It is suspected that an award-winning Irish setter was poisoned at the world famous Crufts dog show. The dog has since died and its owners are devastated.
Jagger died in Belgium less than 48 hours after appearing at the dog show in Birmingham, England. The Irish setter was owned by Belgian Aleksandra Lauwers and Leicester-based breeders Dee Milligan-Bott and her husband Jeremy Bott.
The owners say they have no doubt that the dog was poisoned but have refused to back suggestions that a competition rival could be responsible.
Lauwers wrote on her Facebook page, "To person (sic) who has done it, hope you can sleep well knowing you have killed our love, family member and best friend to our son."
Milligan-Bott described the dog's death as a "heinous crime." She claims poisoned beef cubes were discovered after an autopsy. A full toxicology report is expected in the next week.
On her Facebook page Milligan-Bott wrote, "This (poisoning) resulted in a very painful death for our beautiful boy.
"The timings from the autopsy will make it clear the only place this could have been given to Jagger was while on his bench at Crufts."
She said she was hopeful a fellow competitor was not involved.
"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 30 years would be a complete waste…So I ask all of you to unite in finding the perpetrator who did this, and let's continue to produce and breed our gorgeous dogs who we are all so proud of."
Her husband Jeremy Bott said it was "out of the question" that other Crufts owners could have killed Jagger.
The police in Belgium have launched an investigation. The CCTV footage from Crufts is also being analyzed.
The organizers of Crufts, The Kennel Club, released this statement:
"The Kennel Club is deeply shocked and saddened to hear that Jagger the Irish Setter died some 26 hours after leaving Crufts," it said.
"We have spoken to his owners and our heartfelt sympathies go out to them.
"We understand that the toxicology report is due next week and until that time we cannot know the cause of this tragic incident."