The FCI San Marino dog show in Italy held on the weekend of May 28-29, 2011 had some canine casualties. The actual figures of number of deaths or hospitalized dogs are still sketchy, presently 2 dogs have died with several being treated. A thread in “Horse and Hound Forum” mentions that what was used was Strychnine, no suspects at this time based on my internet research. Apparently some dogs have already been victims of this same show site. The strychnine was allegedly sprayed on the show grounds, the dogs would walk on the grounds laced with the Strychnine, the paws would be coated with the strychnine, when the dogs would lick their paws, they would then ingest the Strychnine. A lot of pampered show dogs would have moist paws which would make the Strychnine adhere much more. Strychnine is basically a pesticide. It has been in use for sometime already, in fact my favorite Veterinarian/Author James Herriot has a story about Strychnine. In his story “Strychnine” the culprit was never apprehended. I think the issue on this matter is that San Marino knew that the grounds were laced with Strychnine, they even made an effort by placing signs in the area to warn people. I do agree with almost everyone that they should have just transferred the venue. I believe in the saying “It is better to err on the safe side”. FCI has gotten involve by coming up with their own investigation. I’m sure with the backing of FCI, even the culprit can be identified. Strychnine I believe is regulated therefore a purchase can be traced.

My take on this is that a gathering like a dog show should have some form of security measures, not for just our canine friends but everyone. With a distraught economy and people frowning at the lifestyle of excesses, dog ownership, dogs in particular can be a target by those who have been affected by this economic down turn. In this case of the San Marino Dog Show, they already had red flags waiving at them, they should’ve erred on the safe side by transferring venues. CCTVs should be in place in a show ground, roving security guards or club marshals who may have a higher degree of suspicion when it comes to canine foul play or ownership neglect can be deployed. The biggest issue is if an attack intended for our canine friends should affect us humans, God forbid! Times have changed through the years and we can’t predict the thoughts of a sick mind. What use to be a very friendly and social event is now at risk. Be careful!