Yukon Quest upholds censure of Hugh Neff over dog death

Hugh Neff (File Photo by Patrick Yack/Alaska Public Media)

The Yukon Quest is upholding the censure of two-time past champion Hugh Neff, related to the death of one of his dogs in the 2018 race.

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In a written statement, the Yukon Quest says a panel consisting of a musher, a veterinarian, and a community member considered evidence presented by Neff and race officials during two days of hearings earlier this month. It says the panel concluded Neff did not provide “clear and convincing evidence” to overturn a censure, which bans him from the 1,000-mile sled dog race for two years.

Neff’s dog Boppy died of aspiration pneumonia at a remote cabin before the Quest’s halfway point in February. Neff later scratched from the race.

A necropsy found that the dog was in poor health: suffering from stomach ulcers, intestinal inflammation, worms, skeletal muscle necrosis, severe weight loss and muscle wasting.

Neff, who could not be reached for comment today, has characterized the censure as a personal attack.

The censure bans him from entering the Yukon Quest in 2019, and requires him to complete the shorter Quest 300 before entering the 1,000-mile race in the future.

Neff, who has based out of Tok in recent years, won the Quest in 2012 and 2016.