London, Dec 31 (ANI): A charity calendar has upset animal lovers and vets alike after it featured racy images of scantily-clad women in bizarre poses with dogs that they say suggested bestiality.
The 2011 Puppy Love calendar is intended to raise money for an animal rescue charity in Wicklow, Ireland.
While some of the poses are quite tasteful, others appear to have been taken entirely for their shock value.
The photographs have caused quite a stir, especially when for the month of March 22-year-old Polish model Agata Dembiecka is shown holding a small dog at her naked breast.
Animal lovers and vets have poured scorn on the "distasteful" photograph, which is the brainchild of Dublin-based male photographer Karol Liver.
Pet shops are boycotting the project and 12 of its backers have pulled out in disgust.
"We wanted to raise money for the animal shelter as it is non-state funded. We had no idea the Irish public would be so judgmental," the Daily Mail quoted one of its creators Adelheid Walsh, originally from Norway, as saying.
"Why should we be sorry for this calendar? We've done nothing wrong and we can't say we shouldn't have done it because we would do it all again.
"We have a soft spot for animals and so does the model Agata. She is actually a member of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). She loves animals," Walsh stated.
Only 1,000 were produced, but the controversy has hit sales, forcing the models and photographers behind Puppy Love to take to the streets of Temple Bar in Dublin for a 'pub crawl' to try to sell the 10 euro calendars to revellers.
TV vet Peter Wedderburn, from Bray, County Wicklow, labelled the calendar "distasteful", and said that the picture of the puppy may be about nurturing animals but it's entirely wrong.
"It could lead to accusations of cruelty, and many people will be concerned for the welfare of the puppy," he said.
"I think it's distasteful to show photos of dogs suckling on a woman. I'm concerned about it just as much as I would be concerned about dogs being dressed up in wedding outfits just to take photos.
"The puppy would not suffer any long-term consequences but it's a moral issue. Fully dressed people are the best way to raise awareness," he stated.
Despite the backlash, ASH has come out in support of the calendar, with spokeswoman Helena Le Mahieu saying the cause is more important.
"It's a beautiful calendar and the picture is very tasteful. People should get over the minor details like this and get behind this calendar," she added. (ANI)