After controversy last year where several entrants were accused by members of the public of having used bots to rig votes, and were subsequently disqualified, RACQ spokesperson Renee Smith said the insurer looked forward to a fair and friendly competition this time around.
“We were disappointed with the actions and the behaviour of some of participants last year, so we’ve made some changes and look forward to a competition without the dog fights,” Ms Smith said.
“The competition’s designed to give Queenslanders the opportunity to show off their fur baby in a friendly environment – we’ve done what we can to ensure that happens this year.”
Ms Smith said the main competition changes were to the voting format and prize structure.
“Entries open on 3 June and close 15 July so you can enter the best snap of your pet,” she said.
“A top 50, split between cats and dogs, will be selected from entries by a panel of judges and uploaded for a public vote to secure the top 12 finalists.
“The overall winner will be decided by whoever has the most votes.”
Ms Smith said instead of offering one $5000 winner’s prize, this year, everyone in the top 12 would receive a $1000 eftpos card and the overall winner will have the honour of being featured on the front cover of The Road Ahead magazine and the 2020 RACQ calendar.
“If you have a pet and you live in Queensland, we encourage you to enter,” she said.
“All pets are beautiful members of the family, but as owners you know when your fur baby has that special something – a mannerism or look that is a true representation of its ‘pawsonality’ and that’s what we want to see in your entry.”
“The voting will be open to anyone across Australia, so from 17 to 31 July, we’re urging everyone to head online and get behind their favourite dog or cat.”
Ms Smith said the proceeds from the sale of RACQ calendars would be donated to the Animal Welfare League Queensland (AWLQ).
“RACQ proudly supports the important work of the AWLQ and we can’t wait to see the adorable pets chosen as next year’s calendar models and to hear more about their stories.”
Key 2019 RACQ Pet Search dates:
• Entries open: 9am 3 June 2019. Entries close: 5pm 15 July 2019
• Top 50 chosen by judging panel: 16 July 2019
• Voting opens to the public: 9am 17 July 2019
• Voting closes: 5pm 31 July 2019
• Overall winner announced: 1 August 2019.