A group of puppies rescued from a pet shop fire in January garnered enormous attention as a Las Vegas shelter tried to find each one a new home. Now, the Animal Foundation will put the 27 young dogs up for adoption in a most unconventional way: the organization will raffle off the puppies beginning this Friday, in a pricey lottery that costs $250 a ticket.
"Since this story broke in January, we have received hundreds of calls, emails and messages from interested adopters," said Christine Robinson, the Animal Foundation's executive director. "We want to allow everyone interested in adopting one of these dogs the opportunity to adopt. A raffle process is the best way to guarantee everyone receives a chance."
Prospective adopters may purchase as many raffle tickets as they want, but the shelter is instituting a one puppy per home limit in order to satisfy the greatest number of interested animal-lovers. Raffle entry forms include adoption paperwork, which will allow the shelter to weed out unfit candidates before the actual lottery. Additionally, winners will also be required to attend an in-person screening at the Animal Foundation, to ensure that the adoption will be a good fit.
The Animal Foundation is also using the raffle as an opportunity to promote adoption for other dogs at the shelter, in addition to those rescued from the pet shop fire. According to the organization's website, anyone who purchases a raffle ticket but does not get selected for one of the 27 most-wanted puppies will be able to exchange their ticket for the adoption of another pet through the end of 2014. The $250 raffle ticket cost is equal to the shelter's adoption fee.
The raffle has outraged members of the Las Vegas animal welfare community, who have called the event a money grab, not a genuine effort to find the puppies the best homes possible. Gina Griesen, president of Nevada Voters For Animals, has been looking into legal options -- including an injunction -- to stop the raffle before it concludes on March 14. Griesen's group and the group No Kill Las Vegas have organized two protests outside the Animal Foundation, but at present the raffle is still scheduled to begin on Friday.