Musher charged with neglecting dogs

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A West Yellowstone man has been charged with animal cruelty for allegedly abandoning 33 sled dogs earlier this month near Targhee Pass, west of West Yellowstone.

John T. Hessert was charged with one count of felony aggravated animal cruelty and 33 counts of animal cruelty. He is expected to enter a plea at a later date.

Court records say a man called animal control on January 30th to report that 33 sled dogs weren’t being cared for near West Yellowstone.

The man said he had not seen the owner of the dogs for several days, and that the dogs were emaciated, in poor condition and had no food, water or shelter.

A veterinarian found they were “well below normal health,” and had not been fed enough. Court records say 1 of the dogs had a collar embedded in its neck and other dogs had frostbite.

According to news reports, Hessert was involuntarily withdrawn from last year’s Yukon Quest. The race marshal cited a lack of preparation because Hessert didn’t have a handler. Hessert finished the 2005 Iditarod.

Source: AP

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