- Associated Press - Thursday, September 11, 2014

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) - An Indiana farm supply store’s plan to raffle off a young goat to help local 4-H programs has been called off.

The Rural King store in Muncie was selling $1 tickets. But the city’s animal control agency halted the contest on Wednesday and fined the business $100 for raffling a live animal in violation of a local ordinance.

The Star Press reports (https://tspne.ws/1CSXqzh ) that the 3-month-old brown goat, named Ernie, had been kept in a pen inside the store since at least last week.

Animal Rescue Fund co-director Dana Salkoski said she offered to buy the goat for $100, but was told the raffle had already raised about $600 and would go on as scheduled.

A store manager referred calls to the chain’s corporate office, which had no comment.

Fund founder Terri Panszi said the issue hit home since the group had rescued a goat and eight lambs earlier this year.

“The problem we have is they’re raffling off a live animal to they-don’t-know-who,” Panszi said.

The local ordinance includes an exception for “4-H auctions and/or charity fundraisers,” but it didn’t apply because the store isn’t officially connected with 4-H and had not made arrangements with 4-H before the raffle, according to Muncie Animal Shelter/Animal Control Director Phil Peckinpaugh.

Donors who didn’t want to participate in the actual raffle could check a box saying they just wanted their money to go to 4-H.

“I think that their intent was noble,” Peckinpaugh said. But, he said, “rules are rules.”

The goat was leashed and taken out to a waiting pickup truck while Peckinpaugh was still in the store Wednesday, to be returned to the farm from which it had come.

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Information from: The Star Press, https://www.thestarpress.com

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