A PEDIGREE pup which was up for raffle as part of a GAA club’s Gathering celebration this weekend, has been withdrawn from the prize list after a flood of complaints from animal lovers.
A message was posted on the Twitter and Facebook sites of Castletown Ballyagran GAA club this week advising the public that the proposed raffle of a Bichon Frise “has caused some concern about the dog’s future welfare”. “Therefore, having listened to the experience and indeed concerns voiced in our comments section and direct messages, we at the club have immediately withdrawn the dog from our raffle,” the statement continued. According to Ger McNamara of the local Gathering committee, the pup was donated to club in good faith and they did not foresee the reaction it would get.
People from across the country posted concerns about the raffle prize on both Twitter and Facebook.
“It was only this week that the furore started,” said Ger. “This person said he would give us a Bichon Frise pup and I thought that it was great. It wasn’t until we broadcast it that we got a bit of stick over it. Some people went a way over the top,” he said. “Basically, the people who were going to be buying these raffle tickets are from the village but one person was saying that Bichon Frises were being sold to blood fighting dogs.”
According to Ger, it wasn’t a case that the dog would be given out to anybody. “It’s a pedigree dog and is worth a few bob,” he explained. “It wasn’t a case that we were going to give this dog to any person.
“The thing about it was the winner had a choice – either take the pup or €250.”
Since the club posted the news that they had changed their mind, there has been a huge outpouring of support with dozens of people posting messages of appreciation.
“Thank you for listening and taking our concerns on board. Respect to you,” read one message. One person however, took a more cynical view. “I’d say ye couldn’t have had a better publicity stunt. Michael O’ Leary would be proud of ye!”
A number of sporting events will take place in the GAA pitch in Ballyagran this Saturday for the Gathering including underage games from one o’clock.
From 2.30pm to 5.30pm Limerick hurlers Paudie O’Brien and Paul Browne will be signing autographs.