Who is Sarma Melngailis's dog Leon in Bad Vegan?March 17, 2022
WITH big, loving eyes and soft, floppy ears, Leon the Pitbull has become the break-out star of new Netflix true-crime hit Bad Vegan.
The series follows the true story of Sarma Melngailis, whose life begins to go off the rails when she marries a mysterious man who promises her fame and fortune as well as immortality for the beloved pooch.
Who is Sarma Melngailis's dog Leon?
Leon is a pitbull rescued by Sarma Melngailis in 2010.
Melngailis adopted Leon from Sean Casey Animal Rescue in Brooklyn after seeing an advertisement about him in a Kris Carr newsletter.
Then named Quinn, Melngailis travelled to Brooklyn to meet with him – with a completed application form and a lead in her handbag – before taking him home the next day, she wrote on her blog.
She said: "Our first afternoon was a little nerve-wracking. I was sort of afraid, not knowing what his full background was, if he’d ever been abused beyond just neglected and if he might get aggressive.
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"But after a little suspicious getting to know each other, of course, it turned out he’s about the sweetest thing ever.
"Hyper, yet incredibly sweet. He slept the first night in his crate, but after that on a dog bed next to me, and then of course now he sleeps with me."
What happened to Leon in Bad Vegan?
The Netflix show follows the story of Melngailis who helped popularise the raw food movement with her restaurants Pure Food & Wine and One Lucky Duck.
In 2011 she began talking to Anthony Strangis on Twitter, under the name Shane Fox.
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The pair married in 2012 and over the next four and a half years Melngailis funneled millions of pounds to Strangis and had to perform a series of tests without question.
Strangis promised in return he could help expand her raw vegan empire, and even make Leon immortal.
However, it turned out her husband was not everything he seemed to be. The man she believed to be Shane Fox was Anthony Strangis, a con artist and convicted criminal who once impersonated a police officer.
In 2015 the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office charged Melngailis and Strangis with fraud for stealing nearly $2million and violating labour laws.
After going on the run, the pair were caught on May 10, 2016, with both eventually serving time in prison.
During Melngailis' incarceration at Rikers Island, Leon was cared for by her father John before the pair were reunited upon her release.
What has Sarma Melngailis said about Leon?
Through Melngailis filing for divorce in 2018, serving time in prison, and losing her restaurants, her bond with Leon has just grown stronger.
She told Tudum: "Having Leon around me is extremely grounding.
"If I’m worried or upset, I sometimes hold his face and look in his eyes and tell him that everything’s going to be okay, which makes me feel better. In effect, I’m reassuring myself.
"Some dogs get anxious when their guardian leaves the house, but for us, it’s the other way around. Leon is fine; I’m the one who gets anxious being away from him."
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In March 2022, Leon celebrated his 12th birthday.
Leon has his own Instagram account, oneluckyrescuedog, where people can keep up with his daily antics.
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