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Iditarod musher accused of trying to dispose of dogs

Posted: Sunday, March 26, 2000

PALMER (AP) -- Musher Lynda Plettner is being anonymously accused of trying to dispose of some of her sled dogs at the local animal shelter, but her husband says the charges are an effort to smear her reputation.

Plettner, an eight-time Iditarod racer, and husband Dan Govoni operate a Houston-area kennel, where they train dogs and offer dog sled rides to tourists. Govoni said the couple doesn't know why anyone would target them.

''Someone is out to slander us big time,'' Govoni said.

Several media outlets received anonymous calls Friday that Plettner had taken several dogs from her Iditarod team to the Mat-Su Borough Animal Control Shelter to be euthanized.

The caller alleged Plettner then took the dogs back at the behest of Iditarod officials concerned about bad publicity.

The couple did take the dogs back but did so on their own, Govoni said.

Plettner took 10 dogs to the shelter Thursday, Govoni said, as a last resort because the couple could not find other homes for them. Three were ''fighters'' and the rest were at least 10 years old, he said.

Only one, a 7-year-old female, had raced in the Iditarod, Govoni said. That dog was in Plettner's team this year, he said.

The dogs came from people who couldn't care for or didn't want them, he said.

The couple tried to see if the animals could become sled dogs. They also tried to find homes. In some cases, they tried several times to place the animals, only to have them returned, he said.

''It's the only option we had,'' he said of taking the dogs to the pound. ''We had exhausted our resources to place them.''

The couple keep about 100 dogs on their property, he said, including about 30 problem dogs they take from others in an effort to give them a second chance. These are dogs other people might put down, he said.



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