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The 24th annual World’s Ugliest Dog Contest took place as part of the Sonoma-Marin Fair in California last Friday, and a new pooch has taken the top ugly honors. Mugly, an eight-year-old Chinese Crested, was voted World’s Ugliest Dog by 1,236 people. He was part of a group of 29 not-so pretty pooches “with names like Handsome Hector, Creature, Rue, Icky, Spam-o-Rama, and Mouse,” according to the Sonoma-Marin Fair website.
Mugly had already been named the UK’s Ugliest Dog before he took the world title. The rescued Chinese crested dog, who lives in Britain, works with children as a therapy dog. His benevolence doesn’t end there: Mugly and his owner, Bev Nicholson, hold online dog pageants to raise money for charity. His life hasn’t been all ugly pageants, though; he faced some truly ugly times when he was attacked in a park by a group of teenagers. He’s come a long way since then, and winning this competition was a proud moment for his surprised owner. “I couldn’t speak when they said Mugly’s name. I didn’t know which way to look. I was shaking as much as the dog,” said Nicholson in a press release.
The prestigious international competition occurred as part of the Sonoma-Marin Fair held in Petaluma, California. The grand prize includes $1,000, a year’s worth of dog treats, a professional photo shoot, and a VIP stay at a hotel. There is also a prize for ugliness in the mutt and pedigree classes, which is $500 and a trophy. The competition has garnered worldwide media attention with reporters from Germany, China, The United Kingdom, and Brazil covering the event. This year, the contest was hosted by pet psychic Sonya Fitzpatrick. Yes, you read that right, pet psychic. She communicated with the dogs and assured the crowd that the animals loved the attention and didn’t mind being called ugly. There’s even a winner’s circle with past winners from 2002 and 2010. Unfortunately, last year’s winner, another Chinese crested named Yoda, passed away in March at 15 years old.
Online voting wasn’t tabulated until after Mugly was awarded top honors at the big event on June 22. It turns out that fellow rescue dog Creature actually won the competition by just three votes, but because Mugly has already been crowned, he remains the World’s Ugliest Dog. It’s a tough break for Creature, who is a Mexican hairless mix and currently “Utah’s Ugliest Mutt.” If this were the Miss USA pageant, no doubt one of the contestants would be announcing that the contest was fixed. So far, Creature and her owner Taylor Stokes have stayed quiet.