage. Michelson maintains that the records do not substantiate claims of dog bites and asserts that he has been supportive of Evling’s recovery efforts, even arranging a meeting with celebrity dog trainer Cesar Millan.

With both parties entrenched in legal battles, a jury trial for Michelson’s civil extortion suit and Evling’s limited civil case is scheduled for July 15, 2025.


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