THE BREEDER and co-owner of the Irish Setter who died the day after competing at Crufts says she still believes poison was ingested at the show.
Speculation has been rife in the press about what happened and when, and results of the post-mortem examination, which took place in Belgium shortly after the death of Thendara Satisfaction (Jagger).
But today Dee Milligan-Bott said she was standing by what she had always said – that the only time the dog was left alone was on the bench at Crufts – adding that the only veterinary details conveyed officially, apart from to the four owners were done so during a conversation between the Belgian vet and a Crufts vet, and that any national press speculation was ‘rubbish’.
She showed DOG WORLD an email apparently from the vet who carried out the post-mortem examination which states that ‘suspicious’ black particles were found in meat in Jagger’s stomach, ‘suggesting there was poison’.
“The vet has not spoken to anyone from the press – it would be against their code of ethics to do so – and the only other information available is what I put on Facebook,” she said.
Mrs Milligan-Bott and co-owners Willem and Alexsandra Lauwers are hoping that a toxicology test will not only pinpoint exactly what the black particles are, but also a time-frame of when the substance was ingested by Jagger. The three-year-old collapsed after he returned to Belgium the day after Crufts; in a second exclusive interview with DOG WORLD she said she felt Jagger had been targeted by a member of the public who had gone to the show intending to harm a dog.
“The granules found have been sent to Ghent University toxicology department to try to identify what they are. We hope we can pinpoint what kind of pesticide or poison it is that killed him, and that they may be able to give us a window of when it was administered – although it will be a broad window.
“But I stand by what we have said since the beginning – whether or not we prove this or otherwise – the only time Jagger was left alone from the time he left Belgium was on his bench at Crufts. Those are the facts, whatever else the press or anyone else including the Kennel Club chooses to believe.”
The media had made her life ‘an absolute nightmare’ since she returned from Crufts, Mrs Milligan-Bott said.
“We’ve been inundated,” she said. “And we’ve had no help or input from anybody about how to deal with it. As far as I am concerned there are certain bodies who are lucky I didn’t sell my story – I’ve been offered a lot of money to.
“I have no experience at all about dealing with the media, neither have Alex and Will in Belgium. If you had seen our house from the Sunday of Crufts until the Monday afternoon – it was mad. In the end I agreed with the BBC man that if I gave them a statement he would take the big boys of the media away. And to be fair he did, but then we were left with the lowlife.”
The Milligan-Botts’ Sh Ch Thendara Pot Noodle won best of breed at Crufts.
“The press even wanted to film me walking Noodle. Our dogs haven’t been able to leave the house. We’ve felt very alone.”
The Milligan-Botts are members of the KC’s Assured Breeder Scheme.
“But still the KC doesn’t seem to care. I haven’t asked them for help but I think it should have been offered. There was so much bad publicity after Pedigree Dogs Exposed and since then I’ve tried to protect what we do. I’ve invested a lot of years in it and I take what we do seriously – I’m very proud of it; I don’t want it ridiculed and I don’t want our sport ridiculed.
“The KC could have come in as a buffer between us and the media circus and show they do care about a dead dog. It is an organisation we are all meant to respect; we all play their game and it is meant to be respected worldwide. I know we’re not KC members but they left us high and dry.
“We’re very, very tired and very sad; it was a fantastic day for us at Crufts with Noodle being pulled out in the group, and it has been completely lost; we haven’t been able to raise a glass to that. It makes you so mad with the KC.
“We love Crufts, we’re proud of it, and we would do anything to protect it.”
The KC has not yet responded, but last week it said it would do all it could to support the owners.