Dog’s Shocking Necropsy Prompts Call for Cruelty Investigation

PETA Calls On Alaskan and Yukon Authorities to Investigate Musher Hugh Neff After Dog Dies of Pneumonia Caused by Inhaling His Own Vomit

For Immediate Release:
April 25, 2018

David Perle 202-483-7382

Yukon Territory

In light of a damning necropsy of Boppy—a dog who was owned by Iditarod veteran Hugh Neff and who died while racing in the Yukon Quest this year—PETA sent letters today calling on Alaskan and Yukon authorities to launch a criminal investigation into his death and conduct an assessment of all surviving animals in Neff’s custody.

“This dog was allegedly wasting away, suffering from parasites and stomach ulcers, when he inhaled his own vomit and died of pneumonia,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “Hugh Neff appears to have run this dog to death, and PETA is calling on Alaskan and Yukon authorities to hold him accountable by means of the same cruelty laws that protect the dogs who live in our homes.”

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way.” For more information, please visit I can be reached at 202-483-7382, extension 2194, or [email protected] if you have any questions.

PETA’s letter to Pauline Frost, Yukon Minister of Environment, and Walt Monegan, Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Public Safety, follows.


April 25, 2018

To:         The Honorable Pauline Frost, Yukon Minister of Environment

Commissioner Walt Monegan, State of Alaska Department of Public Safety

From:    Kent Stein, Senior Cruelty Caseworker, PETA

Re:         Yukon Quest dog death

Greetings from PETA. We understand that Yukon Quest musher Hugh Neff dropped out of February’s race after one of his dogs, named Boppy, died on the trail outside Dawson City. In an April 24 media release of the animal’s necropsy—performed by Yukon Quest Head Veterinarian Dr. Cristina Hansen, D.V.M., Ph.D.—it’s stated that “Boppy died of aspiration pneumonia caused by inhaling vomited stomach contents” and that “[o]ther findings include mild stomach ulcers, moderate intestinal inflammation, mild whipworm infestation, skeletal muscle necrosis, and severe weight loss and muscle wasting.”

Although Neff has reportedly been professionally sanctioned in light of these findings, we respectfully request that a criminal investigation be launched with consideration given to the filing of cruelty-to-animals charges if appropriate, per Yukon’s Animal Protection Act and Alaska § 11.61.140. Exemptions for “generally accepted dog mushing” would not apply, of course, to deprivation of necessary sustenance or veterinary care. We ask also that a warrant be pursued to assess the welfare of all animals in Neff’s custody, including those at his kennel in Tok, Alaska.

Thank you for your consideration. May we hear from you soon?


Kent Stein

Senior Cruelty Caseworker

Emergency Response Team

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