A Westminster dog death has shaken the competitive world of canines. A three-year-old Samoyed named Cruz died Feb. 16 while he was competing at another dog show in Colorado -- just four days before he competed at Westminster in New York.
Cruz's co-owner, Lynette Blue, and his handler, Robert Chaffin, believe the dog was poisoned. According to a Thursday report on ABC News, Blue said Cruz was always on a leash and indoors. The dog's whereabouts was always in check.
While the Westminster dog was at the Rocky Mountain Cluster Dog Show in Denver, he got sick and began vomiting blood. Chaffin took Cruz to the emergency vet where he later died from internal hemorrhaging. Cruz was cremated, but a necropsy wasn't performed.
The vomiting and hemorrhaging was a key symptom of rodenticide or rat poison. A veterinarian assistant -- Dr. Tony Johnson at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine -- said Cruz's symptoms may have also been due to natural causes as a result of cancer.
"Two of the things that will cause bleeding in the abdomen are cancer and rat poisoning and people often attribute it to poisoning as opposed to cancer," he said. "We see a lot of dogs that have bleeding in their abdomen due to cancer so that is a possibility."
It's unclear what resulted in the Westminster dog's death. Was it fierce competitors trying to eliminate Cruz for a coveted title or someone on the outside who wanted to harm a top show dog? An investigation into the matter is being conducted.