Cruz, a prizewinning Samoyed who competed at this month’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, died in Lakewood Colo., where he was taking part in another competition. The circumstances surrounding his death are very suspicious and Cruz’s handler, as well as one of his owners, believe that foul play may have been involved.
The veterinarian who treated Cruz, Molly Comiskey, said that he had symptoms that were consistent with dogs that had ingested rat poison. She did not believe that he had been poisoned intentionally. “Dogs are dogs. It’s not anyone’s fault. They eat stuff; they get into things; they make bad decisions,” Comiskey said.
Robert Chaffin, Cruz’s handler, accompanied the canine in New York during the Westminster competition. Chaffin spent nearly his every waking minute with the dog and closely monitored what he did and ate, reports the NY Times. He thinks that animal rights activists may have been responsible for Cruz’s death. Extreme activists believe that believe that dog shows are inhumane and cruel.
“Unfortunately, dog shows have been plagued by some of these people for years,” Chaffin said. “I’ve heard horror stories about other people’s dogs having their setups tampered with, being poisoned, but I never thought it would come to me.”
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Chaffin has no proof to back up his suspicions. He does remember a stranger glaring at him and making critical remarks about Cruz being debarked, a process where a dog’s vocal cords are removed to quiet their barking.
“It would have been easy for someone to throw something in his cage,” Chaffin said.
One of Cruz’s owners, Lynette Blue, called the New York Police Department after Cruz died. She has not heard back. Blue is still trying to decide whether she wants to take any further action. Cruz did not win at Westminster but he appeared to have a good career in front of him.
“We have been devastated and in shock,” Blue said. “This is one of the most painful experiences of my life.”
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Source: (NY Times)