Comedy Barn Theater Mourns the Death of the World's Ugliest Pedigree Dog

Miss Ellie, the Chinese Crested Hairless famous dog from the Comedy Barn in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., dies at 17. She brought nationwide attention to Sevier County, Tenn., and helped raise more than $100,000 for the local Humane Society. (Photo: Business Wire)

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn.--()--Miss Ellie, the beloved Chinese Crested hairless canine, winner of the 2009 World’s Ugliest Dog Competition (pedigree division) at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Northern California, has passed away peacefully at the age of 17. She appeared on The Animal Planet cable show “Dogs 101” that was broadcast internationally, was featured on Fox News, seen on billboards and a commercial, and was the star dog at The Comedy Barn Theater® in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

Miss Ellie was rescued when she was 7 years old and brought to live with her owner, Dawn Goehring and 13 other rescue dogs. In her final days Miss Ellie was continually working on raising awareness and money for rescue animals. She was entered in the 2010 World’s Ugliest Dog contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, Calif., and had planned to travel to California next month to compete one more time for the Ugliest Dog title before her retirement.

This year Miss Ellie was determined to raise $1 million dollars for the local humane society through her fund raising campaign titled, “Miss Ellie’s Mission.” The goal of the fund raising drive is to build a new animal shelter in Sevier County, Tenn. The current animal shelter was built to hold 1,000 animals a year and it now holds approximately 5,000 animals annually. There is a video posted on You Tube titled, “Miss Ellie’s Mission,” that shows the needs of the Sevier County Humane Society. The video shows the local shelter’s run down structure including peeling paint, leaking ceilings and cages that literally have to be hand-tied shut because there are not enough funds to repair the cages.

Miss Ellie was considered by many to be so ugly that she was cute. In September of last year she was entered in the All-American Dog Food Pet Brand Cutest Dog Competition and won the popular on line favorite vote over 60,000 dogs that were in the contest. This was more on line votes than any other dog received in the 12 weeks of the national contest. Pigeon Forge Mayor Keith Whaley proclaimed Nov. 12, 2009, as “Miss Ellie Day” in Pigeon Forge for her efforts to raise money for the local Humane Society. Over the years, Miss Ellie has helped raise over $100,000 for the Sevier County Humane Society.

Miss Ellie had been practicing “getting her ugly on” to help with the fund raising drive. Last week she entered the Beauty and the Beast Contest held at the Blount County Critter Fest in Maryville, Tenn., and took first prize for Ugly Critter.

Before her semi-retirement, Miss Ellie, a rescued personal pet, traveled to local schools to inspire children to become responsible pet owners, raise awareness of the importance of animal shelters and to demonstrate safety lessons on bite prevention. She also traveled to nursing homes for pet therapy.

In her final years Ellie was completely blind in both eyes, but was otherwise a healthy dog. Goehring, Miss Ellie’s owner said, “Miss Ellie has touched so many people's hearts and we thank everyone that supported her in her crusades. While we are deeply distressed by Miss Ellie’s passing, we will not stop trying to make a difference for the animals.” Despite her sadness, Goehring takes comfort in knowing that “Miss Elliie can now go frolic in heaven! Rest in peace my little angel.”

Miss Ellie’s fundraising efforts for the Sevier County Humane Society will now be turned over to her canine friends, Elvis and Possum. They are two new Comedy Barn Canines with a “unique” look and Goehring, their owner, hopes to continue with Miss Ellie’s legacy to raise awareness and money for shelter animals.

Messages of condolence can be sent to The Comedy Barn Theater® at 2775 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, Tenn., 37863, e-mailed to: or comments can be posted on The Comedy Barn Canines fan page on Facebook. People are also encouraged to go on line at In memorial of Miss Ellie, people are asked to donate money with checks marked “For the Miss Ellie Fund” to help the Sevier County Humane Society. Anyone who would like to contribute tax-deductible monetary donations should send their check to the Sevier County Humane Society, P.O. Box 976, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863. They can be reached at 865-453-7000.

Goehring, Miss Ellie’s owner, has 11 rescue dogs that perform nightly at the Comedy Barn Theater®. The Comedy Barn Theater® features clean family oriented comedy.

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Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group
Deborah Fee Newsom, 865-414-6887



Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group
Deborah Fee Newsom, 865-414-6887