Belfast Telegraph

Famed British institution also poisoned by the killing of Jagger

By Grace Dent

The deceased was, according to Aleksandra Lauwers, "our love, family member and best friend to our son". Lauwers, a dog breeder, wasn't speaking of a child, or a sibling, but of a shaggy-haired, russet-toned Irish setter called Jagger, poisoned, it is believed, at Crufts. Jagger died in Lauwers' arms after eating beef laced with up to three types of poison.

For me, there is something deeply disconcerting about a dog's murder - if this is what it is - at Crufts. Crufts makes me proud to be British. Much like Wimbledon, or the Open, it may not have the world's glitziest amenities, or offer the biggest cash prizes on the circuit, but what it does have is a stalwart reputation.

We are - it is reported typically as fact, although I'd quibble - a nation of dog-lovers and Crufts is the greatest dog show in the world. Both of these claims seem rather shaky today.

Dog-phobes are everywhere, in growing numbers, along with the "Ooh, I'm scared of circus clowns" brigade, the can't-eat-wheats, the grown-ups who attend fireworks displays in ear-safety muffs, plus all the other people who can't leave the house without spare underwear because modern life is scary.

Still, how a dog-phobe managed to enter the world's biggest dog show to commit this crime is a sticking point in my ongoing Midsomer Murders-style investigations.

And being wholly fair to dog-fearers, Britain's growing number of dog scaredy-cats merely matches the depressing number of British idiots who are abject failures as dog-owners. The puppy's greatest design flaw is that it looks so temptingly cute in photos. This means that most low-lifes, flakes and airheads will at some point be convinced they want, nay, need, a dog.

Then, on discovering the dog to be easily as much trouble, expense and gruntwork as an actual human child, they will abandon it.

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is jam-packed with dogs dumped the moment they began needing three miles' walking every day, socialisation with other dogs, constant discipline, expensive vet visits and tons of love.

Legally, it should be extremely hard to breed and sell dogs and really difficult to buy one. Instead, it's virtually a free-for-all. We can't be too surprised that someone poisoned Jagger, when in Britain a dog's life is really rather cheap.

Other theories stand that Jagger was poisoned by someone with a grudge against Crufts over pedigree "breeding", which has left a lot of dogs pampered, pricey, but so inbred they're not fit for purpose.

Still, murdering dogs in order to protect future breeds of dogs seems rather counter-productive. This didn't stop poor old Peta's name being dragged into the frame - with no evidence whatsoever - before Jagger's body was cold.

I feel the chances of Peta, or the RSPCA, or Brian May, or any other animal rights advocates, being involved in Jagger's death are very slim, but, gosh, some people do love to have a swipe at animal rights lobbies as they get in the way massively with all the foie gras, dead racehorse and fox-ripped-to-shreds fun.

Or perhaps Jagger was nobbled by a rival breeder? In the ITV dramatic take on this crime, I hope the murderer will be played by Imelda Staunton, wearing a stained tracksuit, smelling of tripe, with a sneaky trombone sound denoting her appearance ringside.

Jagger's murder may well go unsolved, but it gave us all paws for thought.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph