The film Best in Show took a humorous look at the obsessive personalities of the people who enter their dogs in dog shows. The world of show dogs can be as fiercely competitive as any other beauty contest but it is hard for me to imagine that anyone would stoop to such a thing as poisoning a champion dog.
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.
Since other dogs at the show were also taken ill, there is speculation that this dog was not specifically targeted but was the victim of someone who was generally against dogs or dog shows. I had thought that these dogs, being so valuable, were closely watched by their handlers but apparently it is easy to get at the dogs and surreptitiously feed them.
Co-owner Jeremy Bott said he thought the animal had been poisoned by “slug killer” but that it was not a targeted attack.
A post-mortem on the animal revealed three “green and black” substances, sewn inside beef cubes, inside Jagger’s stomach.
“I would imagine it was somebody who has a grudge against dogs or Crufts show,” he told the BBC’s Today Programme.
During the show, the animals are ‘benched’ and visitors are able to walk in and among them. Earlier in the week Jagger’s half-brother Noodle had won a prestigious award and the team’s kennel received a lot of attention before they competed on Thursday.
“You have got people walking around the show so it is quite easy to feed a dog like that something if you wanted to poison one,” Mr Bott added. CCTV from the hall is being examined by officials.
I myself do not care for beauty contests of any kind, including dog shows, but I cannot imagine that anyone would hate them so much as to harm the animals who have no responsibility whatsoever for them.