PORTLAND – Jesuit High School has decided not to auction off a puppy at its annual fundraising gala, after loud criticism on social media from people across the country.
Jesuit officials told KGW Thursday their fundraiser will still go on as planned, but it will no longer include a Bernese Mountain Dog.
The school’s Facebook page was blasted with comments, mostly negative, after it first announced that the unique breed of dog would be one of the big-ticket items in its Auction Gala on May 3.
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. But breeders for the Bernese Mountain Dog seemed especially concerned this year, due to the dog's size and other unique qualities.
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.
In Jesuit's defense, Tuenge said the school carefully chooses the items it puts up for auction, including this year's puppy and all of the others which were selected for past fundraisers.
On Thursday afternoon, Jesuit High released the following statement:
Jesuit High School has always carefully and thoughtfully considered the choice of breeds and placement of puppies in its annual Auction and has provided suitable loving environments for each dog which is placed in the homes of Jesuit families. Certain animal rights protesters, who apparently do not believe a suitable home for a dog can ever be found at an auction event, have criticized JHS for its plan to auction a puppy at an upcoming school auction. We adamantly disagree with the opinions of these protesters (and the means by which they chose to express these opinions), but out of concern for the Jesuit community and the privacy of the responsible dog owners and reputable breeders it has worked with in years past, the school has decided not to include a puppy in this year’s auction, an event which supports need-based financial aid and other vital programs benefiting Jesuit students and families.
Background: Breeders oppose puppy auction at Jesuit High