Fact Check

Did Andrew Cuomo Leave His Dog Behind in the Governor's Mansion?

The disgraced former governor allegedly asked if any staff member could keep the dog.

Published Sep 1, 2021

Photos from the opening of the new Delta Air Lines terminal in LaGuardia Airport in Queens, NY, on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019. (Chris Rank for Rank Studios) (Delta News Hub/Wikimedia Commons)
Photos from the opening of the new Delta Air Lines terminal in LaGuardia Airport in Queens, NY, on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019. (Chris Rank for Rank Studios) (Image Via Delta News Hub/Wikimedia Commons)
Disgraced former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo left his dog, Captain, behind when he moved out of the governor’s house in mid-August 2021, and asked if any staff member could keep him.

Captain the dog was left at the governor’s mansion when Cuomo departed, and a staff member briefly took him home. However, Cuomo denied claims that he had left the dog behind for good, saying Captain would “always” be a “part of our family,” and the arrangement was “temporary” because he wanted to go on vacation and was asking staffers to care for his dog. By Aug. 23, 2021, the dog had been picked up by a trainer.

Ex-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned from his office in early August 2021, after numerous women came forward and accused him of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. His final day in office was on Aug. 23, 2021, but he departed the governor’s mansion in Albany a few days early for his sister's home. A news report, citing two state police as sources, said he had left his dog, Captain, behind, and asked staff members if anyone could keep him.

The report appeared in the Times Union, on Aug. 22, 2021. Captain, who is a Siberian, shepherd, malamute mix, was adopted in 2018, and has nipped a few people since then. A staff member at the mansion took him home for a brief period, but brought him back as he was too much to handle.

But Cuomo’s spokesperson, ​​Richard Azzopardi, denied the claims to the Times Union, saying the arrangement was only “temporary” as the then-governor was planning to go on vacation after his term was up, and needed someone to watch Captain. In an earlier conversation, before Cuomo left office, and as Hurricane Henri was approaching, Azzopardi said: “He wants to go on vacation. They love that dog. … That's not what he asked: He didn't ask to give away the dog. … This nameless source is crazy. ... I can't believe this is what I'm dealing with right now, when I'm dealing with a major storm."

He added in a later statement that the governor had more important things to be dealing with, like the hurricane: “Captain is part of the governor's family and for your nameless ill-informed source to imply they've been trying to give him away is untrue. Someone offered to watch him for a few days while the transition was ongoing but for that to be weaponized and morph from a game of telephone into the pages of your paper is absurd — now excuse us we're preparing for a major storm."

As the paper noted, this meant that Cuomo was asking state employees to watch his dog even after his resignation was effective.

Cuomo himself also denied the claim on his Twitter account on Aug. 23, posting a picture of himself and his daughters with Captain, and writing, “He is part of our family and that’s the way it will always be.” But the picture is not a recent one, it appeared in a 2020 People magazine profile of the Cuomo family during the pandemic.

The New York State Animal Protective Federation also released a statement on Aug. 23, after the Times Union story broke:

But one of the unnamed state police sources who made the original claim about Cuomo leaving his dog behind, stood by his story, telling the Times Union on Aug. 24: "He planned on keeping that dog as much as he planned on living over his big sister's garage at [...] 63."

According to an article update, Captain was picked up on Aug. 23 by a local dog trainer who also had boarding facilities.


“Andrew Cuomo & His Daughters Look Back at 3 Months in the Center of COVID-19 Pandemic.” PEOPLE.com, https://people.com/politics/andrew-cuomo-daughters-look-back-life-in-coronavirus-pandemic/. Accessed 1 Sept. 2021.

“Gov. Andrew Cuomo Resigns over Sexual Harassment Allegations.” AP NEWS, 10 Aug. 2021, https://apnews.com/article/andrew-cuomo-resigns-17161f546bb83c32a337036ecf8d2a34. Accessed 1 Sept. 2021.

Lahut, Jake. “Andrew Cuomo Left His Dog Captain at the Governor’s Mansion after He Moved out and Reportedly Asked If Anyone Could Keep Him.” Business Insider, https://www.businessinsider.com/cuomo-dog-captain-left-behind-governor-mansion-moving-out-ny-2021-8. Accessed 1 Sept. 2021.

Lyons, Brendan J. “Cuomo’s Dog Captain Left at Mansion after Governor Departed.” Times Union, 23 Aug. 2021, https://www.timesunion.com/state/article/Cuomo-s-dog-Captain-left-at-mansion-after-16402902.php. Accessed 1 Sept. 2021.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.