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Owner: Dog may have been poisoned

Image: Cruz (© Lynette Blue/Facebook)
Questions surround the death of 3-year-old Samoyed, Cruz.
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NEW YORK (AP)

A dog owner says she thinks there's a chance her prized pet was deliberately poisoned while competing at the Westminster Kennel Club show, causing it to die several days later.

westminster kennel club dog show

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Lynette Blue tells The Associated Press that her 3-year-old Samoyed named Cruz probably swallowed poison during the recent show.

But she said Thursday she's not sure how it happened, and may never know.

The dog's death was first reported by The New York Times. Cruz did have symptoms similar to dogs that had ingested rodent poisoning, according to the veterinarian who treated him, The Times report revealed.

On the night before the competition, Cruz reportedly shared a steak with his handler, Robert Chaffin, and settled in at a Midtown Manhattan hotel.

Chaffin told the Times he believed that extreme animal rights activists, many who have called dog shows and purebred competitions inhumane, might have been responsible for Cruz's death. He also told the Times he felt it was unlikely that Cruz had been deliberately poisoned.

"Unfortunately, dog shows have been plagued by some of these people for years," Chaffin told the newspaper. "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."

Though Chaffin reportedly said he had uncovered no evidence that Cruz was deliberately poisoned, he did acknowledge that it was possible for the dog to have accidentally swallowed poison.

Westminster issued a statement Thursday saying it wasn't aware of any dogs ever being poisoned at its show. The 137th Westminster drew 2,721 entries earlier this month.

According to The Times, necropsy was not performed on Cruz, who died in Lakewood, Colo. He reportedly was competing in another dog show.

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