‘Murder at Crufts’ poisoning claim hits world’s biggest dog show

Co-owners of dog who died shortly after competing at Crufts, apparently from eating poisoned meat, say they refuse to blame another exhibitor and are determined to continue showing their animals.

LEICESTER, UNITED KINGDOM (MARCH 9, 2015) (ITN) – The world’s biggest dog show was thrust into a murder mystery fit for an Agatha Christie novel when a champion Irish setter died after its owner said it had been fed steak laced with poison.

The death of three-year-old Jagger rocked Britain’s Crufts show, held annually since the reign of Queen Victoria, and unnerved a dog-showing world that some fear may have just become too competitive.

Dee Milligan-Bott, co-owner of Jagger, whose pedigree name was Thendara Satisfaction, said an autopsy had concluded he had eaten steak laced with several types of poison that led to a painful death for the dog on his return to Belgium.

She called on fellow breeders to track down the poisoner.

“I ask you all to unite in finding the perpetrator who did this,” Milligan-Bott, an experienced Irish setter and Afghan Hound kennel owner who has officiated at Crufts, told reporters at her home in central England.

Although she said the autopsy showed the poisoning must have taken place at Crufts, she refused to point the blame at rivals.

“I therefore need you all to know, that 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 and the last thirty years of breeding and showing beautiful dogs would have been a complete waste,” Milligan-Bott said.

Her husband, Jeremy Bott said the dog’s death would not stop them competing.

“This one isolated incident will not spoil our enjoyment to show and compete with our lovely dogs. Please, now let us grieve the loss of our lovely Jagger.”

Jagger died at his other co-owner’s home in Belgium, and some British newspapers have speculated that he might have been a victim of mistaken identity as his half-brother Pot Noodle is another successful show dog.

Co-owner Aleksandra Lauwers, gave no comment to waiting media at her home in Lauw, Belgium.

Owners flock to a cavernous conference centre outside Birmingham for Crufts, entering their pedigree dogs against 21,500 others in a series of competitions that culminate in Best in Show.

A Scottish terrier from Russia won that title on Sunday, two days after Jagger’s death.

The show was founded by Charles Cruft, who worked for a dog biscuit manufacturer. Winners, which emerge from categories such as toy dogs, gun dogs, hounds and terriers, often have striking names. A poodle called Afterglow Maverick Sabre, also known as Ricky, won Best in Show last year.

The Kennel Club, which organises Crufts, issued a statement of condolence, saying it was deeply shocked and saddened by the death.

A Kennel Club spokeswoman said it was unclear where the alleged incident happened and that until the toxicology report was received it was difficult to speculate.

In any case, the British tabloid Sun newspaper could not resist reporting, “police are following all leads”.