Musher located

Posted: Tuesday, June 15, 2004

A musher feared missing after his 15 dogs were found hungry at his home in Funny River has been found, Alaska State Troopers said Monday.

Longtime musher Sigmund Stormo is out at a remote job site in Kodiak, Trooper Brad Nelson said.

"He's been there for a little bit,'' Nelson said. "There was supposed to be a caretaker at the pace, but they dropped the ball."

Late last month, neighbors called troopers because they could hear the dogs howling.

When troopers arrived at the scene, they found evidence that suggested marijuana was being grown in the house. That information was turned over to the Alaska Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Enforcement.

Last Wednesday, a search warrant was issued and troopers returned to the Stormo residence and seized 50 marijuana plants. They also fed the dogs.

On Friday, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Anchorage picked up the dogs, which were being fed, cleaned up and given medical treatment.

Toni Diedrich, ASPCA spokesperson, said it appeared the animals may have gone without food for as many as 10 days.

Nelson said he had talked to Stormo's employer, who was going to get him from the job site. The employer told Nelson that Stormo loved the dogs and someone was supposed to be taking care of them.

"He has the possibility of getting the dogs back," Nelson said. But he added Stormo will be liable for the ASPCA's costs for caring for the animals.

Stormo also could face charges resulting from the marijuana plants found and possible animal cruelty charges, he said.

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