A day after reiterating its intent to hold its 2018 fundraising event at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, Big Dog Ranch Rescue did an about face and pulled its luncheon from the Palm Beach club. Instead, the organization will hold its event at a new facility in Loxahatchee Groves.
The move follows the decision by eight other charities to bail on Mar-a-Lago in the wake of of Trump’s controversial statements following last weekend’s neo-Nazi and white supremacist rallies in Virginia. Big Dog Ranch’s move, though, is surprising given that Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, is a co-chair.
On Thursday, as Cleveland Clinic and the American Cancer Society said they would relocate their galas from Mar-a-Lago, Big Dog Ranch’s leadership stood by its decision to host one of its biggest events of the year at the president’s Palm Beach estate.
That changed Friday.
“In the interest of being better able to focus on our core mission of helping animals and saving dogs, we have decided to hold our next annual luncheon at our new facility in Loxahatchee Groves,” the organization said. “Holding the event at our facility will also give our donors a first-hand look at our world-class dog rescue operation. We look forward to a successful event and the continued community support that has resulted in thousands of dogs each year finding forever homes through the Ranch.”
The “Wine, Women and Shoes” event was scheduled for Mar-a-Lago on March 10, said Robin Friedman, Big Dog Ranch director of development.
Lara Trump, who is married to the president’s son Eric, is sharing chairwoman duties with Georgina Bloomberg, daughter of billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
They are among other high-profile supporters of Big Dog Ranch, including Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw. Big Dog Ranch Rescue gained national attention in 2013 when country music star Miranda Lambert visited the ranch and adopted a puppy, which she named Bellamy.
The group recently completed the first phase of its new facility, which features “bunkhouses” where dogs can roam without being kenneled.