Necropsy shows Iditarod dog died of neck injury

Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2002

NOME, Alaska (AP) -- The dog that died this week in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race suffered a spinal injury in its neck when it got tangled up in the gangline, according to race officials.

Race Marshal Mark Nordman said that's the preliminary finding from a necropsy on the 5-year-old male named Goro. The dog belonged to musher Jim Oehlschlaeger of Cincinnati, Ohio.

It's the only dog death so far in this year's race.

The dog died Sunday night as Oehlschlaeger and his team were approaching Ruby about 500 miles from Nome.

Oehlschlaeger had missed a turn on the trail and was turning his team around. Nordman said Goro got ahead of a pair of dogs in front of him and got tangled up when the team was being straightened out.

Nordman said he has found nothing to prohibit Oehlschlaeger from continuing to Nome. Mushers are thrown out if there are signs of cruel, inhumane or abusive treatment to the dogs.

Critics say mushers push the dogs too hard, while race supporters say the death rates are much lower for the canine athletes than for the pet population as a whole.

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