Animal charity reveals the real ‘top dog’ in Westminster.
On the day a new Prime Minister took up her post, the real ‘top dog’ in Westminster was revealed by the RSPCA as part of the second annual Parliamentary Pet of the Year.
On Wednesday (July 13), the RSPCA teamed up with MP Sir David Amess for what was arguably the most hotly contended political competition of the day, as five pets waited tentatively at Victoria Tower Gardens - with more waiting at home - to learn the outcome.
After some light-hearted debate it was Milo the lurcher, owned by Conservative MP for Castle Point Rebecca Harris, who took the literal biscuit and won one of the most coveted parliamentary prizes of the moment.
Actor Peter Egan, who is a passionate campaigner for carries out extensive work for animal welfare, judged the candidates alongside Rachel Williams from the RSPCA and Sean Wensley president of the British Veterinary Association.
Peter, who owns five rescue dogs, said: “This was a difficult decision to make as all the entries were superb.It’s great to see such a commitment to animal welfare from the House.
“When I saw this lovely lurcher it reminded me of the plight of lurchers exported from Ireland for greyhound racing and the terrible plight of greyhounds in Spain so I had a real soft spot for him. Fortunately the other judges agreed with me.”
Owner Rebecca said: “I am incredibly proud of Milo. He is still only a puppy and so he isn’t yet fully trained and can be a little bit boisterous.
“I take him to local nursing homes as he just absolutely loves being made a fuss of. He is very low maintenance and has such a nice temperament.
“I would always encourage people to go to rescue homes first if you are thinking of getting a pet.
“I had a dog shaped hole in my life before I got Milo, now I can’t imagine life without him.”
Rebecca adopted Milo, who was found as a stray, from her local animal rescue Acres Way in Thundersley, Essex.
Rachel Williams from the RSPCA said: "This is a prize judged on criteria that run far deeper than politics.
"We are proud to have teamed up with Sir David on this and our main aim is to raise further awareness of animal welfare issues through this fun competition.
"We opened up our competition to all pets and received nominations for cats, hamsters and even sheep.
"We want to thank everyone who nominated and took part in this day - it's been great fun and even the sun came out for us.”
There were nine owners battling it out to be crowned winner including MPs Ed Vaizey and Simon Hoare,as well as Baroness Butler-Sloss, Lord Faulks, Baroness Nicholson, and Baroness Young.
Ed Vaizey was a runner up with his hamster Scamper, while Baroness Young also won a runner up prize for best speech about her horse Huggybear VI. First place for best speech went to Lord Faulks and his long haired dachshund Rufus who is calling for his very own ‘Daxit’ to be free of human meddling.
Each finalist had five minutes to make a presentation about why their pet should win before judges made the final decision.
The criteria was not based on species, breed or appearance of the animals and any staff member, MP or Peer from the Houses of Parliament were able to enter their pampered pets.
The event is about rewarding the happiest, healthiest most well cared for animals.