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UK’s election day trend: #Dogsatpollingstations

LiveMint logoLiveMint 08-06-2017 PTI

The image of pet dogs patiently waiting outside polling stations while owners cast their vote is trending on social media as millions turned out to vote in the UK general election today.

The hashtag on Twitter of #dogsatpollingstations is now considered a British tradition as people post images of their dogs throughout polling day. The trend took off in a big way during the 2015 general election, and has since proved a hit during the June 2016 referendum on Britain’s membership of the 28-member European Union (EU) economic bloc.

“A great thing about Twitter is the unexpected trends that we see borne out of the imagination of the general public,” said Twitter UK managing director Dara Nasr. This year the trend has taken on new twists with people bringing along their cats and other pets, including horses in some cases.

Voter Phil Heard arrived on the back of his stallion Ranger at Meldon Village Hall in Devon to cast his vote. At some booths, friendly police officers stepped in to hold on to pets while their owners went in to vote.

The UK’s animal charity, Dogs Trust, has advised all polling stations to have a water bowl to keep the pets hydrated. Dogs Trust campaigns officer Jon Gerlis said: “We’re delighted that everyone is as excited by #dogsatpollingstations as we are – and we want to show that with just a few simple steps, polling stations can become paw-ing stations, by keeping dogs happy and safe, giving the nine million dog owners peace of mind as they vote on polling day.”

It remains unclear quite why and how this trend kicked off but is increasingly welcomed as a light-hearted touch to the serious polling day routine. PTI

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