Two dogs die during Iditarod, prompting PETA to call for race to end

Two dogs die during Iditarod, prompting PETA to call for race to end

Tooba Shakir 54 years ago 0 0

Two dogs died over the weekend in the Iditarod, the first canine casualties in the grueling 1,000-mile sled dog race in five years, prompting PETA to call for an end to the endurance race that has traversed the Alaskan wilderness for 52 years.

Bog, a 2-year-old male on musher Issac Teaford’s team, collapsed Sunday morning roughly 200 feet from the checkpoint in the village of Nulato and died despite efforts by a veterinarian to revive him, race officials said. George, a 4-year-old male on the team of Hunter Keefe, died despite resuscitation efforts after collapsing about 35 miles from the village of Kaltag, which is 629 miles into the race.

A necropsy did not determine Bog’s cause of death, and further testing will be done. A necropsy will also be performed on George.

The deaths were the first in the race, which began March 2 in Anchorage, since Oshi, a 5-year-old female on Richie Beattie’s team, died two days after crossing the finish line in 2019. Signs of pneumonia were found in the dog during a post-race checkup and she had been taken for treatment to Anchorage, later dying.

Both Teaford, an Iditarod rookie from Salt Lake City, and Keefe, who is from Knik, Alaska, and finished 11th in his first attempt at the race last year, voluntarily withdrew from the race. Race rules stipulate that mushers “shall scratch or be disqualified from the race” if a dog dies on the trail for anything other than “an unpreventable hazard.” That determination is made by the race marshal and the marshal’s judges.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which has claimed that more than 150 dogs have died in the Iditarod, renewed its call for an end to the race and officials have not provided a figure on dog deaths over the years.

“Only in the Iditarod can people force dogs to run to their deaths and be caught on video trying to force a collapsed dog to stand and carry on — reprehensible actions that PETA points out would bring cruelty-to-animals charges anywhere else in the country,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement to The Post. “The mushers, Liberty Media — a top Iditarod sponsor — and anyone else enabling this shameful death race to continue all have Bog’s and George’s blood on their hands.”

Iditarod musher penalized after ‘not sufficiently’ gutting moose

Last week, PETA called for musher Dallas Seavey, the five-time winner, to be removed from this year’s race after his dog Faloo was injured in an encounter with a moose shortly after the race started, saying that he had delayed caring for the dog. Seavey received a two-hour time penalty for not properly gutting the moose after he shot it.

Iditarod rules call for dog deaths to be “treated as a priority, with every effort being made to determine the cause of death in a thorough and reliable manner.” A necropsy is to be conducted “at the earliest opportunity” by a board certified veterinary pathologist and, if the race marshal determines that is not possible within the time frame necessary to preserve tissue, “the gross necropsy and tissue collection will be performed by a trail veterinarian” to be examined later by a board certified pathologist. All dog deaths are to be reviewed within 30 days of the end of the race by a panel of three independent investigators, the race marshal, chief veterinarian and any other experts called by the panel.

Deaths that will cause disqualification are, according to the rules: “musher neglect, cruel, inhumane and/or abusive treatment, heat stress, hyperthermia or hypothermia” or if the musher previously had been warned in writing by a veterinarian or judge to “drop the dog at a previous checkpoint, but opted not to do so, unless the cause of death is clearly unrelated to this written recommendation.”

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