Mr Happy Face takes worst in show at World's Ugliest Dog Contest

Owner of rescued pet says that she vowed to love him so much that he would never remember his 'awful' previous life

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Mr Happy Face and his owner, Janeda Banelly, took the top prize at the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest, a yearly event in Petaluma, California.

The competition’s official website said that Ms Banelly adopted the dog from an Arizona animal shelter in August 2021 and was told that he would probably only live a few weeks.

Rescued from a hoarding situation where the living conditions were “deplorable”, Mr Happy Face was suffering from several serious medical conditions, including tumours.

Rescued pugs Jinny Lu and China Su of the Pug Hotel Senior Sanctuary in Sonoma County stick around for the fair's festivities. Reuters

“When I first met him, he was the happiest creature that I had ever met,” Ms Banelly wrote about her pet. “He hobbled up to me and chose me. I vowed that day, he would be so loved that he would never remember how awful his previous life had been.”

The contest is part of the Sonoma-Marin Fair in northern California and is in its 34th year. One of the fair’s most popular attractions, it now features an all-day Dog Lovers' Festival before the competition.

Mr Happy Face beat out Wild Thang and Monkey, who placed second and third, respectively, to win the $1,500 in prize money and a trip to New York City.

“I believe that this humble soul is also being an example, in subtle ways, to help humans realise that even old dogs need love and a family, too,” Ms Banelly said.

Updated: June 27, 2022, 7:15 PM