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updated 28/9/01
Ross is RSPCA Dog of the Year

Norma Rafferty and Ross celebrate their win.

BURGESS SUPA Dog were once again delighted to support this year's RSPCA Dog of the Year awards. The country's leading non-pedigree dog show, the event is always a huge success. and this year's awards saw three dogs from the West Midlands scoop the top places.

The prestigious RSPCA Dog of the year award went to rescue dog Ross, owned by Norma Rafferty, from Stoke on Trent, who beat off more than 50 dogs from around the country. In second place came Poppy, owned by Clair Poppinger, and in third place was Meggi, who belongs to 13-year-old Hannah Complin from Worcester. Norma has been in the final with Ross on two previous occasions and was delighted to win this year.

'I couldn't believe it. Ross was smashing in the ring, I was so proud. He is just a loveable, affectionate dog and although it was his third time in the finals, I never expected he would win,' said Norma.

Ross's prizes included a year's supply of Supa Dog complete dry dog food from Burgess, a dog coat and a weekend break for himself and Norma at a dog-friendly hotel.

Fifty-four finalists from all over the country took part in the competition at the RSPCAs Millbrook Animal Centre in Chobham, Surrey.

Over 60 regional heats were held across England and Wales, with the entrants having to impress the judges with their sparkle, personality and obedience.

Past winners of the coveted canine crown, now in its tenth year, were also guests of honour at a parade of the cream of crossbreeds. Supa dog Marketing Manager Sarah Riddolls said: 'We are delighted to be involved with the RSPCA Dog of the year series again. All the finalists looked in excellent condition, the RSPCA work extremely hard to improve the health and welfare of thousands of dogs each year, and Ross was a very worthy winner of this year's final.'

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.