Having been asked by two news shows to comment, I’m doing so here first. It appears that Irish Setter Jagger has lost his life to some sort of poisoning and my condolences go to his family. Now a second dog, a Shih Tzu is claimed to be dead from poisoning at Crufts. I was there all four days, on Sunday there was a list of five dogs allegedly poisoned. It’s grown since then.
(UPDATED WITH LINK TO TOXICOLOGY/kc STATEMENT. NOT POISONED AT CRUFTS) Showing is a competitive sport, I know some breeders, their families and dogs, personally. Over the years I have seen dogs kept in cages to avoid coat or body damage, to dogs living a perfectly normal dog life. I have stood ringside and heard vile comments from competitors against others in the ring, only to see them slapping the same person on the back when they win, with cries of “well deserved”. The level of hypocrisy appalls me. I have also seen competitors watch each others dogs, loan leads and equipment, give tips and much more. It’s no different to any other sport. Some people are good and decent, some are just greedy glory seekers. I know for a fact the one of the Best In Show finalists was on the beach covered in sand on Sunday morning and still in pristine condition later. All owners and dogs are NOT the same. This Crufts is overshadowed by several allegations, the tabloids running with “Murder at Crufts” headlines. I can understand the distress of the owners, losing their dog in such awful circumstances, but I resisted commenting until more was known. They still insist it was done at Crufts, but their vet is saying possibly not and probably administered later. Until full results are known, nobody should be commenting. As usual, Chinese whispers was rife at Crufts and since. Now there is allegedly another dog dead from poisoning and others ill. Yet no vet or owner details, not reported to the Kennel Club. Are people joining the bandwagon for attention? With over 20,000 dogs there over four days, inevitably some dogs will be ill, surely? I hope the full toxicology is conclusive and indicates when the poison was taken by poor Jagger. Two cruelty stories are also circulating. One concerns the Best In Show winner, Scottish Terrier Knopa. Her handler picked her up by throat and tail, something that used to be seen a lot in smaller breeds, but now described by the Kennel Club as “undesirable and unacceptable” and they say she was warned several times. So how many warnings before a handler is disqualified? The handler, Rebecca Cross made a statement saying the criticisms were made by people who “weren’t dog people” and it looks like the KC has pushed her to actually apologise. I doubt this will change her or other handlers methods. The second is an allegation that an obedience competitor hit his dog in the car park and roughly dragged her off the ground into his vehicle. He was later identified as David Holzman, who calls himself “Team Canada” but he is not an official Canadian team member and actually runs a training school in the USA. The photos do show him with a collie, dragged off the ground by her collar, looking at least distressed and uncomfortable. He will be back in the USA by now and I don’t think there is enough evidence to do anything at all. So an eventful and controversial Crufts with more to come I am sure. I’d like to see the KC acting more strongly on enforcing rules and protecting dogs and less of endless warnings. Read my post about the Crufts 2012 winner, Zentar Elizabeth, a life in prison here
KC statement confirms what was expected. Jagger was not poisoned at Crufts. A tragic loss, sympathies to his owners, it must have been a devastating experience.