Raquel Leviss Claims Her Dog Was Used as a ‘Pawn’ in ‘Vanderpump Rules’ Negotiations Game

James Kennedy and Raquel Leviss

Getty James Kennedy and Raquel Leviss.

Raquel Leviss broke her silence on the fate of her dog, Graham.

The former  “Vanderpump Rules”  star spoke out during an August 2023 interview on Bethenny Frankel’s “Just B With Bethenny” podcast to set the record straight on how her dog ended up in the custody of her ex, James Kennedy – and she accused Bravo of using the situation to try to sway her to return to “Vanderpump Rules” following the Scandoval affair with her former co-star Tom Sandoval.

Here’s what you need to know:

Raquel Leviss Claimed James Kennedy Made Graham Aggressive

When Leviss was in a live-in relationship with Kennedy, her parents gave her a goldendoodle pup as a graduation gift. She named the dog Graham Cracker, and Kennedy helped her raise the dog.

But following the couple’s split in December 2021, Leviss kept the dog and refused Kennedy visitation rights. While Leviss left home to get treatment at a mental health facility, her family watched Graham, but the dog became aggressive and bit Leviss’ mom, Laura.

Leviss’ mom issued a statement to Entertainment Tonight in July 2021 to explain that Graham bit her finger “ to the bone” and the decision was made to get him training and rehome him.

Leviss shared new details while speaking with Frankel.

“Graham… He has a history of aggression and he’s bitten me really hard,” she said before revealing that she had been considering finding a foster family for her dog while she went in for treatment to see if it would work out.

“Graham bit my mom’s hand down to the bone, and it was so bad she couldn’t even get stitches,” Leviss said. “I had the decision to either leave the Meadows (mental health treatment facility) and go back and take care of my dog or try to get him rehomed and finish out my treatment. … I chose myself and we researched a breed-specific dog rescue, and they took him in besides his biting behavior. Bottom line, he couldn’t get rehomed.”

While some fans wondered why Leviss wouldn’t have just let Kennedy take the dog, she told Frankel: “There’s a reason why I didn’t want James to have Graham. He doesn’t have dog experience and he’s part of the reason why Graham is a biter. James would encourage Graham to bite his hands hard, and he liked that sensation, so of course that trained Graham to be a biter,” she said.

Leviss stated that Kennedy ultimately got Graham after a dog shelter scanned his microchip and figured out that she used to be his owner. The shelter then contacted Lisa Vanderpump’s dog rescue, and she reunited Kennedy and the dog while filming scenes for “Vanderpump Rules” in Lake Tahoe.

Leviss told Frankel she felt sick when she found out that Graham had been adopted by her ex  with Vanderpump’s involvement.

“I thought it was a joke at first, and my heart dropped to my stomach,” Leviss told Frankel. “There was a picture of James walking Graham, and I was like, ‘No.’ Immediately, my mom called the foster who was working with Graham, and she said, ‘Oh it’s so lovely, Lisa adopted him,’ and we were like, ‘What?’”

Raquel Leviss Accused Lisa Vanderpump & Producers of Using Graham as ‘Bait’ to Get Her to Come Back to the Show

Vanderpump Rules stars

Tommy Garcia/Bravo“Vanderpump Rules” season 10 cast.

While speaking with Frankel, Leviss also accused Vanderpump and producers of using Graham as a “pawn” in a storyline to further a “villain narrative” about that she dropped her dog at a shelter and he was “hours away from being euthanized.”

Leviss said she called Vanderpump to express concern about Kennedy getting custody of the dog.

“I told her my concerns about Graham being in the care of James Kennedy,” she said. “[I] explained that James is not a fit dog parent and she was just talking about the potential scenes we could film together, she’s like ;just come back for one final interview.’ … And she almost got me back because I did want to share my side of the story and there was this fire lit beneath me because I was angry that Graham was being used as a pawn in all of this. And I really do feel like he was bait to get me back.”

In August 2023, Vanderpump told TMZ she spoke to Leviss about returning for the 11th season of “Vanderpump Rules” and teased that she had planned “to do a one-on-one with her,” but that Leviss declined, thus missing the cast trip to Lake Tahoe.

During an Amazon Live on July 24, co-star Scheana Shay shared details of how Kennedy was reunited with Graham during the trip. “We are in Tahoe, right, and all of sudden Lisa Vanderpump comes walking down the stairs. She looks like an angel, by the way,” Shay said. “And she comes down the stairs with this dog that looks identical to Graham. James’ heart is racing. Sandoval’s sitting right there. All of us are like, ‘What is happening?’”

Shay also claimed that when Leviss cared for Graham he was “not the nicest puppy,” but added, “This dog in Tahoe on this trip… he was he most well-behaved, sweet Goldendoodle.”

Now that he has officially adopted Graham, Kennedy has renamed the pup “Hippie.”

READ NEXT: Raquel Leviss Makes Bold Claim About Tom Sandoval & Ariana Madix’s Relationship

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