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Iditarod claims fourth dog as 1,000-mile race winds to a close

March 20, 2009 |  2:58 pm

Kazen, one of Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race musher Warren Palfrey's sled dogs, rest in its pen before the ceremonial start of the race on March 7. A different member of Palfrey's team perished Thursday on the trail.

**UPDATE: An 8-year-old dog in the team run by Rick Larson died Friday, increasing to five the number of dogs to have died in this year's Iditarod.

As the 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race winds to a close, the death toll among dogs has reached four. The latest casualty in the grueling competition was a 5-year-old male dog named Maynard.

He was part of a team guided by Canadian musher Warren Palfrey. The dog died Thursday about an hour from of the finish line at Nome, Alaska.

Animal rights advocates have been highly critical of a race that they say is tantamount to canine torture.

About 30 mushers remain on the trail of a race won Wednesday by Fairbanks musher Lance Mackey. It was Mackey's third consecutive event title, and afterward he retired his lead dog, Larry.

--Pete Thomas

Photo: Kazen, one of Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race musher Warren Palfrey's sled dogs, rest in its pen before the ceremonial start of the race on March 7. A different member of Palfrey's team perished Thursday on the trail. Credit: Al Grillo/Associated Press

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