By Hannah Stevens @Hannahshewans

PREPARE to laugh yourself silly at the antics of pets around the world with the launch of the first ever Comedy Pet Photography Awards.

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The competition has drawn entrants from over 66 countries

After founding The Comedy Wildlife Awards in 2015, wildlife photographer Paul Joynson-Hicks MBE and African landscape photographer Tom Sullam decided to create a new competition just for the escapades of animals at home.

Tom Sullam said: “The response we received from the Comedy Wildlife competition was so incredible, and so much bigger than we anticipated, that we realised we could reach thousands of people through the competition.

“Comedy Pets made total sense as a follow up, reaching a slightly different crowd but with the same message of animal conservation, and conservation in general - using humour as the trigger.”

So far the competition has drawn over 1700 entries from 900+ entrants

The judges are looking for quirky pets from across the globe captured with creativity, fun and photographic excellence.

However, as keen animal lovers, the team will not accept any images of pets wearing clothes or using props that are not naturally in their lives.

The winner of the overall competition will win a cash price of £2,000 as well as lots of camera goodies

Tom added: “The single difference is that Comedy Wildlife is images of wild animals in the wild - no zoos, no refuge centres, no cages, and no domesticated animals.

“Comedy Pets is domesticated animals, who have an owner/owners, but are not caged, endangered or badly bred. We have a list on our terms and conditions which highlights those pets that historically have been through poorly developed breeding programs, resulting in suffering to those animals.

The Comedy Pet Photography Awards are split into five categories
A panel of expert judges will select the prize winners

“Any animal on that list is excluded from the competition. We have a professional vet that helps us with judging - Emma Milne, of 'Vets in Practice’ fame - and she provides guidance on those images that we should exclude due to misbreeding or suffering.”

While the spirit of the competition is all fun and games, the team want to use the opportunity to remind people of the importance of preserving animal welfare.

Tom said: “We love our pets. All of us involved in this competition are totally in love with our animals.

Heather Ross snaps her Shetland pony bob having a roll around in "I Whip My Hair Back And Forth" in Birmingham, United Kingdom

"With this in mind we are really keen that when we enjoy loads of wonderful funny pet photos, we also use this superb opportunity to encourage us all to be better ‘owners’ if you can call us that, ‘parents’ perhaps, to the creatures in our care.”

A panel of expert judges will pick out the most eccentric pets of the lot - the team includes Paul Joynson-Hicks MBE, Tom Sullam, TV wildlife presenter Kate Humble, longtime publisher of photography magazines Adam Scorey, veterinary surgeon Emma Milne, photographer Simon Pollock and Michelle Riley, Director of Photography at The Humane Society of the United States.

Katie Tipton snaps her cat Jem snuggling in warm clothes fresh out of the dryer in "Jem's Basket!" in Calgary, Canada

So far the competition has seen entrants from over 66 countries and 1700+ entries from over 900 entrants. The deadline for entry is May 31 2017.

The awards are split into five categories: overall competition winner, junior photographer (15 and under), the ancients (70 and over), pets who look like their owners and “Gone to the Dogs” - which is just for man’s best friend.

Alice van Kempen caught this silhouette of her two dogs in "Riding Along" in Rockanje, Netherlands

The overall winner of the Comedy Pet Photography Awards 2017 will win £2,000, a trophy handmade by disabled men and women in Tanzania by the Wonder Workship, an Urban Approach 5 camera bag from the THINK TANK people and a £100 gift voucher from WEX Photographic.

Each category winner will win the wonderful THINK TANK Urban Approach 5 camera bag and a £100 gift voucher from WEX Photographic, as well as a certificate to mount on your wall.

To be in with a chance of winning enter for free at: https://www.comedypetphoto.com/