Iditarod musher not charged for beating dogs
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2007:
ANCHORAGE–Alaska State Troopers spokesperson Megan Peters on
March 19, 2007 told news media that 2002 and 2003 Iditarod dog sled
race runner-up and 1999 Yukon Quest winner Ramy Brooks, 38, of
Healy, Alaska, would not be investigated or charged with cruelty
for allegedly beating his team about 90 miles from the end of the
Twenty-two miles from the end, one of Brooks’ dogs, named
Kate, died. A necropsy on the three-year-old dog was inconclusive,
race marshall Mark Nordman told Associated Press writer Mark Thiessen.
“Brooks admitted to spanking each of his 10 dogs with a trail
marker after two refused to get up and continue running outside the
checkpoint of Golovin on the Bering Sea coast,” reported Associated
Press writer Jeannette J. Lee.
But Golovin primary grades teacher Maude Paniptchuk, 28,
told George Bryson of the Anchorage Daily News that Brooks “kicked
the dogs and hit them with his fist and a ski pole.” Two
eight-year-olds and woodcutter David Amuktoolik Jr. were also
witnesses, Paniptchuk said. Paniptchuk said the dogs, who had
already run more than 1,000 miles, appeared to be exhausted.
Golovin resident Sherri Lewis reported the beating to
Iditorod officials after her daughter told her about it.
Sponsored by Cellular One, Brooks was disqualified from
entering the 2008 Iditarod.
Kate was the third dog to die in the 2007 Iditarod. Canadian
musher Karen Ramstead dropped out of the race after her dog Snickers,
six and a half, died on March 12 of an acute hemorrhage due to a
gastric ulcer. Thong, 3, running for Matt Hayashida of Willow,
Alaska, died from acute pneumonia.
More than 1,000 dogs participated, running for 82 teams.
Three dogs died in the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest, as well,
which had not had a dog fatality since 2002. The Iditarod had four
dog deaths as recently as 2005.
Lance Mackey, 36, a three-time Yukon Quest winner, this
year became the first musher to win both the Yukon Quest and the
Iditarod in the same year.