First Holyrood Dog of the Year contest to be held

image source, Kennel Club/Dog's Trust
image captionA number of MSPs have put forward their canine chums for the first Holyrood Dog of the Year competition

Voting is open in the first Holyrood Dog of the Year competition.

MSPs from across the political spectrum have put forward their pets for the contest, which is organised by the Kennel Club and the Dogs Trust.

It is aimed at raising awareness of issues affecting canines and the "unique relationships between MSPs and their dogs".

As well as a public vote on a choice of pooches, there will be formal judging at an event at Holyrood in May.

The contest matches a long-running annual event at Westminster for MPs and their hounds.

Several MSPs are also entering with animals from the Dogs Trust which are looking for a home.

image source, Kennel Club/Dog's Trust
image captionHarry, Mi-Mi and Murphy

Contestants include SNP MSP Tom Arthur's pug Mi-Mi, who he said had "successfully negotiated designated doggy space in the middle of the bed". He highlighted ending puppy trafficking as a dog-related issue which needs to be tackled in Scotland.

Tory MSP Douglas Ross put forward his Dalmatian Murphy, who is "living every doggy moment to the full" despite having a terminal disease of the central nervous system. He called for training in responsible ownership for dogs, saying "dogs are pets but they also need rules and guidance especially when out in public and off the lead".

Labour's Pauline McNeill entered her German shepherd Harry, who she said has a "big personality with a big heart". She called for regulation of the sale of puppies and the abolition of shock collars and cruelty to puppies.

Green member Andy Wightman entered his border collie Coire, who has climbed 54 Munros and has a "good vocabulary". He promoted the use of dogs in conflict resolution.

Other contestants include Miles Briggs and his "mind reading" Jack Russell Monty, Ross Thomson's "sassy" Jack Russell/Yorkshire terrier cross Poppy, Emma Harper's rescued Border Collie Maya and Mark Ruskell's "effective table clearer" and former professional racer, greyhound Bert.

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