Outcry has greeted news that Crufts show dog Jagger was assassinated at the prestige event, raising the question: what drove the Crufts poisoner to kill?
The Mirror newspaper ran the story on its front page with the headline: 'Murder.' Meanwhile, Jagger's co-owner Jeremy Bott has spoken of losing a "family member" and "best friend."
Legally speaking, it is not possible for animals to be murdered - it is a privilege available only to human beings. But the choice of language - along with the obvious strength of feeling voiced by Bott - is a reminder of just how special 'man's best friend' is to millions of Britons.
So why did beloved Jagger - also known as Thendara Satisfaction - have to die at Crufts?
What could have driven someone to do for the flame-haired pooch by lacing chunks with beef with up to three poisons?
In one of the biggest scandals to have hit the world famous Crufts dog show in its century-long history, the 'murder-mystery' theories currently doing the rounds on planet dog, include:
1: Victim of 'psychopathic' dog hating 'sadist:'
The possibility Jagger was victim of a random attack by somebody with a grudge against pooches has not been ruled out.
Speaking to Dog World magazine, bereft Milligan-Bott posited the particularly dark theory, claiming the UK is an "anti-dog society."
'We think this is the work of some random psychopathic dog hater who decided to visit Crufts with one thing in mind, rather than any sort of targeted attack.'
"Some sadistic person out there poisoned our dog. Crufts is a high-profile event and we live in a very anti-dog society."
2: 'Jealous' rival at Crufts:
To the untrained eye, the Irish Setters at Crufts looked identical, as though they had just stepped off the same selective breeding production line.
But to the experts, every detail is heightened and the high-pitch of competition may have pushed one bitter rival to take the ultimate step: to kill Jagger in pursuit of glory.
Dog trainer Alexandra Lauwers raised the disturbing possibility. A veteran of dog shows, she had an interest in Jagger, too.
"To think he may have been poisoned by a rival at a dog show just makes it even harder to take," she told the Daily Mail.
"How people can resort to killing a helpless animal from jealousy or hate for a dog in a competition is too much to comprehend.
"I know people take it seriously but If you want to target me, smash my windows or something – don't go and kill my pet dog."
This theory has been downplayed by Jagger's co-owner Milligan-Bott, who said she personally did not think a fellow breeder killed Jagger.
3: Jagger victim of a racist attack:
Incredibly, some dog breeders and owners hate dogs for being 'foreign.' As if there was not already sufficient ill-feeling among people, this antipathy has extended to the animal kingdom too.
Lauwers said Jagger's killer may hate 'foreign' dogs and be driven by a fierce form of dog-racism.
"He could have been targeted for being a foreign dog, there's a lot of ill feeling from some camps towards them for some reason," she said.
4: Jagger the victim of mistaken identity:
According to one of the doomed Irish Setter's co-owner's, Jagger was not the intended target of the Crufts poisoner.
Milligan-Bott believes the intended target was another almost-identical Setter called Thendara Pot Noodle - the eventual winner in the Best of Breed category.
The Daily Mail reported Jagger and Pot Noodle swapped spots behind the scenes, near to the show ring. He was on his own for up to 15 minutes in the waiting area - time enough for the poisoner to do their work.
Theories about why Jagger was killed are as plentiful as answers are absent.
All we know now is that the Irish Setter came to Birmingham as a prize-winning pooch, only to die in agony at home in Belguim, soon after the event.
Despite reports, no investigation by West Midlands Police or the RSCPA had been launched at the time this article was published.
A RSPCA spokesman said an investigation in to Jagger's death may be mounted by the animal welfare charity. "Whilst the RSPCA was not involved with this particular incident, the deliberate poisoning of a domestic animal is illegal and deeply distressing.