Photos: Cruz, show dog who died in Denver, poisoned at Westminster Kennel Club?
At least initially, the biggest local story to come out of this year's Westminster Kennel Club seemed to be the near-victory of Swagger, an Old English Sheepdog bred in Colorado Springs who become the annual extravaganza's Cinderella. But now, there's another, and far weirder, Colorado link to what's viewed as the Super Bowl of dog shows.
Photos, videos below.
A top breeder is floating the possibility that Cruz, a prize Samoyed who died in Denver, was poisoned a few days earlier at the WKC. Photos and videos below.
The controversy has been reported by no less a journalism icon than the New York Times, which notes that Cruz seemed to be in perfect health during the Westminster event, even though he failed to score a ribbon.
After the WKC, which concluded on February 12, Cruz and his handler, Robert Chaffin, headed to the Denver area to compete in another dog show. But on February 16, Cruz began vomiting blood, prompting a trip to Animal Critical Care and Emergency Services in Lakewood. But nothing could be done to save him. He died within hours.
Cruz in 2011.
A necropsy wasn't done on Cruz because his owner, Lynette Blue, is certain that he was poisoned, the Times maintains -- and given that rat poison, the likeliest killer, tends to take effect several days after ingestion, the act would have been committed in NYC.
There's no proof of that, of course, and a slew of possibilities remain. Cruz could have stumbled on rat poison or the like accidentally (although nothing suspicious was found in the room where he stayed in New York), or he might have suffered from an undiagnosed ailment like hemophilia, which could have triggered similar symptoms.
Still, Chaffin sees possible poisoning suspects among the throngs at Westminster, including a "stranger" who seemed displeased that Cruz had his vocal cords removed in a debarking procedure, and animal rights activists of the sort that despise dog shows. His assertions inspired Gawker to create the following graphic....
...and come up with its own list of possible dog slayers.
Continue for more about the mystery surrounding Cruz the Samoyed's death, including more photos and videos.