THE owners of this year’s Pet Factor competition winner are “delighted” to have scooped the top spot and the £300 prize.

This year’s winner was Bella, a Maltese and Shih Tzu cross also known as a malshi, who fought off the challenge of more than 200 other pets who entered the competition.

Her owner is 19-year-old Carly Mercer, who along with mum Jacqueline, dad Colin and little sister Jenna, is “so happy and delighted” with the final result.

Carly, of Fleets View, Tranent, told the Courier: “My mum and dad were on holiday when I first entered her but we were so happy and excited when we found out.

“We were also quite nervous as well, I was definitely a bag of nerves.

“All of the other dogs and cats were so cute so we definitely didn’t expect it.

“We buy the Courier regularly but lots of our friends found out she was in the paper and we had our neighbours come to the door saying she was in the paper and handing over their voting slips.

“Even my work colleagues were so excited to see her in the paper.”

Carly, who is in her second year studying psychology at Queen Margaret University in Musselburgh, works at Sweet Haven cafe in Tranent part-time.

She described Bella as a happy, playful family dog.

“She loves playing with her ball,” said Carly.

“She loves cuddling into me and my mum and going on walks with my grandad up the woods.”