Monday, March 19, 2007

Booted from Iditarod

I'm glad witnesses reported this incident and that officials took action:

Two-time runner-up Ramy Brooks, 38, was disqualified from this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race for abusing his dogs, race officials said. Brooks hit each of his 10 dogs with a trail marking lathe, similar to a surveyor’s stake, after two refused to get up and continue running on an ice field, race marshal Mark Nordman told The Associated Press.

“He felt it was a discipline he needed to get his team off the ice,” Nordman said. Witnesses reported the incident to race officials. It happened Tuesday near Golovin, about 90 miles from the end of the 1,100-mile race.

One of Brooks’ dogs died the next day on the trail, betweenWhite Mountain and Safety, the last checkpoint before Nome. Nordman said based on inconclusive necropsy results on Kate, a 3-year-old female, he has no reason to believe two incidents were related. Further tests were being conducted.

An animal rights group called the incident “out right, blatant abuse.” “When is enough going to be enough with this event?" said Lisa Wathne, a spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. "There is no way to do this humanely.”

Nordman said all allegations of dog abuse are investigated thoroughly.

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