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Alaska musher banned from Iditarod sled race next year

November 29, 2018

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Officials have banned a longtime musher from competing in Alaska’s Iditarod sled dog race next year, citing concerns about his care of dogs.

Officials announced Wednesday that the race’s Qualifying Review Board has denied musher Hugh Neff’s application to compete in the 1,000-mile (1,610 kilometer) Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, the Anchorage Daily News reported .

“Musher Hugh Neff’s entry application to compete in the 2019 race has been denied by the QRB due to concerns over his lack of dog care during the 2018 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race,” the Iditarod Trail Committee said. “The Iditarod Trail Committee believes that the highest level of dog care must be achieved not only in its event but throughout the year.”

The newspaper couldn’t reach Neff for comment Wednesday.

Yukon Quest officials banned the two-time champion from competing in the 2019 race after his dog Boppy died this year near the race’s halfway point between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, Yukon.

A necropsy found the dog died from aspiration pneumonia caused by inhaling vomited stomach contents. Race veterinarians said the dog also had other health problems believed to be preventable, including stomach ulcers, a whipworm infestation and severe weight loss. The examination suggested that the dog was not given proper deworming medication or medicine to prevent stomach ulcers.

Neff appealed the Yukon Quest ban, but a third-party review board upheld it.

Neff has competed in 14 Iditarod races and 18 Yukon Quests.

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Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com

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