Two mushers have been cleared of any misconduct after the death of two dogs racing on separate teams during this weekend’s Tustumena 200 Sled Dog race, an official said Tuesday morning.
Fox, a 2-year-old female on Kasilof musher Paul Gebhardt’s team died while nearing the finish of the race. According to race officials, Gebhardt attempted life-saving measures but could not revive the dog. Jack, a 3-year-old male on Girdwood musher Nicolas Petit’s team died between the race’s Homer and Freddie’s Roadhouse checkpoints.
Tami Murray, T200 president and race director, said necropsies on the two dogs have been performed and both Petit and Gebhardt have been cleared of any misconduct or abuse related to the dogs’ deaths. Murray said she wanted the race’s veterinarian to speak to the results of the necropsies, but did say both dogs were healthy prior to the event.
Murray said all those involved with the T200 were saddened by the loss. She added that it was rare to have two dog deaths in a mid-distance race like the T200.
“We were all really shocked about it and we’ve never had it happen,” she said. “Dogs have passed that have been in our race after the race, but not during.”
Clarion calls to the race’s veterinarian were not immediately returned.
Gebhardt finished the race in fourth place. Petit scratched.