I recently read a very interesting story about the suspicious death of a Samoyed show dog called Cruz, who had just participated in the 137th Westminster Dog Show in New York last month.
Only a few days after he competed at Madison Square Garden, Cruz began coughing up blood and within hours he was dead. The veterinarian who treated him said that the symptoms of his death resembled the symptoms of ingesting rat or mouse poison. There is no evidence to suggest that Cruz was poisoned intentionally, and although the owners chose not to have a necropsy performed they are not ready to rule out foul play. During the Samoyeds time in New York, his handler Robert Chaffin was with him at all times, and even thoroughly checked the hotel accommodation to ensure there were no harmful pesticides that Cruz could accidentally ingest.
Although intentional poisoning of show dogs is exceptionally rare, allegations of such acts at Westminster date back to 1895 when eight show dogs were poisoned the morning before the competition. The media suggested that jealousy was the motive. Cruz did not win a prize at this year’s competition but he had reached the top rankings for Samoyeds and his owners believed he had a promising career ahead of him. Chaffin remembers a disapproving comment from a stranger at the show about the fact that Cruz’s vocal cords had been removed to quieten his bark. “It would have been easy for someone to throw something in his cage” Chaffin said. He is inclined to point the finger at animal rights activists, who often protest outside dog shows. He claims to have heard stories about other show dogs being poisoned and their setups being tampered with, and believes that these people could be responsible for his dog’s death. But PETA’s co-founder said “it makes no sense whatsoever that an animal rights activist would harm an animal”.
It was established that Cruz flew to NY on Monday, took part in the competition on Tuesday, flew to Denver on Wednesday and by Saturday he became ill and passed away. This means it was likely that the dog was poisoned while in New York, as physical symptoms can take 3-5 days to appear. While the owners have acknowledged that it could have been swallowed accidentally, they are not satisfied to call it case closed.
Personally I can’t imagine that other show dog owners would intentionally harm the competition seeing as they own dogs themselves and it wouldn’t make sense that animal rights groups would either, but it is an unusual story
What do you think?
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