On Feb. 16, after Cruz began vomiting blood, handler Robert Chaffin took him to an emergency veterinary clinic in Colorado where he was hooked up to an intravenous drip and received oxygen. Within a few hours, he was dead.
Poisoning, whether intentional or not, seemed the most likely explanation according to the attending veterinarian. But owner Lynette Blue declined for Cruz to have a necropsy because she was confident that he swallowed poison. Blue said she's considering taking further action.
Chaffin believes extreme animal rights activists might have been responsible. He admitted he had uncovered no evidence that Cruz had been deliberately poisoned, and he acknowledged that it was possible that the dog had accidentally swallowed poison. But he says he was with the dog at all times and kept a strict eye on his eating.
Chaffin said he remembered a stranger at the Westminster show who glared at him and made a disapproving remark about Cruz’s vocal cords having been removed to quiet his bark, a process known as debarking. “It would have been easy for someone to throw something in his cage,” Chaffin said.
Molly Comiskey, the veterinarian who treated Cruz, said: “Dogs are dogs. It’s not anyone’s fault. They eat stuff; they get into things; they make bad decisions.”