THE PROFESSIONAL handler at the centre of a mystery surrounding 13 dogs’ deaths has been suspended by the Italian Kennel Club (ENCI).

No more details have yet emerged about length of suspension or findings against Fabrizio Manni, but since the incident at the end of May rumours have abounded concerning how the dogs came to die.

On the day in question Mr Manni and the dogs had just completed a six-hour journey from Teverina to Rende where a show was taking place, and he left them in his van outside his hotel.

He told DOG WORLD at the time that he had checked the dogs twice afterwards, exercising them and replenishing their water, and returned three hours later to find all but two had died, including his own Whippet. Two were alive – a Bedlington Terrier and a Weimaraner, and the latter died later.

The post-mortem examination results are still not known officially, although there are suggestions that they have excluded poisoning as was suggested originally by Mr Manni. A veterinary certificate made public on social media appeared to confirm that the Weimaraner, Luigi Cocchi’s Oxy, had died from heatstroke.

Mr Manni has not responded to DOG WORLD’s requests for a comment.  At the time he maintained that heat had not been a factor and that ventilation in the vehicle had been working correctly.

Very little substantiated information has emerged since then, but this week the ENCI told DOG WORLD that its Disciplinary Commission had given Mr Manni a ‘precautionary suspension’.