Bella DeLaura, a four-and-a-half-year-old miniature dachshund, has been chosen as winner of Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department’s 2011 Top Dog Photo Contest. The winning photo shows Bella suspended in mid-air as she runs and jumps in a grass field. Bella is owned by Jessica DeLaura of Charlotte.

The drawing was among three finalists ­— Bella, Boss and Zoe — chosen for cleverness and originality by a panel of judges from 49 entries. The contest is a preliminary to the Pedigree® Bark in the Park Dog Festival presented by Food Lion, an event held by Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department on April 30 at Rural Hill in Huntersville.

The Top Dog and master were the grand marshals of the Pooch Parade at Bark in the Park and received a pet portrait by Tianna Fisher, a year’s supply of dog food, plus the dog will be featured on next year’s festival logo. Bark in the Park is “for dogs and the people they own!”

The 2010 Bark in the Park Dog Festival drew more than 14,000 people last year, most with dogs. The festival features contests like Best Costume, Best Bark, Largest Dog, Smallest Dog, Best Trick, Disc Throw and Catch, and Disc Long-Shot Catch. The festival this year included exhibits, dog products, adoptable dogs and prize drawings. : :

— compiled from release