Show dogs poisoned in mysterious Fryingpan case
The fatal poisoning of two rare show dogs up the Fryingpan Valley has the owner and cops puzzled.Sandra Zogg found one of her Clumber spaniels dead and another seriously ill at her house in the Seven Castles area Wednesday. The sick dog later died at the office of Zogg’s veterinarian. Two dogs were unharmed while two others are fighting for their lives.”Twenty-four hours will tell if they’re going to live,” Zogg said. “They are on IVs.”Zogg said she got home after dark Tuesday evening, March 22, and let the dogs out of her house two at a time into a fenced area. Each pair stayed out for about an hour before the others were rotated out.Zogg found Whoopie dead and Davin ill about 10 a.m. the next morning. She rushed them to the vet’s office then investigated the kennel area along with Eagle County Deputy Sheriff Missy Langford. Zogg said they discovered what appeared to be hamburger scraps along with a “slimy” greenish-yellow liquid on dishes used for food and water. An analysis by her vet showed the substance was antifreeze.That’s touched off a whodunnit mystery.”I have no clue who would have done it,” Zogg said. The dogs are never left outside for long periods of time because they are pampered pooches used to dog shows rather than walks in the woods. The breed doesn’t bark, Zogg said, and even if her dogs did make noise, they aren’t outside long enough to bother neighbors.Officer Langford’s report verified Zogg’s claim. She contacted neighbors who weren’t even aware Zogg had dogs. Zogg and her husband live on three acres that are isolated on the upper part of Castle Lane. The neighborhood is about five miles east of Basalt.Zogg dismissed the idea that any competitor in dog shows would have bumped her spaniels off. They are old enough that they no longer compete in top shows.But Davin was a highly accomplished dog. He won awards including a best in show at a 1999 competition in Albuquerque, N.M., and best in breed in the 2001 Eukanuba American Dog Classic. The dog was in a class high enough to compete in the Westminster Dog Show, an invitation-only competition that’s like the Super Bowl of its field.Davin was the dog’s call name. He competed under the formal name of Champion Spree’s Simply Smashing.”It’s just a huge loss in the gene pool,” Zogg said. “This is a breed that’s nearly been extinct twice.”Less than 200 Clumber spaniels are born per year in the United States, compared to 35,000 Labrador retrievers, she noted. Zogg said she and her husband didn’t have insurance on their dogs. “We’re not about that. We’re about preserving the breed,” she said.The sheriff’s report estimated the loss at $10,000 for Whoopie and $25,000 for Davin.There is a mystery woman involved in the story. Zogg said she was contacted by Eagle County Animal Control a few weeks ago after it received a complaint by an anonymous caller. The unknown woman claimed Zogg’s dogs were abused because they were kept in crates inside the house and not allowed to run around outside.Zogg said it’s strange that someone was close enough to her house to see how the dogs lived. Nevertheless, she denied the dogs were abused. Show dogs receive very special and careful treatment, she said. They aren’t allowed to live outside.”You don’t win Westminster if these dogs aren’t cared for,” Zogg said. “We’ve been doing this for 30 years. We travel the world.”Zogg said an animal control officer found no sign of abuse. That couldn’t be confirmed with the department Thursday. A report by the sheriff’s department didn’t mention any animal cruelty findings.Eagle County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Kim Andre asked that anyone who saw suspicious activity around the house at 217 Castle Lane call Eagle County Crimestoppers at 1-800-962-TIPS. Information that leads to an arrest and conviction could be worth up to $1,000. Tipsters can remain anonymous.Andre said charges of cruelty to animals, a felony, and second-degree criminal trespass may apply to the case.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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