NOME (AP) -- Each of the three sled dogs was shot three times with a rifle at point-blank range. There's no apparent motive and no suspects at this point. So nervous mushers have taken to sleeping in their dog lots.
Nome police are investigating the bizarre killings at two local dog lots that have sparked outrage in this western Alaska community, the finishing point of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
''This is so terrible,'' Councilwoman LaVerne Smith told the Nome Nugget. ''Only a coward does something like this and it takes a pretty sick person to act this way.''
The dogs were shot between 9 p.m. Nov. 3 and the following afternoon.
Susan Buchanan owns one of the targeted lots. Her husband, Bill, found Buchanan's 5-year-old husky, Biscuit, dead when he was feeding the animals. Buchanan said Biscuit had been tied up and apparently was standing inside its dog house or just outside when it was shot, judging by the bullet hole found in the floor of the structure.
''We live in Nome because we thought it was a safe place to live,'' Buchanan said. ''And now we are wondering just what kind of person would do such a thing?''
Said her husband of Biscuit: ''He was a hard worker, loving and very friendly.''
Diana Adams, who owned the other two slain dogs, said she was too upset to comment.
Members of the Nome Kennel Club are offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter or shooters. They said many mushers are so worried that they're spending each night in their lots with the dogs.
''I can't believe this has happened,'' club president Conner Thomas said. ''It is just incredible to me and there is absolutely no justification for such behavior.''
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