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   Troopers investigate dogs missing from Manley
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Troopers investigate dogs missing from Manley
( Datum: April 21st, 2005 um 11:32:54am)
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FAIRBANKS (AP) - Eighteen dogs belonging to a Manley Hot Springs recreational musher have disappeared and Alaska State Troopers suspect they may have been shot.

The dogs belonging to Chuck Parker disappeared March 8 from the community of 75 at the end of the Elliott Highway 160 miles northwest of Fairbanks. Parker reported them gone two days later to state troopers.

Troopers found no dog carcasses but found blood splattered on dog houses and on the snow, indicating the animals may have been shot.

Several witnesses heard shots from the direction of Parker's dog lot the morning the animals disappeared.

"There's something fishy about the whole situation and we haven't figured it out yet," said trooper Sgt. Robert Miller of Fairbanks. "We don't know where the dogs went."

Parker declined to speak to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

"Until troopers get done with their investigation, I think it's in everybody's best interests out here for me not to comment," Parker said.

The incident has been the talk of the town.

"Every conversation with everybody we run into is centered on this," said longtime resident Rick Gray. He has his wife, Elaine, are two of several mushers who live in Manley.

"For somebody to go into a guy's yard and execute his dogs while he's at work, that's abominable.

"If I came home and found somebody in my yard executing my dogs, I'd be in jail."

Joee Redington Jr. is the community's most recognized mushing name and president of the Interior Dog Mushers Association in Manley. He said he has fielded phone calls from mushers in Anchorage, Fairbanks and several Bush villages wondering what's happening.

"I've never heard of such a thing as long as I've been around dogs," said Redington, who has lived in Manley for more than 30 years.

"If somebody can just get mad and come over to your yard and get rid of your dogs, I don't think that sets a good example for anybody, whether you've got chickens, dogs or cows," he said.

Residents have a good idea who is responsible but neither Gray nor Redington would provide a name, preferring to leave it to troopers.

"You know how it is in these small towns," Redington said. "People don't want to say."

Redington and Gray said Parker was planning to move his dogs because a neighbor had complained about barking. Gray visited Parker on the day the dogs disappeared and described him as "dazed and confused."

"He doesn't have a wife or any kids. Those were the things in life that depend on him," Gray said of Parker's dogs. "He enjoyed coming home to them because that's all he had."

The unresolved status of the case has created tension in the end-of-the-road community best known for its hot springs.

"I've had people mention to me they locked their door for the first time in 20 years because of this," Gray said. "That bothers me."

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