It's the mystery rocking the dog show world.
Was this beautiful dog named Cruz the victim of foul play? Did someone actually poison him?
The mystery began after Cruz the dog competed at New York's Madison Square Garden at the prestigious Westminster dog show earlier this month.
Just four days after the show, Cruz began coughing up blood and was rushed to an animal hospital where he died. His veterinarian believes the dog swallowed rat poison, and his handler says animal activists may be involved.
Cruz was a three-year-old prize-winning Samoyed. His handler, Robert Chaffin says that the night before the competition, he checked in to the New Yorker Hotel just a block away from Madison Square Garden where many dogs and their handlers stay.
Cruz and his handler stayed in a room where they even shared a steak dinner together from room service.
The handler says he checked the nooks and crannies of the room carefully, including under the bed, to make sure that there was nothing like rat poison lying around.
The next day, backstage at Madison Square Garden where the dogs are prepped for the show, Chaffin says a stranger began glaring at him and made a disapproving remark about Cruz's vocal cords being removed to quiet his bark—a controversial procedure known as "debarking."
Four days later, back home in Colorado, Cruz became violently ill and died. The vet who treated the dog says the symptoms resembled those of a dog who had swallowed rat poison.
Cruz's owner, Lynette Blue, is devastated by the animal's sudden and shocking death.
Blue tearfully said, "An emergency veterinarian was treating it as rodent poisoning, and he didn't make it."
The animal rights group PETA has long protested the Westminster dog show.
Blue said,"I know there's fanatics out there and people that do things like that. It's happened before at other dog shows.
But PETA spokesperson flatly denies an animal activist had anything to do with Cruz's death.
"It's really scurrilous and low that this dog breeder is throwing out these accusations," said PETA's spokesperson.
The winner of the Westminster dog show was Banana Joe, an Affenpinscher.
And while Cruz didn't make it to the finals, the dog world is shaken by his death. His owner is asking the NYPD to investigate the mystery of what happened to her beautiful dog.