- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 27, 2018

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - A ban has been upheld preventing a two-time champion musher from competing in an international sled dog race next year.

Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race officials finalized the decision Tuesday to censure Hugh Neff from running in the 2019 race, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported .

Officials banned Neff in April because of dog care issues revealed by the necropsy of his dog Boppy, who died this year near the halfway point of the 1,000-mile (1609-kilometer) race between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, Yukon.

The dog died of aspiration pneumonia caused by inhaling vomited stomach contents, but the dog also had other health problems. The necropsy report concluded that a musher should have been able to take care of the dog’s conditions.

Neff had appealed the ban to a third-party review board consisting of a musher, a veterinarian and a community board member. The board met in hearings earlier this month, deciding to uphold the ban.



“After two days of confidential testimony, the review board concluded that Hugh Neff did not provide clear and convincing evidence to overturn the censure,” officials said in a statement Tuesday. “The review board voted unanimously to uphold the Yukon Quest censure.”

In an interview with the newspaper last month, Neff described the ban as a “vendetta” against him, claiming some in the race organization had objected to his “brashness” and “unique persona.”

While Neff will also be banned next year from competing in the YQ 300 - the 300-mile (483-kilometer) race operated by the same organization, he will required to run the shorter race before returning to the full race in the future.

Neff and his team won the 1,000-mile race in 2012 and 2016.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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