A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from north Belfast has proven he’s ahead of the pack to be crowned Belfast’s Next Top Doggie! 

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Move over Scoop Dog, there’s a new pup in town!

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from north Belfast has proven he’s ahead of the pack to be crowned Belfast’s Next Top Doggie!

Bailey put his best paw forward for judges today at the canine competition’s grand finale in Botanic Gardens.

The modelling contest with a difference was launched in May as part of the council’s ‘Your dog, your job’ anti-dog fouling campaign, and attracted more than 200 entries from hopeful hounds wanting to become the city’s next poster pooch. A whopping 20,000 public votes were cast in total and the five modelling mutts with the most ‘likes’ on Belfast City Council’s Facebook page were chosen to compete in today’s ‘dogwalk’ finale.

Head judge, council dog warden John Templeton, said: “They say dogs are a man’s best friend, and as a dog lover myself, I had a tough job on my hands to pick today’s winner as they’re all winners in our eyes. But, only one faithful friend could be named Top Doggie and Bailey is a thoroughly deserving winner.

“I think he will be a great ambassador for our dog fouling campaign and I hope he can use a little bit of pooch peer pressure to encourage other dog owners to be responsible and pick up after their pets.”

Lord Mayor Cllr Nichola Mallon, who helped with the judging at today’s Top Doggie event, said: “This has been a really fun event and it seems to have really captured the public’s imagination. The competition has been a huge success and while it may just seem like a bit of fun, there is a serious message at its heart.

“Dog fouling is a problem right across the city and while council staff work hard to keep the city streets and parks and open spaces clean, dog owners must take responsibility for picking up after their pets. It’s something council receives a lot of complaints about so we need initiatives like this to encourage more people to sign up to our ‘Paws and pick up’ pledge to help keep our city fouling-free.”

The competition was open to all dogs licensed with Belfast City Council; there were no age restrictions so young pups and those longer in the (hounds)tooth were eligible to enter the competition. The competition attracted entries across every breed from pedigrees, to cross-breeds and mongrels.

Having now been crowned Belfast’s Next Top Doggie, Bailey will be the furry face of future council campaigns and publicity around the issue of dog fouling.

As well as the all important Top Doggie trophy, Belfast’s newest prized pooch also received a red rosette which was proudly pinned to his chest by his owners, Elizabeth and Simon.

Bailey didn’t have the best start in life, being neglected and treated cruelly by his original owners. He was rehomed to north Belfast from Liverpool with the help of local non-profit dog group, Cavaliers in Need.

Owner Elizabeth said she was “over the moon” at Bailey being crowned king of the canines.

“I really just can’t believe it. He’s going to be lording this over his two doggie brothers as soon as he gets home,” she joked.

As for Bailey, he seemed to take the win in his stride. Asked to comment on his win, all Bailey had to say was: “Ruuuuuff!”

You can see photos of all the Top Doggie entrants (as well as the non-Belfast Top Doggie applicants) on the council’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/belfastcitycouncil

For more info on the ‘Your Dog, Your Job’ campaign, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/dogfouling

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