LONDON (AFP) - A prize-winning Irish Setter who died after competing in Crufts was not poisoned at the British dog show but on his return home to Belgium, organisers said Monday.
The Kennel Club, which runs Crufts, said toxicology tests on Jagger showed he died earlier this month after ingesting a fast-acting insecticide that is banned in the European Union.
Club Secretary Caroline Kisko said investigations had also revealed no basis for rumours that five more dogs have been poisoned at the show, which has run since 1891.
"There has been a lot of concern about whether the poisoning happened at Crufts and we are now able to reassure all dog lovers who came to Crufts that this could not have been possible," she said in a statement. "It is highly likely that the poisons, thought to be on a piece of beef, were eaten in Belgium, shortly before Jagger's death."
His death prompted widespread speculation about dirty tricks and the fierce competition at Crufts, where the paltry prize winnings are dwarfed by the large sums that owners can earn by breeding top ranked dogs.
But the Kennel Club insisted that reports in the media of widespread poisonings were way off the mark.
"Absolutely no dog has been shown to have been sick at or after Crufts due to poison ingested at the show, there are no veterinary reports or evidence to support this notion, and no official reports of poisoning have been made to the police," Kisko said.
Jagger, who is co-owned by a British and Belgian team, died late on March 6 after ingesting two toxic carbamate pesticides, carbofuran and aldicarb, the club said.
Symptoms appear within hours and therefore "it is inconceivable that he could have been poisoned at Crufts on Thursday March 5, some 28 to 36 hours earlier", it said. "Regardless of the fact that the poison was not ingested at Crufts a dog has very sadly died and we must now respect the owners' privacy and give them time to grieve."