Auction fundrasier includes puppy; should live animals be given away as prizes?

Seven-week old Goldendoodle puppy.
(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia, user Gandydancer

There’s a discussion going on among some of my Facebook friends about a local charity raising money with a silent auction that includes one “Golden” dog owner package, complete with a new Goldendoodle puppy.

The organization is CURE Childhood Cancer Association, which “provides emotional, educational, and financial assistance to area families whose children are treated in the oncology and hematology department at Golisano Children’s Hospital” at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y. It’s a great organization that really helps people in need.

The event, which takes place this Sunday, October 6, 2013, includes a silent auction with almost 200 prize packages, some inexpensive and some expensive, including bottles of wine, getaway packages, event tickets, salon packages, restaurant certificates, and this, the package that’s causing the stir:

 Golden Opportunity New Pet Package

Take this Golden opportunity and bid on this new puppy bundle!

This package includes a $100 gift certificate to Pet$aver Healthy Pet Superstore, a week of boarding for your puppy at Heavenly Kennel and some great puppy starter items! The individual who wins this package including the items mentioned above will be given a beautiful golden doodle puppy!

Don’t be a guppy. You could be given a puppy! No need to whistle for us,

Just raise your paddle to bid!

Valued at $1,500.00
Minimum Bid: $140.00 Minimum Raise: $10.00 Guaranteed Purchase: $360.00


Feedback from the Facebook community includes comments ranging from “Giving away a puppy at an event is a horrible and terrible idea” to “I am grateful businesses are willing to give to a wonderful cause…”

I do confess that my initial thought was also, “Huh. A live puppy? Is that really a good idea?” I mean, this is a living, breathing creature that the new owner will have to care for for years and years. I’d feel better if there was a requirement for the owner to pass some sort of approval process to make sure they understand this isn’t a gift certificate to a restaurant that they use once and forget about. I’d feel even better if the package also included six weeks of training with a local, positive method dog trainer.

On the other side of the argument, it’s not as if they’re just handing out a puppy to whoever holds out their hand or asking people to throw a ping pong ball into a fishbowl to win a dog. In order to “win” that auction item, bidders need to pay a minimum bid and, if I’m reading this right, the package needs to raise at least $360 to actually be sold. (Can you tell I don’t attend high class events like this very often?) That kind of pares down the potential bidding field to people who are willing to spend money on a dog they actually want.

And like any silent auction, if you don’t want a dog, you don’t bid on the package. It’s not like they’ve bought a raffle ticket and end up going home with a dog they never wanted. If they’re going to bid on this, I’m guessing that chances are good that they’ve read the list of auction packages in advance and are bidding intentionally.

Of course, I could be wrong. Is it possible some irresponsible idiot who shouldn’t be allowed to own a dog wins the package? Sure. But that same irresponsible idiot can take the same money and go buy a “designer” dog at the mall or acquire a dog in myriad other ways – including from the family in our neighborhood with the the crayon-scrawled “Beagle puppies for sale” sign posted in their yard or on CraigsList (see the story on Kiya).

So I’m on the fence. Well-intentioned for sure, but maybe not the greatest idea? What are your thoughts? Good idea? Bad idea? Non-issue?




Researchers develop cloaking device – for real!
Cruelly abused German Shepherd gets second chance
The dangers of leaving your dog in the car – it’s hotter than you think
Mrs. Robin and her babies: the final chapter, part 3
  • Anne Gefell

    This is wrong there should be (outcry) to auction off a pup. You do not need a person making a spontaneous bid and not ready for the 24/7 life long commitment you need going into adopting a puppy. So technically they are not auctioning off a puppy. They are giving it away!! And can sleep at night – what a shame and for such a good cause

  • Monica McLaughlin

    Um . . .Joanne Brokow (author of the article) do you imagine that paying $360 for a dog (the minimal bid), the dog will be guaranteed a good home. $360 is a puppy mill price. Shelters are filled with puppy mill dogs that the owners got tired of. Puppies deserve to go to good homes — not to the highest bidder.

  • Vicki Smith-Drysdale

    This is akin to people buying puppies / kittens at Christmas because “awww, isn’t it cute”, “Won’t Johnny / Jenny just love this?”. Then 6 months down the road, they are wondering what they were thinking because Fido poops in the house, chews on the furniture, leaves dog hair all over, or worse yet, is relegated to a chain out in the yard because the “awww” factor has worn off.

    This is such a bad, bad idea on so many levels! I’m all for raising money for a good cause but lets offer up inanimate prizes; not live ones. $360 is NOTHING! The life of an animal is priceless and when possible, we should be sure that animal is Really, Really wanted. If Petsaver or whomever has offered this prize package truly cares about animals, this will be changed to dog/cat food, grooming services, etc., etc. Not a dog!

  • Janice Cappy

    Nothing good can come from an auction item that throws in a free puppy, no matter how good the cause. Surely one can find a suitable item to substitute. One vist to local shelters would prove this true. There are enough unwanted dogs in these places as it is, and I bet a few were “unwanted surprise gifts”. A pet is big responsibility that NO ONE
    should take lightly. Pets depend on you for their very life, and you must be willing to sacrifice for it. Winning a dog in an auction is TOTALLY irresponsible, on both parts !

  • Sandy Stefanow

    This is such a bad idea
    it makes me sick!!!!!
    puppies deserve a good home with people that LOVE them
    not to some one that is the highest bidder
    what are you thinking??? realy