An Irish setter named Jagger died Friday in Belgium after having just competed in Britain's Crufts Dog Show, and according to the 3-year-old dog's owners, this was no accident—it was murder.
Dee Milligan-Bott, Jagger's co-owner and breeder, told BBC Radio 5 there was "no doubt" that the pedigree pup had been "maliciously poisoned."
The dog, whose show name is Thendara Satisfaction, had a "terrific day" at Crufts, said Ms. Milligan-Bott, adding that it was only after returning to Belgium that Jagger suddenly became ill and died. A veterinarian was "immediately suspicious" about his cause of death, said Ms. Milligan-Bott, because an autopsy showed an undigested piece of steak in Jagger's stomach that had been "stuffed with poison."
But while this initial autopsy indicated the alleged poisoning occurred at Crufts (the U.K. equivalent of Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show), Jagger's co-owner is not accusing another competitor of any wrongdoing. Instead, she's asking fellow breeders for their help. "I ask you all to unite in finding the perpetrator who did this," she told a group of reporters, per Reuters. "I certainly don't want our dog shows, the places we work so hard to get to, (to) become a ground of finger-pointing and suspicion."
"I therefore need you all to know that we can't, and we won't think this was an act of another exhibitor. If we thought this we couldn't go," she added.
Ms. Milligan-Bott, who said police have been contacted, told BBC Radio 5 she could "only imagine that it was a random act that somebody premeditated and wanted to cause total distress at the best dog show in the world."
The Kennel Club, which organizes Crufts, expressed its condolences, saying (per NBC News),it was "deeply shocked and saddened," by Jagger's death. They noted, however, they "cannot know the cause of this tragedy" until an official toxicology report is released by Belgian authorities later this week.
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