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State honors Belleville's Beagle with day

Uno got his day -- again.

Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn declared Wednesday Uno the Beagle Day after severe weather canceled the declaration Tuesday.

"None of us expected the state to recognize us," said Kathy Weichert of Belleville, Uno's co-owner and co-breeder.

Weichert said Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt are also interested in declaring Uno days in their states.

March 2008 also became Uno month when state Rep. Tom Holbrook, D-Belleville declared it so Saturday at the Belle-City Kennel Club dog show at Belle-Clair Fairgrounds.

The Belleville-born beagle is the first ever to win Best in Show in the 132-year history of the Westminster dog show in New York. He won that honor last month, getting a standing ovation from the crowd.

Weichert said Uno is the only Westminster winner to receive a standing ovation. The only other standing ovation in Westminster history was given to Sept. 11 search and rescue team dogs, she said.

When asked what makes Uno such a crowd favorite, Weichert said, "I guess (the beagle) is just America's breed of dog. That's all we can figure, everybody can relate to a beagle."

Contact reporter Rickeena J. Richards at rrichards@bnd.com or 239-2562.

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