Poisoned spy Sergei Skripal’s cat and two guinea pigs die after being sealed in home by police

Moscow had raised concerns over animals' welfare earlier this week

Lydia Smith
Friday 06 April 2018 09:29
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Recording of alleged phone call between Skripal daughter and her cousin broadcast on Russian state TV

A cat and two guinea pigs which belonged to the poisoned former double agent Sergei Skripal are dead after the home was sealed off for investigations.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the cat was found alive but in a distressed state at the house in Salisbury and a decision was taken to euthanise the animal.

“The property in Wiltshire was sealed as part of the police investigation,” a government spokesperson said.

“When a vet was able to access the property, two guinea pigs had sadly died.

“A cat was also found in a distressed state and a decision was taken by a veterinary surgeon to euthanise the animal to alleviate its suffering.

“This decision was taken in the best interests of the animal and its welfare.”

Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury on 4 March after being poisoned with a nerve agent.

Scotland Yard said the pair first came into contact with the chemical at Mr Skripal’s home after forensic testing showed the highest concentration of the substance was found on the front door.

The house was a focus of police activity in the aftermath of the attack and was sealed off as investigators combed the property for clues.

Concerns over the welfare of Mr Skripal’s pets were raised this week by Moscow.

“Where are the animals, what state are they in? Why has the British side... not mentioned this fact? We are talking about living organisms, and if toxic agents were used then living organisms must have suffered,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the nerve agent attack, although Britain said the poisoning was carried out with a military-grade nerve agent called Novichok, which was developed by the Soviet Union.

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