Saatchi & Saatchi chairman Richard Huntington was the subject of ridicule on social media and the press after he crowdfund surgery for his dog, Edward Lear.
Huntington and his fashion designer wife, Annabel Bird, regularly contribute images of Lear to Instagram, building a following of 10,000. Lear is also a dog model, posing many canine attire on the website Bleak House.
The pair were criticised for resorting to an online fundraiser on GoFundMe for the high rolling pooch who’s pricey treatment of elbow dysplasia, torn cruciate ligaments and arthritis at the hands of celebrity vet Noel Fitzpatrick. This exceeded the pet insurance cap of £4,000. As a result the couple looked for £7,500 to pay for the finest treatment on the market. They reached £5,365 before freezing donations amid criticism.
Private Eye first reported that the pair own a £1m home. Further Huntington is thought to earn an enviable six figure salary raising the question why the fundraiser was necessary. The campaign garnered substantial media coverage and provoked negative comments on social media.
I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming that he doesn't earn as much as you'd imagine. Which is fair enough because his job is probably close to a sinecure anyway. Correct me if I'm wrong @adliterate
— Ciaran James Murphy (@ciaranmurphyads) January 26, 2018
When my dog was needed an £3.5k operation, and his insurance wouldn't cover it because of his diabetes, I sold my belongings to pay for it. Yet @adliterate on his six-figure salary, begs people for £7,500! You should be ashamed! https://t.co/95lUnu5UQ0
— Paul Rainford (@PaulRainford) January 26, 2018
@adliterate a little bit of advice for the ‘Brand Strategist’ @saatchilondon Don’t beg, scrounge, cheat and effectively steal money when you earn what you earn. If @saatchilondon have any self respect they’ll sack you and get someone else to represent them!
— Dan Cole (@cole31_dan) January 26, 2018
I’ve had to read this three times now because I just can’t believe it. The sense of entitlement from someone in my sector makes me feel ashamed Saatchi & Saatchi chairman defends crowdfunding his dog’s vet billshttps://t.co/mncysFRtJz
— MARK A IZATT (@markaizatt) January 26, 2018
When the Chief Strategy Officer of Saatchi & Saatchi and his business owning wife, living in Primrose Hill, launched a £7500 crowdfunding campaign to pay their dogs vet bills, they could at least have forseen the backlash ... not a good look . https://t.co/MOa6JMBCqx
— ianpatterson99 (@ianpatterson99) January 26, 2018
I hope Richard Huntingdon of Saatchi & Saatchi pays back all those who paid for his dog s treatment . You should be ashamed asking for money . You could of just paid for it yourselves. @SaatchiLA
— Anne (@annief1) January 26, 2018
I don't understand this world we live in anymore: https://t.co/mpiDDeE4ON
— Stewart Lee (@stewartelee) January 26, 2018
— Peter Nimmo (@PeterNimmo1) January 24, 2018
On the crowdfunder, Bird wrote: "All I want is for my funny little dog to be able to run around again like the crazy terrier he is and climb mountains in the Lake District and Snowdonia like he used to and enjoy his life to the fullest."
She excused the crowdfunder, pointing out that it is a common practise in the doggy side of Instagram. "This is not uncommon in the dog community on Instagram which is a wholly supportive and wonderful place to hang out. Anyone who follows Edward and/or me on Instagram knows something of our lives and I have never made a secret of the fact that Richard has a high-profile career (he is usually tagged when he appears in Edward’s feed)."
Lear was not available for comment.
With most of the money raised, the good news is that Lear will likely be chasing his tail again any day now.