Amherst, MA — Tensions have erupted around the PAW Pet Popularity Contest after original photos of contest winner Cocoa (above) surfaced online late last night. The newly released photos have cast doubt on the legitimacy of Cocoa’s first-prize pictures.
“OMG, is that really Cocoa??? Yuck,” said Samuel Bloomington ’17, PAW contest aficionado, in an email exchange with the Muck-Rake. “I would have NEVER been so supportive of Cocoa, if I had only known…lulz its UGLY,” he wrote.
While Cocoa could not be reached for comment, her representatives have defended her against the allegations.
“Yes, the photos may have been touched up just a little,” said Cocoa’s owner Miley Zupan ’15. ” But this was a competitive year and we wanted to put our best foot forward. At least Cocoa didn’t get collagen injections, like a certain Axolotl competitor.”
Critics have argued that retouching photos sets unrealistic standards for pets.
“My Body is Beautiful Week doesn’t only apply for people,” said animal rights activist Lucy Mazzetti ’17, “and it doesn’t only apply during #MBIBW. Every animal’s body is cute, and photo retouching for enhanced cuteness sends the wrong message.”
In response to the allegations, the organizers of the PAW benefit dinner have created a committee to perform a comprehensive investigation into the matter. Gerald Wang ’18, speaking on behalf of his fellow organizers, said the committee expected to release their findings within the month.