Saatchi & Saatchi chairman and chief strategy officer Richard Huntington and his fashion designer wife Annabel Bird responded today to the viral, negative attention they garnered for launching a GoFundMe page to foot a £7,500 ($10,632) vet bill for their dog, a four-year-old Welsh Terrier named Edward Lear, who happens to be an Instagram star.
Bird started out thanking everyone who donated to the pup’s cause in an update on the crowd-funding page she created earlier this month.
“Unfortunately, his page has received some negative press because of who my husband Richard works for,” she continued. “As you know, this page was set up for our friends and family and those of mine and Edward’s Instagram followers who kindly asked to donate money to help with his recovery. This is not uncommon in the dog community on Instagram which is a wholly supportive and wonderful place to hang out.”
Bird concluded that her “only concern has been for Edward” but told those who now may wish to withdraw their donation to email her directly.
The news that Huntington and Bird launched the GoFundMe page, which so far raised £5,365, to fund treatment for Edward from celebrity vet Noel Fitzpatrick, was first reported by the Daily News U.K.
In the original GoFundMe post, Bird explained Edward has elbow dysplasia in one of his front legs and torn cruciate ligaments in both rear legs, plus arthritis. The couple’s usual vet referred them to the specialty Fitzpatrick who could operate on the pooch. But their insurance only covered £4,000 of the total £11,500 operating cost, leaving them short £7,500.
Bird called on Edward’s 10,400 followers to donate to the cause and get him “scamping again.”
Bird’s and Huntington’s ploy would otherwise not be unusual—GoFundMe was launched specifically to help people with similar types of personal causes—if it were not for their social status, being that the latter is a top executive at a giant agency network owned by conglomerate Publicis Groupe. As many Twitter critics pointed out, Bird and Huntington certainly don’t seem to need the financial help.
FMD, the absolute nerve of these people, Richard Huntington (@ adliterate) & wife Annabel scrounging vet bill donations on @gofundme! “Our insurance has a limit of £4,000…So, we are left with bills of £7,500 and are asking for help to pay them.” https://t.co/0zbQ0sMAaI https://t.co/c4i5J9hucY
— Lyndsay Farlow (@LyndsayFarlow) January 24, 2018
Another user asked, “The two of you have no shame, do you? … Money enough and yet begging for pocket money?”
The duo live a lavish life in their £1 million flat in Primrose Hill, London, according to the Daily Mail.
Bird owns online London lifestyle store, Bleak House. Huntington was named chairman and chief strategy officer of Saatchi & Saatchi in February 2017, but had been with the agency since 2008, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Huntington graduated from the prestigious University of Cambridge and, according to the Daily Mail, is thought to earn a six-figure salary.