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Official mascot announced in Canal & River Trust 'top dog' competition

A Welsh springer spaniel called Jasper has been chosen as the new canine ‘face’ of the Canal and River Trust (CRT) at its launch this summer.

Jasper, the pet of Ray and Sue Hasmall, is the winner of a competition to find a canal-loving canine to lead a marketing campaign for the new charity when it launches later this year.

Around 1,000 photographs were submitted to the competition on the Flickr photo-sharing website, featuring “dogs enjoying their time on the 2,000-miles of canal and river towpaths in England and Wales.”

Jasper’s photograph, taken on the Avon Ring during a family boating holiday in 2011, was chosen as the winner as the judges felt it was a bright, well-composed photograph and Jasper looked happy and alert and clearly enjoying himself on the water. 

A professional animal photographer is now headed to Jasper’s home at Church Lawton, on the Trent & Mersey canal, “to capture his enthusiasm for waterway walkies,” as the British Waterways press release explains. 

Runners up in the competition were:
  • Bailey, a Jack Russell/King Charles cross, belonging to Carole Sims and partner Sid from Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire.
  • Paddy, a 20-month-old Irish Terrier belonging to Ken Downes and Catherine Piper from Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
  • Baker, a border collie belonging to  Sarah McGarraghy on the Trent & Mersey Canal.
Jasper is likely to be a key figure in the Canal & River Trust’s publicity when it launches, including as a ‘poster dog’ in the fight against ‘dog dirt’.  
Tony Hales, the first chairman of the Canal & River Trust, said: “As we move forward we also hope that dog walkers will help us stamp out dog fouling on our towpaths which is inconsiderate and unpleasant and together help us continue to make strides in creating an attractive canal environment.”

The Trust said the Flickr competition has proved so popular that they have set up a Facebook group, Canal & River Dog Walkers, giving people the chance to continue to share their waterside dog pictures and favourite walking routes.

Thursday 3 May  | Andrew Denny  | 4.10pm, Thursday 3 May 2012

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