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(Updated 7/9/01)

West Midlands canines sweep the board!

Three dogs from the West Midlands scooped the top places at the country's leading non-pedigree dog show - the RSPCA's 'Dog of the Year' show.

Rescue dog Ross, who lives with owner Norma Rafferty in Stoke on Trent, beat off more than 50 dogs from around the country to be named 'top dog'. Another dog from Stoke on Trent, Poppy, took second place with owner Clair Poppinger and 13-year-old Hannah Complin, from Worcester, and her dog Meggie came third. Ross's prizes included a year's supply of Supadog complete dry dog food from Burgess Supafeeds, a dog coat and a weekend break for dog and owner at a dog-friendly hotel.

Fifty-four finalists from all over the country took part in the competition at the RSPCA's Millbrook Animal Centre in Chobham, Surrey. Over 60 regional heats were held across England and Wales and the finalists had to impress the judges with their sparkle, personality and obedience.

Past winners of the coveted canine crown, now in it tenth year, were also guests of honour at a parade of the cream of crossbreeds.

'Dog of the Year' is the largest RSPCA - run event of its kind in the country and features crossbreeds from all backgrounds, ages, shapes and sizes. An annual alternative to Crufts, the show attracts a large following which has grown steadily since the RSPCA started to organise the event 10 years ago.