Crufts, the largest dog show in the world, was visited by tragedy this weekend after one of its competitors, a prize-winning Irish Setter known as Jagger, died after ingesting poisoned beef.
Kelly Davis, a Creative Writing student at De Montfort University and avid dog lover, gave a surprising response to news of what had happened.
“I was very upset, when the news came round,” she told me. “We all were, it was shocking, but not surprising.”
With an unusual air of judgment, she added: “I suspected foul play from the word go.
“Considering what I saw yesterday, it wouldn’t surprise me, the length that some of these people go to, they make me suspect a jealous rival, not just some opportunistic dog hater.”
Jagger’s co-owner Jeremy Bott and his wife Dee Milligan-Bott both disagree with Kelly, with Dee saying in an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live: “I don’t believe in my heart of hearts that this was another competitor or anyone involved in the dog world.
“I can only imagine that it was a random act that somebody premeditated and wanted to cause total distress at the best dog show in the world.”
Kelly was evasive and undecided about her thoughts about the show as a whole, saying: “I would personally never show any of my own dogs at Crufts, but I like going to the displays, the actual showing though I’m not too fond of, just because of the lengths they go to. One of the trainers told me her Shih Tzu was preened for eight hours before being ready for the show.”
She thought such extreme grooming seemed to her ‘unnatural’.
“I’d say it’s more unnatural than cruel, the dogs do need to be groomed, it’s important, but they take it too far, it’ll be uncomfortable for the dogs.”
She said she would go to Crufts again but that she much preferred the smaller events where there is less an ‘air of elitism.’
Aas she put it: “Where even the enthusiastic dog owners can win without all the money spent at the larger shows like Crufts.”