DOG OF A PRIZE NOT THE TICKET

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - THE SAUCE -

A SEVEN-month-old puppy has landed at the cen­tre of a po­lit­i­cal fundrais­ing scan­dal af­ter plans to raf­fle her to raise cam­paign dol­lars for the Shoot­ers, Fish­ers and Farm­ers were put on hold fol­low­ing in­ter­ven­tion from the grey­hound reg­u­la­tory body.

Grey­hound breeder and trainer Vicki Prest had put the fe­male puppy up as a prize to raise funds for lo­cal Shoot­ers Coota­mundra can­di­date Matt Stadt­miller for his sup­port of the in­dus­try.

The prize win­ner was to choose a puppy from two avail­able fe­males. How­ever, the Grey­hounds Wel­fare In­tegrity Com­mis­sion (GWIC) were not amused, last week email­ing Prest with a re­quest to “re­con­sider” the puppy prize. “The giv­ing away of a grey­hound puppy in such cir­cum­stances does not send a pos­i­tive mes­sage to the broader com­mu­nity,” it said. The GWIC claimed it had also re­ceived sev­eral com­plaints about the raf­fle.

The email trig­gered an up­roar from the Shoot­ers with state MLC Robert Bor­sak, de­scrib­ing the re­quest to re­move the prize as “in­sane”. “Does this mean par­ents can’t give their kids a puppy for Christ­mas?” he said. Prest, who owns 40 grey­hounds — “20 are pets” — said the raf­fle was a chance to bring peo­ple into the in­dus­try. “It was a way to raise some funds for Matt and also get peo­ple in to the in­dus­try,” she said. “I was go­ing to of­fer to break it in and pro­vide ad­vice on train­ers. I love my dogs — I look af­ter them bet­ter than I look af­ter my­self — and I would never let them go to some­one who didn’t.” The pup­pies — one red fawn, the other black — will re­main on Prest’s prop­erty as the Shoot­ers seek fur­ther ad­vice.

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