A scandal following last week's Crufts competition has seen a prize-winning dog and Irish setter allegedly poisoned and killed.

Credit: Dee Milligan-Bott

Credit: Dee Milligan-Bott

With the dog - Jagger - being fed meat laced with toxins, a breeder now claims that the £50,000 pooch was targeted by accident by somebody who was in fact looking to kill another of her Irish setters that looks very similar.

In one of the competition's biggest scandals in its 124-year history, the three-year-old dog collapsed and died in Belgium on Friday, just one day after coming second in his class at the world-famous event.

Tests following Jagger's passing found that the dog had eaten cubed beef laced with up to three poisons, but co-owner Dee Milligan-Bott believes the intended victim was four-year-old Noodle, who won best of breed on the day that Jagger competed.

Almost identical looking, the two dogs had switched places on the benches where entrants sit before and after they enter the show ring at the NEC in Birmingham.

Jagger died in the arms of joint owner Alexandra Lauwers in her Belgium home, who then reported his death to police and animal welfare officers in the country, as well as to the Kennel Club which runs Crufts.

Now, CCTV footage from the NEC is being investigated, but the RSPCA and West Midlands Police are yet to be officially informed.

This weekend, Mrs Milligan-Bott said she had done "nothing but cry" over the dog's death, going on to say: "We think this is the work of some random psychopathic dog hater who decided to visit Crufts with one thing in mind, rather than any sort of targeted attack."

Breeding and showing Afghan hounds and Irish setters along with her husband Jeremy Bott, she said early tests had shown the poison which killed Jagger was a "pesticide-type".

"Some sadistic person out there poisoned our dog. Crufts is a high-profile event and we live in a very anti-dog society" she continued.

She is planning to inform West Midlands Police of the circumstances surrounding Jagger's death when she receives the written toxicology report later in the week, stating she'd heard rumours of such scandals with breeders at other shows, but had never come across anything like this personally in her 30 years of competing.

"I don't believe it had anything to do with other competitors. We have had so many calls [from other breeders who attended Crufts]... everybody has been pulling together and offering support."

Mrs Milligan-Bott added: "We're now waiting for exact toxicology reports. Whoever did this knew what they were doing, trying to get exactly the right type of poison with a slow release."

The public are able to get into the holding area where dogs are "benched" before and after competing, though they're asked not to touch any of the animals.

There has been growing controversy over the amount of overseas and foreign dogs allowed to compete in Crufts, with around 3,000 entrants from abroad entering this year's competition alone and prompting complaints from a number of owners who say it's supposed to be a British event.


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