Scamp the Tramp will never win a beauty competition. But he has won an ugly competition.
Scamp’s eyes stick out like balls on the top of his face. His fur is very disorderly – pointing out in all directions from his little dog body.
But that look won Scamp top prize at the 31st yearly World’s Ugliest Dog Contest. The competition was held at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California.
Scamp’s owner is Yvonne Morones of Santa Rosa, California. She won an appearance with her dog on the television news program “Today.” She also received $1,500 for herself and another $1,500 to donate to an animal shelter.
She told a local newspaper, “He’s Scamp the Champ, no longer Scamp the Tramp.” She added, “I think the audience saw his beautiful spirit and everything he’s given back to the community.”
Scamp makes volunteer visits to schoolchildren and to a local center for old people.
Morones found Scamp on the animal adoption website, Petfinder, in 2014. He had been living on the streets of Compton, California.
“It was on the way home that I knew I made the right choice,” she said in a competition press statement. “There we were, two strangers in a car on the way home to a new start. Bob Marley was playing ‘One Love.’”
Morones said Scamp was moving to the music. “It was like he knew he had found his forever home.”
Scamp beat out 18 other competitors. There were dogs with tongues that hang outside of their mouths. There were dogs with short legs spread widely apart. There were dogs with faces that always looked confused or surprised. And there were other funny-looking dogs beyond description.
The competitors got to walk a red carpet and show themselves to many loving fans at the fair in California’s wine country.
The competition was fierce.
Second place went to Wild Thang, a Pekinese with hard, little eyes and an unusual tongue. Ann Lewis of Los Angeles is his owner.
Molly Horgan’s dog Tostito won third place. He is a Chihuahua from Falmouth, Maine. His damaged ears and hanging tongue make him look like he just stuck his foot into an electrical device. Tostito was also honored with the competition's Spirit Award.
Everyone knows ugliness is a judgement of the person seeing it. Many dog lovers would argue that there is no such thing as an ugly one. And many owners of so-called “ugly” dogs instead like to say their animals are “unique.”
Christy Gentry does public relations for the Fairgrounds. She said, laughingly, the competition was not just about being ugly.
“Judges are looking for special attributes like hanging tongues, slobber, drool (the more the better). Maybe unusual patches of skin or hair,” she explained.
Organizers say the ugly dog competition helps bring attention to the needs of rescue dogs. Most competitors came from kill shelters in the U.S., were found on streets or were seized from dishonorable breeders.
“What we’re really doing is we’re showcasing dogs that have been rescued and adopted and brought into loving homes,” Gentry said. “These are sort of spokesdogs for adoption.”
I’m Caty Weaver.
Caty Weaver adapted this Associated Press story for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.
We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit 51VOA.COM.
Words in This Story
audience –n. a group of people gathered to see or hear a performance
red carpet –n. a way to cover a walkway to welcome an important guest
attributes –n. usually a good quality that someone or something has
slobber –v. to let saliva flow from your mouth
drool –v. to let saliva flow from your mouth
patches –n. small spots or areas different from the surrounding areas
breeders –n. to keep and raise animals in order to produce more animals