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Westminster dog death: Owner sniffs foul play

At Westminster, dog deaths are unheard of. But this year a 3-year-old Samoyed died four days after the competition. The owner now says she thinks the Westminster dog death was a deliberate poisoning. 

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Four days after the 137th Westminster Kennel Club dog show, a dog died. The dog's death, its owner now says, was deliberate. Here, handlers wait to compete at the dog show, Feb. 11.

Associated Press

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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.

"It is in the realm of possibility," Lynette Blue told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Blue co-owns a 3-year-old Samoyed named Cruz, and said he probably swallowed poison at Westminster earlier this month. Four days after competing, the dog died, on Feb. 16, while at a show in Colorado.

Blue has worked since the 1970s with Samoyeds, a sturdy, medium-sized breed. She said that while there was no evidence foul play was involved, certain symptoms were consistent with dogs that ingest rat or mouse poison. That was the reason she said she decided against a necropsy — an autopsy for animals.

"The timeline adds up. There's no other scenario we can come up with other than poison," she said.

Asked if she thought it was intentional, she said: "I don't think we'll ever know."

The dog's death was first reported by The New York Times.

Cruz's handler, Robert Chaffin, told the Times he thought extreme animal rights activists may have been to blame. Members of some animal groups have criticized shows featuring purebred dogs in the past.

In 2010, two members of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals stood in the middle of the Westminster best-in-show ring at Madison Square Garden and held protest signs.

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