×

Police probe prize-winning pup poisoning

The world's most famous dog show was hit by controversy over the weekend with the death a prize-winning Red Setter amid allegations of poisoning and foul play.

Thendara Satisfaction, better known as Jagger, came second in his class at the Crufts dog show in Birmingham, England on Thursday but collapsed and died the day afterwards on his return to his native Belgium.

The owners have claimed that the dog had been poisoned during his time at the event, the U.K. equivalent of the Westminster Dog Show. Co-owner Dee Milligan Bott posted Saturday on her Facebook page saying that an autopsy had revealed that the dog had eaten cubes of beef that contained two to three different types of poison.

"The timings from the autopsy make it clear the only place this could have been given to Jagger was while on his bench at Crufts," she said on the social media site.

The owners say that they have contacted the Belgian police and CCTV footage of the event in being investigated and exact toxicology reports are also excepted. Jagger was one of several dogs brought to the event by the owners, whose Thendara Pot Noodle also won best of breed. The different dogs from the same kennel had changed places after one became agitated about being near a bitch in season, according to a report by the U.K.'s Dogworld website on Sunday.

"It's been suggested that someone's really got it in for us, and to not let it get to us. There do seem to be too many coincidences. You go to shows trying to win, and one of our dogs is on a roll at the moment, and our kennel had a good day at Crufts on Thursday. We're very proud of our record and maybe some people aren't happy," Milligan Bott said, according to Dogworld.

"Sometimes you can't prove anything but you know in your gut what has happened and that something very untoward is going on."

On Sunday, Milligan Bott posted again on Facebook to give more context on her earlier comments and iterated that she didn't want dog shows to become "a ground of finger pointing and suspicion."


OLI SCARFF | Stringer | Getty Images

"We can't and we won't think that this was the act of another exhibitor, if we thought this we couldn't go on," she said.

The social media sites of all of the owners were awash with condolences and messages of personal support over the weekend. Caroline Kisko, the secretary of the Kennel Club which helps to organize Crufts, said that the group was deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the death.

"We have spoken to his owners and our heartfelt sympathies go out to them," she said, according to the statement. "We understand that the toxicology report is due next week and until that time we cannot know the cause of this tragic incident."

The owners also moved on Monday to correct what they saw as speculation in the U.K. press. Some reports had stated that the pedigree dog had a value of around £50,000 with its ability to win shows and his potential to breed future winners.

Amy Nettleton, Milligan Bott's daughter, told the BBC that this was "sensationalism" and "beyond ridiculous."

"Jagger, to his family, was priceless and he was also used, not only as a family pet but as pet therapy," she said.

Matthias Rietschel | Getty Images