The ragdoll kitten which is offered as first prize in a raffle run by the Antigua Hall committee.
The ragdoll kitten which is offered as first prize in a raffle run by the Antigua Hall committee.

Kitten raffle ruffles authorities

AN UNUSUAL raffle prize has brought statewide attention to a small Tiaro community group.

The committee that runs Antigua Hall has upset cat lovers and animal care groups by listing a $700 ragdoll kitten as first prize in a raffle set to be drawn at the group’s annual fair in April.

The raffle has caused concern with the RSPCA, Biosecurity Qld and the state’s acting chief veterinary officer.

A hall committee member, who is a registered ragdoll breeder, donated the kitten, which will be five months old by the time it is won on April 18.

The purebred male seal-point will be micro-chipped, vaccinated, desexed, wormed, toilet-trained and given flea treatment before the drawing of the winner but that has not comforted authorities.

The kitten is being advertised as an “inside kitten only”.

A spokesperson for the committee said the kitten was initially intended to be the first prize in a children’s colouring-in and photographic competition at the fair.

But committee members changed their minds after realising the potential winner’s family may not want the cat.

So instead they are raffling it and believe only people who would want a cat will buy tickets.

And although the kitten will be micro-chipped, the committee spokesperson admitted members were unaware they were legally required to do so.

RSPCA Qld has urged the committee to re-think its plan and has asked members of the public not to buy tickets in the raffle.

“We are disappointed that the fundraising group would propose using a live kitten as a raffle prize,” a spokesperson said.

“The raffle is sending completely the wrong message: that pets are a commodity,” she said.

“A pet is a life-long commitment. The decision to bring an animal into your home should not be undertaken on a whim, particularly as part of a competition.

“RSPCA Qld is planning to advise the hall committee to reassess their decision and consider the welfare of the kitten involved, and ask the community to refrain from purchasing tickets.”

Biosecurity Qld said it did not support the giving of animals as prizes.

Qld’s acting chief veterinary officer, Rick Symons, said owning a pet was a commitment that included the expenses of feeding and healthcare.

“Pets need to be matched to their owners, taking into account temperament, breed type, housing, ability to exercise and other members of the household including other people and animals,” Dr Symons said.

“These duty of care obligations are provided for under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001,” he said.

“Raffling an animal is not the best way to meet the needs of the animal and the owner.”

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