In Brief

Crufts murder mystery: prize-winning dog 'poisoned' at show

Dog breeding community 'horrified' after an Irish setter dies a day after competing in the Crufts dog show

A police investigation has been launched after a prize-winning dog died amid claims that it was poisoned by rival breeders at Crufts.

Three-year-old Thendara Satisfaction, known as Jagger, collapsed at home in Belgium a day after coming second in his class at the annual dog show in Birmingham.

A post-mortem examination revealed that the Irish setter had poisoned meat cubes in its stomach, according to its owners. Investigators are still waiting for a full toxicology report to be released.

"I am convinced it happened at the dog show. There wasn't any other opportunity. It looked like an act of jealousy," said co-owner and breeder Alexandra Lauwers. She said her family had lost "our love, family member and best friend to our son".

The dog's second owner Dee Milligan-Bott says she hopes it was "a random act by someone who hates dogs, an opportunist," and not a jealous rival, the BBC reports.

The mystery deepened after a judge revealed that two other contestants had reported their dogs falling ill at the show, and believed that they had also been poisoned, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The Kennel Club, which organises the annual show, has promised to co-operate fully with the Belgian police investigation. "We have spoken to [Jagger's] owners and our heartfelt sympathies go out to them," said the club's secretary Caroline Kisko.

"It's terrible to think anyone could go to lengths like that," said competitor Angela Wiegand. "It's got to a stage where you’re frightened to go away and leave your dog for more than a few seconds."

Underhand tactics have been well documented at the prestigious show, with contestants placing a bitch on heat near a male in order to distract him, or contests putting chewing gum into the fur of a "prettily primped rival", according to The Guardian

"I can't believe anyone could be so evil or vindictive," said judge Gillian Barker-Bell. "Dogs have been tampered with at other championship shows so this is not a first. But I have never heard of a dog actually dying. What a sick mind to do something like that."

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