GREAT North Dog Walk boss Tony Carlisle is feeling like the victim of woof justice after missing out on another spot in the record books.
Mr Carlisle, who founded the canine extravaganza in 1990, says a best-ever haul of more than 25,000 four-legged friends attended the annual event at The Leas in South Shields this summer – but an administrative error means he is unlikely to see it made official.
He says dogs that turned up on the day were not registered, meaning a total of 20,247 were recorded – rather than the total figure of 25,111.
As the total attendance had already been submitted, it is too late to claim a new best in the Guinness Book of Records.
Mr Carlisle says he made the error because of a string of personal problems which arose during the run-up to the event.
His beloved pet Travis – the lead dog for the walk for 13 years – died just before the event and his family had also been living in temporary accomodation after his home of 23 years was flooded.
Now back at home after extensive repair work and having scattered the dog’s ashes, Mr Carlisle is now ready to look to the future.
The former Harton Technology College teacher, who retired from the classroom due to ill-health last year, is remaining philosophical over the record-breaking blow.
The Great North Dog Walk already holds the record for the highest number of pet pooches at 23,301 – set in 2012 – and the event has raised more than £4.5m for good causes over the years.
Mr Carlisle said: “I made an error in the registration tent and the vast majority of people who registered on the day did not receive an official walk number.
“So it was a record, but one that never was.
“It has become an accepted thing that the dog walk beats the world record every year and it was broken this year, but not officially.
“I am now hungry to beat the record again next year.”
There was also criticism of the walk starting 45 minutes late, but Mr Carlisle says this was solely to accommodate the large number of entrants.
The walk was officially started by the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Coun Ernest Gibson and Patricia Ridley.
Mr Carlisle added: “The delay of the start of the dog walk was my decision and was to accommodate the numbers of entrants to the dog walk.
“The Mayor and Mayoress were most accommodating and stayed beyond their allotted time scale.”
Mr Carlisle is now calling on animal-lovers across South Tyneside and beyond to sign up for his next shot at the record books in 2014.
n Anyone wanting to take part can register for next year’s event now by logging onto www.greatnorthdogwalk.co.uk