Crufts criticised over poisoned dog
The owners of the Irish setter wrongly thought to have been poisoned at Crufts have said the "true facts" surrounding its death may never be known.
In a joint statement, the co-owners of gundog Thendara Satisfaction, which had the pet name Jagger, also criticised the Kennel Club's handling of the "media circus" following the dog's death.
The Kennel Club said on Monday that a toxicology report had shown the dog, which died after returning to Belgium, could not have been poisoned while competing at Crufts in Birmingham.
The animal's co-owners, Belgian couple Aleksandra and Willem Lauwers and Leicestershire-based Dee Milligan-Bott and her husband Jeremy Bott, issued the joint statement on their respective Facebook pages.
Accusing Crufts officials of sending "cold" and impersonal emails during attempts to establish what happened to Jagger, the owners said: "We accept that we will never know the true facts of why, where and when Jagger ingested poison which resulted in his death.
"We wish now to draw a line under this tragedy.
"We are extremely disappointed, the way the Kennel Club have handled the events surrounding the death of Jagger."
The statement added that a vet acting for Mr and Mrs Lauwers carried out an immediate post-mortem on Friday March 6, confirming suspected poisoning.
The dog's owners said they had then contacted the Kennel Club by urgent email to its press office to report the dog's death and then faced a "barrage" of emails from the organisation.
Toxicology reports were sent to the Kennel Club last Saturday along with a timetable of Jagger's exact movements, the dog's owners said.
The owners' statement concluded: "We feel we did everything possible to quell the media frenzy that was eager to sensationalise this sad situation.
"We would have welcomed being offered expert advice, from a professional corporation such as the Kennel Club and Crufts organisation, on dealing with the intrusive worldwide media whose only interest in this case was obviously because of the link with Crufts.
"That would have been helpful, rather than the cold, impersonal emails and their own press comments regretting that Jagger had died after the show (and) may have avoided the terrible media circus that ensued."
In a statement issued on Monday, the Kennel Club offered its deepest sympathies to Jagger's owners and asked for their privacy to be respected by the media.
The organisation added that it was "inconceivable" that the dog, which died late on March 6, had been given two fast-acting poisons at Birmingham's NEC between 28 and 36 hours earlier.
Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisko said: "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.
"It is highly likely that the poisons, thought to be on a piece of beef, were eaten in Belgium, shortly before Jagger's death."
West Midlands Police liaised with Crufts and the NEC to preserve potential sources of evidence after the dog's death but did not receive any complaint or launch a formal inquiry.