Dog owner gutted after cutest pet winner disqualified – because her pup is dead

Jill Tubb’s adorable puppy picture won a cute pet photo contest but was later ruled ineligible because the pooch in the picture died in January at the age of 11

Bounty for the Labrador
Jill Tubb’s picture of Bounty was disqualified as the dog had died in January before she entered the competition

A dog lover whose photo won a cutest pet contest was upset to learn she was disqualified because her pooch was dead.

Jill Tubbs’ photo of her beloved chocolate lab, Bounty, perched as a puppy on a flower pot, won the most votes in a competition held by local newspaper The Melksham News.

However, when Jill, who lives in Melksham, Wiltshire, mentioned that the photo was taken 11 years ago and that Bounty had died in January this year (before entering the competition), the newspaper said her entry was no longer eligible .

Instead, they crowned runner-up, Spaniel Charlie, the winner.

Jill, who runs the local pet food specialty store franchise with her husband Steve Tubbs, said she was “disappointed” that Bounty was dropped from the competition altogether.

She said: “We didn’t want the prize; we would have donated it if we had received it. But we wanted confirmation that Bounty won.

Jill Tubb and her husband Steve with their beloved Labradors in 2015

“The competition said we should submit a cute picture, so we did. It was not said that the picture had to be recent or that the dog had to be alive.”

Grandmother-of-one Jill continued: “When I got a call from the newspaper to say Bounty had won, I explained that Bounty was no longer with us and was told the reporter had to go with his make the boss talk about it.

“I didn’t get a call back just an email and when the announcement was made they said the other dog won. But he hadn’t, Bounty had won.

“The announcement completely discounted Bounty.”

Speaking of the picture she submitted, which took first place out of 139 entries, Jill said it was such a natural shot.

She said: “Bounty had been playing with the other dogs and had climbed onto the pot by himself and just sat there. You couldn’t ask him to. It was lucky that I had my phone ready to take a picture at that moment.

The picture of Bounty sitting on a pop of plants received the most votes in the cute pet photo contest


Jill Tubbs)

“Bounty was such a lovely dog. He was very calm and composed. A really beautiful boy.”

Jill added: “The competition asked for the cutest dog picture and we submitted one. It was nice that the photo we sent was of Bounty and we were able to honor his memory.”

Jill and Steve, who have been married for over 40 years and have two children, got their first dog as a family in 1988 and at one point had seven dogs in total.

Following the deaths of Bounty in January and her mother Barney a few weeks earlier, the family now has four dogs, all named after chocolate treats in honor of their breed: six-month-old pup Aero, Eros’ mother, Rolo, Eros’ grandmother, Button and Eros Aunt Truffle.

Bounty sadly died from a tumor at the top of his nasal passage after developing it in March 2021.

Jill said: “Until December you wouldn’t have known anything was wrong with Bounty apart from the occasional nosebleed and sneeze. But the tumor eventually broke through and we had to make a decision to euthanize him.”

Bounty died in January at the age of 11

She added: “I don’t feel any animosity towards the newspaper but I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed they didn’t say anything about Bounty. The competition was the winner of a cute photo – they had no other specifications.

“We would have liked to have said Bounty won, but we put the dog that came second in first place because Bounty is no longer with us.”

Following the announcement of Charlie the spaniel as the winner, the Melksham News posted a statement on Facebook to confirm that Bounty had received the most votes but was not eligible to enter the competition.

The statement said: “Our competition was open to pets living in the Melksham News distribution area.
“Because the readers voted for a puppy rather than an adult dog, we felt this was not in the spirit of the competition and thought it more appropriate to give the award to Charlie, who came a close second landed.

“We apologize for any uproar this has caused.”

The post is divided, with some people agreeing that Bounty’s win should have been mentioned while others congratulated Charlie on his success.

Facebook user Maggie Pine commented, “Poor Bounty, the real winner didn’t get what was rightfully his.”

Another commenter, Teresah Peters, wrote: “Dead dogs cannot win prizes, however.”

When contacted, Joe McCann, Operations Manager for Wiltshire Publications added: “Our competition was open to pets living in the Melksham News distribution area.

“It was a competition for a pet to win a basket donated by a local business and appear in the newspaper with their owners.

“A photo of Bounty as a puppy received the most votes, but Bounty was not eligible to enter the competition as we were informed by his owners that he sadly passed away at the age of 11 before he could enter.

“As a result, we presented the prize of a basket to Charlie, who finished very narrowly in second place. We issued a statement at the time to apologize for the upset this caused.”

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