MP’s dog misses out on accolade

MP Greg Barker's dog Otto
MP Greg Barker's dog Otto

DESPITE his dogged determination, MP Greg Barker’s four legged friend, Otto, was not in the running to be crowned Westminster Dog of the Year.

Otto, a miniature dachshund, along with 22 other paw-litical opponents, presented their manifestos to the judges at the event held at Victoria Towers, Westminster on October 25.

Organised by the Kennel Club, the competition, now in its 20th year, attracted various breeds all hoping to be top dog.

The MP’s entering the competition campaigned hard for their beloved pets, canvassing for votes amongst their constituents prior to meeting the expert judges to boast about their dog’s heroic deeds and acts of political doggy devotion.

Each four-legged running mate then took part in a ‘Doggy Dash’ towards their MP owner, in a bid to achieve the fastest time and to demonstrate they were truly man’s best friend.

Making the tough decision on the final ballot were judges Clarissa Baldwin, Chief Executive Officer of Dogs Trust, Caroline Kisko, secretary of The Kennel Club, and MP Neil Parish, whose dog Wilberforce won the event in 2011.

There was no question of a coalition in this competition though and bounding in at first place was four-year-old Norfolk Terrier, ‘Star’, owned by Charlie Elphicke, Conservative MP for Dover and Deal.

The judges said the competition was fierce but agreed that both Star and Mr Elphicke made a strong impression.

Mr Elphicke said both he and Star were “shocked, delighted and amazed” to be crowned this year’s Westminster Dog of the Year, adding: “Star has truly lived up to her name today. She has been joining me on my campaign to stamp out puppy farming in Europe. I’m thrilled she has been recognised and we will continue to fight for important dog welfare issues.”

Congratulating Charlie and Star on their win Greg said even though Otto came in at 15th place he was definitely not in the dog house. “ Otto was a little disappointed not to do better in the competition but got a great result in the doggy dash and had a very respectable 2000 plus votes.

“More importantly, the competition raises the profile of the terrific work the Dogs Trust does and hopefully, in a fun way, highlights the importance of responsible dog ownership and dog welfare issues.”

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