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Swarovski in row over animal ball cash

The future of Vienna’s first ball for animals is now in doubt less than a week after it happened in the newly renovated Parkhotel Schönbrunn.

A damaging row has broken out between the balls high-profile patron Fiona Swarovski and its organiser Brigitte Martzak. The ‘Tierball’ was expected to become an annual fixture in the Viennese ball calendar, a dream that is now in doubt.

But according to Austrian newspaper Heute the organisers pocketed 20% of the donations for themselves to cover their costs and they quoted Martzak as saying: "My team and I worked one year to realise this project and we worked hard and we can't just live from air and love."

Animal-lovers were invited to buy tickets at what was billed as Vienna’s first ever ‘Tierball’ (ball for animals) - held a mere whisker away from Schönbrunn Zoo in the Austria Trend Parkhotel Schönbrunn.

Brigitte Martzak who founded the animal charity ‘Team for Animal Protection’ in 2007 had even received endorsement from Mayor Dr Michael Häupl, Councillor for the Environment Mag. Ulli Sima - and had as its patron animal loving crystal heiress Fiona Swarovski.

But Fiona is now no longer backing the organisation and has stepped down as the figurehead. The row centres around a claim from Martzak to have not earned enough money – saying that only 5,000 euros has been transferred which didn't even cover the cost of the event. But that didn't wash with Fiona who said that she alone had arranged for 70,000 euros in funding and she now wants to know where the money went and to look at the charity's bank accounts.

She said that as she was the patron she had a right to see them and added: "Up until now I still don't have any clarity over the organisation and the accounts."

Martzak hit back by claiming that Fiona Swarovski who likes to eat goose is in her eyes no real animal lover.

She added: "As far as I'm concerned it's about animal protection and not about an ego trip. I can't stand the fact that there is now a battle and people are flipping out."

Asked to comment on whether she ate goose she said that she didn't want to get involved in a battle of words and damage the cause of animal protection anymore.

Martzak had received support from the president of the Viennese Animal Protection Group MMag.Dr. Madeleine Petrovic and animal rights campaigner Maggie Entenfellner in the realisation of the event.

The money raised by the ball was to go towards helping charities that campaign against animal cruelty.

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