Party political differences may have been on hold but the battle was still intense for the Kennel Club’s Westminster Dog of the Year title yesterday (October 25, 2012).

Party political differences may have been on hold but the battle was still intense for the Kennel Club’s Westminster Dog of the Year title yesterday (October 25, 2012).

Star, Westminster Dog of the Year.The competition, now in its 20th year, took place in Victoria Tower Gardens and after a public vote, a nerve-jangling appearance before the judging panel and the ever-decisive ‘doggy dash’, four year-old Norfolk terrier Star was crowned the winner.

Star is owned by Charlie Elphicke, MP for Dover and Deal, who was clearly delighted by the unexpected triumph.

He said: “Star and I are shocked, delighted and amazed to be crowned this year’s Westminster Dog of the Year. She truly lived up to her name today and it couldn’t have happened to a friendlier dog.

“Star has been joining me in my campaign to stamp out puppy farming in Europe. We want to stop people abusing the current pet passport system and put an end to ill puppies coming through Dover to be sold in the UK.

“I’m thrilled she has been recognised and with her by my side we will continue to campaign for important dog welfare issues.”

The judging panel consisted of Dogs Trust CEO Clarissa Baldwin, Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisko and 2011’s winning dog Wilberforce with his owner MP Neil Parish.

Westminster dog of the Year winners.Mrs Baldwin said: “The competition this year was fierce, but Star and her owner Charlie Elphicke MP triumphed by making a strong impression with the public, winning numerous votes.

“The ‘Doggy Dash’ left us on the edge of our seats and made for an exciting finale as each owner demonstrated the strong bond they have with their dog. Charlie Elphicke is a worthy winner and has set a shining example of what it is to be a dedicated and responsible dog owner.”

Taking second place on the podium was Cholmeley, a Labrador owned by David Burrowes, MP for Enfield Southgate, while third place went to Rottweiler Gordon, owned by Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle.

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