Canine Contest

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photo competition funds guide dog school

by alexandra waldhorn

halloween may be months away, but the costumes are on at beacon paint and hardware.

since february, the family-run store, on amsterdam avenue between west 77th and 78th streets, has exchanged its window display of tools and paint cans for a collection of framed photos of neighborhood dogs dressed up as anything from a pumpkin to "dogth vader" and even a trumpet.

the pets are in the running for best costume in a contest that benefits guiding eyes for the blind, a nonprofit guide dog school that has two locations in new york.

bruce stark, who had a sister who was blind, decided to start gathering pet photos after learning about other stores that had held similar competitions. so far, he has raised $400 from the $20 entry fee.

"bring in a photo of your dog in a costume," stark said, "no nudes."

while passersby and school children have loved looking at the quirkily dressed dogs, stark said he has moved photos online because he needs to put merchandise back in the window.

vote for your favorite dog at the top three winning dogs will receive one of three prizes worth $75, and all contestants can take home their framed photo afterwards.

the contest will run until the end october and dog owners can still submit a photo.

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