The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department in North Carolina has been holding a dog raffle for years, but this year’s contest has been called off after a flood of criticism on social media.
The raffle, held to raise money for the department’s canine unit, is part of the county fair and it offers a chance to win a German shepherd pup for $1.
But after posting details of this year’s raffle on its Facebook page, the department drew thousands of complaints — most of them calling the contest irresponsible and objecting to randomly awarding a dog to a family that had not been screened first.
“I’m sure this is being done with good intentions. However, please reconsider,” one resident wrote. “You have no way of knowing what kind of home this pup will go to… Perhaps you could pair up with the local shelter and do a fundraiser with them and in turn encourage residents to adopt from the shelter.”
Cleveland County Sheriff Alan Norman did not comment on what precautions might be taken to screen the raffle winner when contacted by the Shelby Star.
But Captain Richard Acuff later said the sheriff’s office has used a screening process in the past, including a visit to the winner’s house to make sure it’s a safe environment.
Nevertheless, on Friday, the sheriff’s office posted notice on its Facebook page that the raffle was cancelled:
“The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office has cancelled the raffle for the German shepherd puppy that was going to be raffled at the Cleveland County Fair. Our original post did not state that in the past years we have required the person that won the drawing to be subjected to Cleveland County’s Animal Adoption Policy.
“Due to the overwhelming outcry we have teamed with a reputable 501.C3 animal rescue that has agreed to help in finding a suitable owner for this puppy… The Sheriff’s Office will be looking into other fundraising projects to help support our K-9 program. If you purchased tickets you will be contacted and your money will be refunded.”
A spokesperson for a local animal rescue group says the raffle is risky because the puppy could end up in the wrong hands.
“Just because someone can afford a dollar for a raffle does not mean that they can afford lifelong care for an animal,” Brianna Duffy, a spokesperson with Catering to Cats and Dogs told Fox 46 News.
“We rescue a lot of dogs that have been used as bait dogs, dogs that have been sold to any person on the side of the road to just have it for their own personal use, which is not positive,” she added.
A GoFundMe page was set up Friday on behalf of the sheriff’s department.
Posted by The American Pit Bull Foundation in Charlotte, it seeks to raise enough funds to cover what the sheriff department would have made through the raffle.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 7th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, canceled, cancelled, cleveland county, complaints, concerns, county, county fair, dog, dog raffle, dogs, fair, fundraising, german shepherd, irresponsible, north carolina, pets, raffle, sheriff, sheriff's department, social media