PORTLAND – One of the big-ticket items at an upcoming Jesuit High School fundraising auction is angering people across the country.
Jesuit High School announced it will be auctioning off a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy during the annual Auction Gala on May 3. Now, breeders of the large dog are speaking out about the decision.
The Catholic High School has auctioned off items, including puppies, as part of its fundraiser for more than a decade, according to school spokeswoman Erika Tuenge.
Last year, the school auctioned off a labradoodle puppy. The auction took in $710,000 for financial aid and other school programs. The dog itself raised thousands of dollars, according to a nonprofit newsletter.
“The school takes this practice very seriously throughout the auction office’s process to identify specific breeds from reputable, conscientious and caring breeders,” Tuenge said.
But Bernese Mountain Dog breeders from around the country have filled Jesuit High School’s Facebook page with angry comments about the auction, saying the choice is “disappointing” and “horrifying.”
Mona Williams, a Bernese Mountain Dog breeder from Goodrich, Michigan, joined the Facebook conversation. She said she heard about the auction item from another breeder and is livid that the school would choose to auction off a living animal.
“The sale of any puppy should never be done by people who are drinking and having a great time,” Williams said. “[Bernese Mountain Dog] puppies are adorable but they turn into 100-pound large dogs.”
Williams said she and other breeders are worried the person buying the puppy might regret their decision later.
“Nobody should get caught in the moment of a bidding frenzy and end up with something you don’t know what to do with,” she said.
But the school said it carefully considers the breed auctioned off every year, including this year’s Bernese puppy.
“The choice of breed each year is based on clear knowledge of who are potential auction purchasers in the audience. These families represent current and past owners of the breed that is chosen,” Tuenge said.
Still, Williams thinks the school should reconsider the tradition.
“It seems wrong to auction a puppy to the highest bidder,” she said.