Dogs head to the polling stations as UK votes in 2019 General Election

Polls are open for what’s been billed as possibly the most crucial general election in recent times.

As unique as the conditions around this year’s election are, some things never change.

Dogs are once again proudly posing by polling station signs as their owners pause their walk to cast their vote.

Even Prime Minister Boris Johnson took his pet pooch, Dilyn, to cast his vote in central London, holding him up for photographers and giving him a kiss after marking his ballot on Thursday morning.

The contest is the first to be held in December in nearly 100 years: the last general election held in December was in 1923.

The 2019 election follows polls in 2015 and 2017.

Polling stations in 650 constituencies across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland opened their doors at 7am and will close them at 10pm, when counting will begin.

A couple and their dog leave the polling station at Strathyre Village Hall in Stirlingshire. Credit: PA

Following heavy rain and strong winds this week, Thursday is expected to be an “unsettled day” weather-wise while voters visit polling stations.

Two cold weather warnings have been issued for election day, with ice and wintry showers expected in parts of Scotland.

A dog waits for its owner to vote outside a polling station in Reading. Credit: PA
A dog next to a polling station sign on the back of a Land Rover in Low Row, Yorkshire. Credit: PA

Dogs are allowed at polling stations but it is likely owners will be asked to leave them outside.

Owners should be mindful that other members of the public need to vote without distraction so you might be asked to keep your dog on a lead.

And in fact, it's up to each election services team to decide which animals are allowed in.

The Electoral Commission told ITV News: "This is at the discretion of the returning officer."

Dylan the working cocker spaniel waits outside the polling station in Sheffield. Credit: PA

Voters across the country have been sharing their snaps on social media, using the hashtag #dogsatpollingstations.

Here are some of the more memorable pictures from today: