A Facebook post by the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office sparked some backlash, forcing the agency to cancel plans to raffle off a German Shepherd puppy. The proceeds were slated to go back into the department to help with Cleveland County's K-9 training.
Amy Miller is a rescue volunteer with the American Pit Bull Foundation. She wasn't surprised the post went viral.
“The right people saw it, the right people shared it, the right people posted it,” Miller said.
Since the post went up two days ago, more than 5,000 people flooded the page. They posted messages to the department such as “Shame on you” and “You raffle things like bicycles, inanimate objects, not living things."
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“It’s easy to sit behind a keyboard, but that’s not going to change anything,” Miller said.
That’s why Miller decided to call deputies when she saw the Facebook post.
“Being in rescue, I thought that it was problematic, but I also thought, these guys don’t know any better. They immediately said, 'well, we don’t want to put this puppy in jeopardy, we want a great home for him,' so we brainstormed a little bit,” Miller said.
The puppy raffle is something the Sheriff’s Office tells WBTV they’ve been doing for 18 years to raise funds.
They say every winner in the past was vetted to make sure they could provide a loving home for the animal. But that wasn’t specified in the Facebook post, something they did for the first time this year.
“Getting frustrated and angry is very understandable to me, but sometimes you need to pick up phone and see how to improve things. That’s all I did,” Miller said.
Because of the backlash, the raffle has been canceled but Miller still hopes to raise the money without it.
“This raffle has a wonderful tradition and it’s all about saying what’s worked for 18 years may not be a good idea today,” Miller said.
Miller has set up a GoFundMe page hoping to raise $9,000 for the sheriff’s K9 program and the puppy’s training.
▪ To donate: http://www.gofundme.com/ed3fr9j4