The Parliamentary Chambers have been full of debate this week - not about next year’s general election, or even who will be eliminated next from Strictly or X-Factor, but which MP’s running mate will be crowned top dog at Westminster Dog of the Year 2009, H&C has learned.
Coats have been groomed, teeth brushed and good manners mastered – and that’s just the owners! MPs and their canine companions from all corners of the House today came together hoping to be elected for this prestigious title.
Organised jointly by the Kennel Club and Dogs Trust, the competition celebrates the unique bond between man and dog. Clarissa Baldwin, Chief Executive of Dogs Trust, explains: "Whilst this is a great fun event for all involved, Westminster Dog of the Year is also about MPs getting together with both charities to promote responsible dog ownership and dog welfare issues.”
The winner of this year’s Westminster Dog of the Year competition is Molly, a Welsh Springer Spaniel aged seven, belonging to Andrew Mitchell MP for Sutton Coldfield.
Molly beat off stiff competition from eight other parliamentary pups nipping at her heels to become this year’s top dog, taking over the prestigious title from Jesie and Fuzzy Bear, rescue greyhounds owned by Bob Spink MP.
Molly was described by the judges as having excellent condition and temperament, with an owner who shows a commitment to responsible dog ownership.
Andrew Mitchell said, "Molly and I are overwhelmed to have won the title of Westminster Dog of the Year and are collecting the award on behalf of all dogs in Sutton Coldfield!”
Second place was Buster, a five-year-old Labrador belonging to Andrew Murrison MP.
Caroline Kisko, Kennel Club Secretary, one of this year’s judges, said Molly stood out particularly because she is the ‘glue’ of her family.
Now in its 17th year, the aim of this lighthearted event is to highlight the special relationship between a dog and owner and promote responsible dog ownership.
Molly was judged as the winner by Clarissa Baldwin Chief Executive of Dogs Trust, Kennel Club Secretary Caroline Kisko, and Bob Spink MP, owner of the joint winners of Westminster Dog of the Year 2008.