Vladimir Putin’s faithful Rottweiler Nikita has triumphed at Crufts amid suspicious circumstances.
Irish setter Benji was expected to sail to victory at the weekend, but pulled out at short notice after shitting the carpet.
The glossy-coated six year-old was later found dead by its owner, Simon Williams, next to a suspicious looking tin of Cesar dog food.
Williams immediately raised the alarm after Benji’s favourite squeezy toy was found to glow in the dark.
Suspecting foul play, experts ran a series of tests on the food, which turned out to be polonium and rabbit flavour, with a radioactive half-life of just over three hundred years.
The Russian leader branded the hound’s demise as ‘despicable’ and has called for a full impartial investigation, which he will personally take charge of.
Benji was known to be an outspoken critic of Putin’s regime and barked all night when Russian tanks rolled into Crimea.
Putin has previous form when it comes to dog competitions and was criticised last year for cutting off an essential Omega 3 oil pipeline to Ukraine.
His dog Nikita will collect the award tomorrow and is described as a ‘lively bitch from Irkutsk with a good set of teeth on her’.