UPDATE: Mat-Su Borough Case #A17-002010 Files

For those of you claiming that the photos submitted to PETA of Dallas Seavey’s Willow (barrel photos) and Talkeetna (red house photos) kennel locations were somehow “staged” by the handler, you are wrong. The following photos are directly from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Animal Control Investigation (Case #A17-002010). These photos were taken by animal control after the Seaveys were given prior notice of their intent to inspect. They show the same exact conditions. If this is how a world-class kennel looks, our sport is in serious trouble. Please sign here and here to help sled dogs get protection under Alaska’s animal cruelty statutes. Conditions like these exist because sled dogs are currently EXEMPT from anti-cruelty legislation in the State of Alaska.

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Sled Dogs Aren’t Worth Protecting

Four of Iditarod Champion Dallas Seavey’s dogs received a drug test and failed at the end of last year’s Iditarod. Since this came to light nearly a month ago, the young musher has blamed his competitors (http://nyti.ms/2h6llHx), then animal rights activists (http://bit.ly/2hyZiJU), and is now attempting to overthrow the Iditarod Trail Committee (http://bit.ly/2inEncb). If he were anyone other than Dallas Seavey – the Iditarod’s media-savvy golden goose, during a time when the world is waking up to the fact that Iditarod sled dogs are routinely neglected, abused, and killed – his actions would be termed a temper tantrum.

Not only has the State of Alaska and the Iditarod Trail Committee chosen to not investigate Dallas for his alleged possession of a controlled substance (http://bit.ly/2h40PHi) in the midst of Alaska’s opioid epidemic (http://bit.ly/2lGRZnM), but they also now appear to be sweeping sick, dying, injured and neglected sled dogs belonging to the Iditarod’s boy-wonder, under the rug.

All of this – the doping scandal; the 150+ dead dogs that litter the Iditarod race history (five of which died last March); the hundreds of thousands of sled dogs who are victim of mass chain warehousing and factory farming across the State of Alaska, and who are shot or abandoned when they are no longer of use – is possible because sled dogs are specifically exempt from Alaska’s Animal Cruelty Statues. 

The 30th Alaska State Legislature (2017-2018) states that:pet” means a vertebrate living creature maintained for companionship or pleasure, but does not include dogs primarily owned for participation in a generally accepted mushing or pulling contest or practice or animals primarily owned for participation in rodeos or stock contests. (http://bit.ly/2zcCHMT

In fact, per Sec. 11.61.140 Cruelty to Animals, Subsection (e) states: “This section does not apply to generally accepted dog mushing or pulling contests or practices or rodeos or stock contests.” (http://bit.ly/2zqZVj9)

In the Mat-Su Borough, they go one step further to degrade sled dog welfare by classifying the dogs as livestock: “Livestock” includes, but is not limited to, domestic animals such as horses, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, ducks, and other animals normally considered farm animals, whether kept for profit or not, as well as sled dogs housed at a licensed mushing facility, or sled dogs owned by the owner or licensee of a licensed mushing facility, whether kept for profit or not.”  (http://bit.ly/2inwCD0)

The Borough also exempts sled dogs from nuisance animal noise ordinances: “A) It is unlawful for any animal owner to allow an animal to annoy any person. Violation of this provision is an infraction. (B) A person who holds a current mushing facility license as per MSB 24.07, as well as persons who are handlers for, employees of, or agents of a specific licensed mushing facility, are exempt from subsection (A) of this section in regard to sled dogs housed at or originating from that mushing facility. (http://bit.ly/2inwCD0)

Noise ordinances are put in place not only to keep peace with the neighbors, but because a chronically loud animal is usually an animal in distress, and this law gives Peace Officers, Animal Control Officers, and Police the right to investigate when they can hear the problem, but the animal is hidden from view.

A KTUU report states that “Officer Nick Uphus closed the investigation after finding no evidence of any violation–no evidence of failure to provide humane animal care and no evidence of cruelty to animals.” (http://bit.ly/2z7ABxS)

While Iditarod fanatics – many of which appear to suffer from some form of histrionic or narcissistic personality disorder – are rejoicing and hashtagging #IStandWithDallas all over social media like a bunch of giddy high school girls, and Dallas himself is desperately trying to get #DogsMatter to trend, KTUU made it very clear – Officer Uphus found no evidence of violation. This is because sled dogs are exempted from everything he had the power to investigate. 

That is the problem, and the root of industrial mushing, and sled dog welfare issues in Alaska. Legally, sled dogs don’t matter. Officer Uphus didn’t state that he found no dead dogs; no chained dogs; no injured dogs; no sick dogs; no neurotic dogs. He simply stated that he found no violations. That’s because it is impossible to be in violation when you are excluded. 

The case is far from closed, and the Borough’s response was even anticipated – as six sick puppies reportedly disappeared from the Seavey compound between the time when Animal Control first visited, and when State Police later arrived. Personally, I’d like to thank Nick Uphus – he did what was easy, and not what was right. However, he proved the point which I’ve been preaching for twenty years. He provided proof of the detachment of the mushing community from that of the animal welfare and regulatory processes in the State of Alaska, without a doubt. 

Thank you, Nick. Through your inability to act, we will invoke legal change to help these dogs. You’ve done more for the cause and furtherment of humane mushing than you know. 

Sign here and tell the Governor of Alaska to remove the clause exempting competition sled dogs from its animal cruelty laws: http://greatergood.me/2inr8by

Sign here to ask the Alaska Opiod Policy Task Force to fully investigate and hold Dallas criminally liable for any involvement with opiod drugs used on his Iditarod dogs: https://www.thepetitionsite.com/522/583/781/demand-legal-charges-against-dallas-seavey-for-giving-opioid-drugs-to-his-iditarod-sled-dogs/

Sign here to ask the Alaska State Senate to give sled dogs protection under the state’s animal cruelty statutes: https://www.change.org/p/anti-cruelty-protections-for-sled-dogs

Visit us at Humane Mushing and let sponsors know that you aren’t going to put up with dog neglect, abuse, and death in the name of sport any longer: http://www.humanemushing.com/action-alerts

This Iditarod Dynasty Needs to End

 

UPDATED CASE PHOTOS TAKEN BY MAT-SU ANIMAL CARE AND CONTROL: https://humanemushing.wordpress.com/2017/11/16/update-mat-su-borough-case-a17-002010-files/

UPDATED NEWS STORY REGARDING MAT-SU ANIMAL CARE & CONTROL’S CLOSED CASE: https://humanemushing.wordpress.com/2017/11/02/sled-dogs-arent-worth-protecting/

READ OUR NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE REGARDING COVERUP AT MAT-SU: https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/11/02/us/ap-us-iditarod-dogs-investigation.html

STATE POLICE CASE REMAINS OPEN.

ORIGINAL STORY BELOW:

If it weren’t for the sheer terror recorded in Dallas Seavey’s knee-jerk YouTube video on the day he was revealed to be the notorious Musher-X, we honestly would have thought that he was taking one for the team, and this was the Iditarod’s way of playing the victim in the wake of the humane mushing movement and productions of the Sled Dogs documentary. However, anyone watching his video can clearly see that he is a scared child who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

Both Mitch and Danny Seavey (father and brother, respectively) attempted to shield Dallas and point the news away from him, making false claims in the process (source). Now mushers are coming out in scores on Facebook, claiming that they don’t believe that Dallas was administering pain-killing medication to his dogs in order to break Iditarod speed records. The distance which once took twenty days to cover now sees the Seavey family ticking off speed records at eight or nine days, quickly approaching a 7-day Iditarod.

Good genetics can only make a dog so fast. Mass production also helps, as the Seavey family boasts dog lots in Sterling, Seward, Willow, and Talkeetna. It’s easy to hand-pick the very best athletes when you factory farm litter upon litter of sled dogs for years on end.

Mushers and the Iditarod Trail Committee are grasping at any straw they can to attempt to save face and protect their golden goose family, the Seaveys. Most mushers are coming out in support to cover their dirty tracks. However, some mushers are deciding that enough is enough (https://craigmedred.news/2017/10/25/iditarod-deaths/) and are speaking up for the dogs and the truth. That being said, if you’re up for some more truth, check what’s been happening over the last week while Dallas was overseas:


People periodically reach out to me with eyewitness accounts of sled dog abuse and neglect, because I run Humane Mushing. I’ve had right around ten such correspondences with varying degrees of specificity since the Dallas Seavey dog-doping scandal broke on the October 23rd 2017. And then, on Wednesday, October 25th 2017, a current handler at Dallas Seavey’s kennel reached out to me. What this handler had to share was nothing I didn’t expect, but still none the less horrifying and upsetting. This is when I reached out People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, to have proper cruelty investigation put into play (see their press release here: http://bit.ly/2lyWLnr). The firsthand account you’re about to read, and the photos taken over the past two months at Dallas Seavey’s kennel may disturb you. Viewer discretion is advised.

“There was a litter of 8 that now only one is alive,” the handler wrote. “They did not have any vet care or anything. Mom wasn’t supposed to get pregnant. She is 1 and just didn’t know how to care for the pups. I nursed most of them to try and save them but only was able to keep one of the ones i was nursing alive for almost 5 days, but he had seizures and didn’t make it unfortunately. Now there is one left and the mom is caring for her.”

Below is a grave where a handler buried aforementioned deceased puppies.

Seven were buried in total at the time of these photos. When asked how the puppies died, we were told they died on their own from their illnesses. Accidental litters are reportedly not given the same care as planned litters at the Dallas Seavey kennel.

Friday, October 27th 2017 , at 11:03 AM MT, we received this message: “The other puppy died.”

Distraught and panicked, the handler we had been speaking with searched for the final dead puppy. The kennel manager stated that he would be burying the puppy at the new kennel location in Talkeetna – where six other sick, older puppies were reportedly housed while final kennel operations were being moved from Willow to Talkeetna. When Alaska State Police attempted to find these puppies over the weekend, they were reportedly unable to. After likely being tipped off by one of the local agencies which received our report of cruel and inhumane conditions at Dallas’s kennel, we are unsure as to whether the puppies were relocated to a third party musher’s kennel (as has been rumored) or simply killed.

Puppies aren’t the only ones suffering at the hands of Dallas Seavey and his handlers, however. Dogs who fight are reportedly forced to run together in a barbaric attempt to teach them to behave. “One of them always shuts downs and starts fighting with the other,” the handler said, “and I’ve told them to separate them many times, but they never do. And they fight, resulting in beatings, and then of course one of them doesn’t want to keep running and freaks out.”

These training sessions result in wounds like this, suffered by a dog named Slough, which never received actual veterinary care:

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This is what you get when you support industrial mushing and the Iditarod:

Untreated, injured, sick, and dying dogs of all ages (some with chronic diarrhea and vomiting):

Dilapidated dog houses that are so saturated that mother dogs refuse to go into them and tend to their freezing, dying puppies. One handler made a makeshift bed of straw and put up a tarp while the kennel manager took two weeks to replace this mother’s house, which was saturated and soaked through. This is Ripple, an A-string dog that is featured on Dallas’s website.

Numerous dogs appear to suffer from untreated gum disease and broken, rotting teeth.

With 110 dogs, it’s obvious that care will rapidly decline.

Conditions at the new Talkeetna kennel location don’t appear much better.

With A-team dogs – multiple Iditarod finishers likely worth thousands of dollars -receiving such poor care, it’s horrifying to think what sort of care the “contenders” and “tour dogs” receive. Then there’s dogs like Gott – a 10 or 11 year old, 3-legged, special-needs dog who is brought to the front of the kennel and dressed up for promotional pieces for interviews by productions like Vice Sports (http://bit.ly/2A3iMh4), then put back on his chain in the corner where he struggles to function on a daily basis to even get out of his dog house (https://youtu.be/EOkShV2x4io) and is forced to remain on a chain, which provides limited movement (https://youtu.be/YpovZF8v4VU).

Other dogs are not provided with veterinary care even when they can’t put weight on a swollen leg for three days, like Tigress (https://youtu.be/JlHsa4EMzB0). Dogs are forced to live chained to filthy, dilapidated structures, amid melting pools of their own filth (https://youtu.be/QNnIILMqJTs), which result in bloody, infected feet (https://youtu.be/i9uodabxfFM).

 

 

 

Why it’s Time to End the Iditarod

musherx

DOG-DOPING SCANDALS

After “several” sled dogs competing in the 2017 Iditarod tested positive for “a prohibited substance,” the Iditarod Trail Committee Board of Directors voted Friday to change its rules. The dogs that tested positive were in a “single musher’s team,” the Iditarod said in a statement released Monday. The statement did not name the musher or say what drug the dogs tested positive for. – Anchorage Daily News, October 9th 2017

Several sled dogs on a 2017 Iditarod team tested positive for tramadol, a pain reliever prohibited by the race, the Iditarod Trail Committee said Tuesday. The Iditarod released the information in a brief statement late Tuesday afternoon, several days after race officials last week refused to name the prohibited drug or the musher involved. Race spokesman Chas St. George said last week that “legal concerns” prevented the release of the information. – Anchorage Daily News, October 17th 2017

The Iditarod Official Finishers Club president sent a statement to mushers Wednesday on behalf of the unnamed competitor whose dogs, race officials said, tested positive for tramadol, a prohibited pain reliever, in the 2017 race. The statement does not name the competitor, referring to him or her as “Musher X.” “Musher X was led to believe that the Head Veterinarian and Race Marshall suspected either an accident or possibly foul play in the Nome dog lot or food bags,” the statement said. “They assured Musher X the issue was over, no further action was necessary, and that measures were being taken to increase security of the food drops, checkpoints, and the Nome dog yard.” – Anchorage Daily News, October 19th 2017

Musher X will be allowed to participate in next year’s race and will not face any disciplinary actions.KTUU NBC, October 19th 2017

Three-time and defending Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race champion Mitch Seavey of Sterling appears to have used a prohibited substance on his dogs for years if his 2014 testimonial for a supplement maker and his Facebook posts are to be believed. “For nearly two decades, I’ve used Young Living Wintergreen Oil for after-workout massages on my elite canine athletes,” he posted on his Facebook page on Feb. 13, 2015. “In fact, we used so much Wintergreen we once tried a knock-off product from an online source – until the dogs began losing hair and suffering skin irritations.” Wintergreen contains methyl salicylate, an Iditarod-prohibited chemical. Seavey has not returned phone calls. – Craig Medred News, October 16th 2017

At this time, Mitch Seavey will be allowed to participate in next year’s Iditarod and will not face any disciplinary actions, as the ITC has not even addressed this issue.

OCTOBER 23RD 2017 UPDATES

Statement from the Iditarod Official Finisher’s Club:

The IOFC unanimously demands the release of Musher X’s name within 72 hours
and is asking for complete transparency moving forward.

Additionally the IOFC unanimously believes that Rule 53, more commonly referred to as the “gag rule,” needs to be eliminated in its entirety from the 2018 race and from future races. Whether intended or not, Rule 53 makes mushers fear speaking out against the race or its policies for fear of retribution. The IOFC believes that in the creation of Rule 53 that the ITC has done more harm than good to the sport of dog sledding, and seeks to immediately reverse that policy. (http://bit.ly/2gDDNdD)

In March of 2015, the Fairbanks Daily Newsminer reported on the induction of Rule 53, stating that:

The rule, which hasn’t been publicly announced or commented on by race officials, bars mushers from making remarks deemed harmful to the race or its sponsors from the time they sign up until 45 days after crossing the finish line in Nome. The rule is a bad one — in seeking to muzzle mushers, the Iditarod is saying it doesn’t trust the people who are the face of the race. (http://bit.ly/2zKBk5x)

AND MUSHER-X IS… DALLAS SEAVEY.


MUSHER ARRESTS

“Iditarod musher Jason Mackey was charged on Thursday with stealing four dog kennels from another musher in Nome after the teams completed the 2017 race. Mackey, 45, faces a single charge of third-degree theft, a misdemeanor.” – Anchorage Daily News, October 19th 2017

“Four-time Iditarod and Yukon Quest champion Lance Mackey was arrested for driving under the influence and refusal to submit to a chemical breath test in Fairbanks Sunday.” – Anchorage Daily News, June 3rd 2013

“Four-time Iditarod champion Lance Mackey was arrested near Fairbanks on Saturday for violating conditions of release in a pending 2013 DUI case by driving without a valid license, the Alaska State Troopers said. He didn’t have a valid driver’s license or proof of vehicle insurance.” – Anchorage Daily News, April 6th 2014

“The wife of four-time Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race champ Lance Mackey was arrested on Monday for assault.” – Anchorage Daily News, January 17th 2012

“The driver was identified as Tonga L. Mackey, age 43 of Sterling. An investigation revealed Mackey was driving while impaired by alcohol. Mackey was arrested and remanded to the Anchorage Jail.” – Turnagain Times, October 18th 2012

“Investigation revealed the driver, Tonga Mackey age 47 of Wasilla, was operating the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.  Mackey was arrested for DUI Alcohol and transported to the Mat-Su Pretrial Facility.” – State of Alaska Daily Dispatch, April 20th 2017

“A veteran Iditarod musher and his longtime partner have been charged with assault in an incident with Alaska State Troopers, who showed up at the couple’s Talkeetna cabin late Sunday. Neighbors said Gerald “Jerry” Sousa fired a gun while driving a four-wheeler on their land. Neighbors called about Sousa, a member of the Iditarod Trail Committee Inc., who finished 20th in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race this year. The troopers met Sousa at his cabin’s front door. He was naked and holding a black revolver, according to Blanchette’s account in the charging document.” – Anchorage Daily News, July 18th 2012

“A musher who has been charged in a domestic violence case has been banned from next year’s Iditarod, race officials announced Friday in Alaska. The Iditarod Trail Committee Board said in a prepared statement that it ‘will not accept race applications from Travis Beals in 2017 and for an indefinite period of time thereafter.’ Beals faces misdemeanor assault and criminal mischief charges filed in state court in Palmer for a Dec. 21 incident in Willow, Alaska.” – New York Daily News, April 30th 2016

“A former Jr. Iditarod champion and son of a legendary musher was arrested  Wednesday after taking police on a car chase ending in an hour-long stand-off. Rohn Buser, the 20-year-old son of four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser and 2008 Iditarod musher himself, sped south past Alaska State Troopers in a construction zone just outside of Seward, said Seward Police Chief Tom Clemons.” – Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, February 27th 2010

“Four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King has been charged in federal court with illegally killing a moose inside the boundaries of Denali National Park and Preserve. Charging documents filed in Fairbanks this week also accuse the musher of illegally driving an ATV off road in the park during the hunt last fall. Both violations are misdemeanors. The case was investigated by national park rangers, who discovered a moose kill site inside the north border of the park, Denali spokeswoman Kris Fister said.” – The Seattle Times, April 10th 2009


ABUSE CASES

“A West Yellowstone man has been charged with animal cruelty for allegedly abandoning 33 sled dogs earlier this month near Targhee Pass, west of West Yellowstone. John T. Hessert was charged with one count of felony aggravated animal cruelty and 33 counts of animal cruelty. A veterinarian found they were “well below normal health,” and had not been fed enough. Court records say one of the dogs had a collar embedded in its neck and other dogs had frostbite.” – Montana News Station, July 14th 2008

“In September 1991, Frank Winkler, a two-time Iditarod racer, was charged with 14 counts of cruelty to animals after an animal control officer, summoned by Winkler’s neighbor, found a crate of dead and dying puppies in Winkler’s pickup truck. Winkler allegedly bludgeoned the puppies with the blunt end of an ax.” – American Chronicle, January 24th 2006

“Jerry Riley, the 1975 winner of the Iditarod, was banned for life in 1990 after he hit and killed a dog with a snow hook – a large, sharp metal claw.” – American Chronicle, January 24th 2006


DEAD DOGS

2000 Iditarod – RIP Tobuk

A dog named Tobuk traveling in the team of musher Al Hardman near Elim abruptly keeled over and died (March 16th). Exactly one year ago on March 15 Rodman, Jeremy Gebauer’s dog, died of the same affliction running Iditarod ’99, said race veterinarian Stuart Nelson.

2001 Iditarod – RIP Dan, Carhartt

Race officials said preliminary findings of a necropsy performed on the 3-year-old male named Dan showed fluid in the lungs. The dog’s death was determined to have been caused by pulmonary edema, or fluid in the lungs. The only other significant abnormalities observed included a decrease in esophageal and gastric (stomach) muscle tone combined with gastric ulcerations.

Little from Kasilof, a reporter for the Daily News, left the dog (Carhartt) in the care of Iditarod handlers Tuesday because it looked tired and wasn’t eating well. The dog was signed our of Hiland Mountain late Thursday by Melissa DeVaughn, an experienced musher and co-worker of Little’s. She found it dead in her yard Friday morning. The dog died of an uncommon condition known as pyothorax, a bacterial infection of the chest cavity lining.

2002 Iditarod – RIP Goro, Mark

Jim Oehlschlaeger’s dog Goro died in the 2002 Iditarod. He was a 5 year old male. The preliminary report released Monday night said the dog suffered a spinal injury in the neck area as the result of a tangle in the gangline.

The Iditarod Trail Committee was notified today by Musher DeeDee Jonrowe that her lead dog Mark died during surgery to repair a stomach ulcer.

2003 Iditarod – RIP Joker

Joker, a 7-year-old male, was in the team of Jim Gallea. The dog died Sunday as Gallea was traveling from White Mountain to Safety.

2004 Iditarod – RIP Wolf, Takk

A 5-year-old dog in the team of Lance Mackey of Kasilof died Tuesday, the first animal to perish in this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race. Race marshal Mark Nordman said the dog, named Wolf, died about 20 miles into the 80-mile-long trip mushers make across the desolate Farewell Burn from a cabin in Rohn to the town of Nikolai.

Kjetil Backen, who was between a quarter-mile and half-mile from the Unalakleet checkpoint when he stopped his sled, said the dog (a 7-year-old male named Takk) sat down and died.

2005 Iditarod – RIP Rita, Nellie, Oakley, Tyson

Gebhardt’s dog Rita dropped dead while in harness en route from Anvik on March 12.  A preliminary necropsy indicates the cause of death was anemia, from gastric ulcers.

Nellie, Doug Swingley’s dog died in Anchorage on March 17, after being dropped off in Elim at March 15 with pneumonia. The gross necropsy indicated an intestinal abnormality (a double intussusception).

Oakley, Jason Barron’s dog died on March 17 on the way to Nome from Safety. The gross necropsy revealed no cause of death.

Tyson, Michael Salvisberg’s dog died on March 18. Tyson was dropped in White Mountain and transported to Nome. The dog was tied to the ski of the plane but the lead came loose and Tyson ran onto the ice of the Bering Sea, fell into open water, and drowned.

2006 Iditarod – RIP Yellowknife, Bear, Cupid, Jack

Yellowknife, a 4-year-old male from Noah Burmeister’s team, died on March 9 at 6:00 a.m.. Yellowknife was initially dropped at Rohn on March 7, and was provided medical care in Anchorage. The preliminary necroposy indicated pneumonia as the cause of death.

Bear, a 3-year-old male from David Sawatzsky’s team, died on March 11 between Cripple and Ruby. The gross necroposy found no abnormalities.

Cupid, a 4-year-old female from Jim Lanier’s team, died on March 12 between Galena and Nulato. The gross necropsy found regurgitation and aspiration were the likely cause of death, and secondarily gastric ulcers.

Jack, a 5-year-old male from Wisconsin musher Ron Cortte’s team, died on March 18 at White Mountain. Jack was examined by veterinarians on arrival and appeared normal, but died of unknown causes 30 min later.

2007 Iditarod – RIP Snickers, Thongy, “Name Unknown”

Witnesses said they saw Ramy Brooks punch and kick some of his dogs and hit them with a ski pole when they refused to leave a checkpoint during a March 15, 2007 stage in Golovin, Alaska, less than 100 miles (160 km) from the finish in Nome, Alaska. One of Brooks‘ dogs died the day after the incident, but a necropsy could not determine why the dog died (name unknown).

Snickers, a six and a half year old female in the team of Karen Ramstead, died at approximately 11 p.m. on Sunday night in the checkpoint of Grayling. Preliminary indications showed that Snickers expired as a result of and acute hemorrhage due to a gastric ulcer.

A three year old male named “Thong” in the team of Matt Hayashida, died this morning on the trail between Koyuk and Elim. Preliminary indications showed that Thong expired as a result of acute pneumonia.

2008 Iditarod – RIP Zaster, Lorne, Cargo

A 7-year-old male named ‘Zaster’ in the team of musher #87, John Stetson, died at 0120 this morning. Zaster was dropped at Ophir at 0200 on Friday and had been transported to Anchorage where he was being treated for signs of pneumonia. Aspiration pneumonia was determined to be the likely cause of death.

At approximately 10 p.m. last evening, a snowmachiner ran into Jennifer Freking’s team on the Yukon River near Koyukuk. Unfortunately, the incident caused the death of a 3-year-old female named ‘Lorne.’

A 4-year-old male named ‘Cargo’ died at 5:00 pm on Tuesday March 11, 2008. Cargo was part of the team of Kotzebue Alaska musher, Ed Iten (Bib #32). He passed away between Elim and White Mountain.

2009 Iditarod – RIP Victor, Dizzy, Grasshopper, Maynard, Omen, Cirque

A dog (6-year-old Victor) running the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Jeff Holt’s team died suddenly early Tuesday morning, according to a press release from the race’s Anchorage headquarters. It happened between the Rainy Pass and Rohn checkpoints.

Two more dogs (Dizzy and Grasshopper) have died during the 2009 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Musher Lou Packer, a rookie from Wasilla, was overdue on his run from the ghost town of Iditarod to Shageluk along with two other teams on Monday when race officials dispatched an Iditarod Air Force pilot to search for them. When spotted by the pilot, Packer signaled he was in distress, according to an Iditarod press release. Upon landing, the pilot discovered that two of Packer’s 15 dogs had died. Rookie Lou Packer, a physician from Wasilla, believes his dogs died of hypothermia after his team was trapped out in 45-below temperatures and howling wind in the Innoko River country. He could feel ice begin to form under the skin of one of the dogs before its death, he said, but there was nothing he could do to help the animal.

A five year old male named Maynard in the team of Warren Palfrey (Yellowknife NWT, Canada) died on the trail between Safety and Nome late last evening. The incident occurred about an hour before Palfrey’s arrival.

An eight year old male named Omen in the team of Rick Larson (Bib #5) died on the Iditarod Trail between Elim and White Mountain earlier today.

Earlier today (at approximately 12 noon AKDT) Iditarod Race officials sent a plane from Nome to Shaktoolik to pick up scratched musher Alan Peck’s dog team. On the flight back to Nome the aircraft encountered significant turbulence. By the time the pilot was able to land in Golovin, it was discovered that one of the dogs (Cirque, a 2 year-old female) was deceased.

2013 Iditarod – RIP Dorado

A dog that died in this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race asphyxiated while getting buried in snow during severe wind, officials said Saturday. Dorado belonged to rookie musher Paige Drobny’s team. The dog was dropped from the race Monday and was being cared for in an area set up to car for dogs dropped from the race.

2015 Iditarod – RIP Stuart, Wyatt, Stiffy

An Iditarod sled dog was struck and killed by a car in Midtown Anchorage on Saturday night, nearly seven hours after breaking away from his team during the ceremonial start for the race. The dog, a 3-year-old black husky mix named Stuart, belonged to the team of Colorado musher Lachlan Clarke.

A 3-year-old sled dog named Wyatt, in the team of Lance Mackey, died early Thursday afternoon on the 119-mile trip from Tanana to Ruby, according to Iditarod Race Marshal Mark Nordman.

A second sled dog on the team of four-time Iditarod champion Lance Mackey has died on the trail, race officials say. A 3-year-old male husky named Stiffy expired at about 5:15 p.m. as Mackey, 44, traveled from Elim to the White Mountain, according to Race Marshal Mark Nordman.

2016 Iditarod – RIP Nash

A snowmachiner says he was driving drunk when he hit two dog teams racing in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Saturday, killing one dog and injuring several others. The snowmachine hit King’s team, according to a press release from the Iditarod Trail Committee, resulting in the death of 3-year-old Nash and non-life-threatening injuries to two others: 2-year-old Banjo and 3-year-old Crosby. A dog in Zirkle’s team also received a non-life-threatening injury.

2017 Iditarod – RIP Deacon, Smoke, Groovey, Flash, Shilling

A 2-year-old male dog named Deacon, running on Sterling musher Seth Barnes’ team, died outside Galena late Thursday night, Iditarod officials reported. A report from the race said the dog died at ‘approximately 11:40 p.m. … just prior to Barnes’ arrival at the Galena checkpoint.

A second dog has died in the 2017 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Smoke, a 2-year-old on the team of Willow musher Scott Smith, was being transported from Galena to Anchorage late Friday when he ‘died unexpectedly,’ according to a news release from race officials. Smith had dropped Smoke in Manley Hot Springs on Tuesday due to a wrist injury.

A 3-year-old dog dropped during this year’s race [2017] was reportedly hit and killed by a vehicle in Anchorage after escaping from his handler’s home, according to Iditarod race marshall Mark Nordman. The dog, Groovey, was a member of John Baker’s dog team.

At approximately 1 a.m. this morning, Flash, a four-year-old male from the race team of Katherine Keith (bib #52), collapsed in harness and died shortly thereafter. The incident occurred about ten miles prior to Katherine’s arrival in Koyuk.

An Iditarod musher’s sled dog collapsed and died shortly before his team arrived at Unalakleet checkpoint Wednesday morning. Shilling, a 3-year-old male dog on the team of rookie musher [Air Force lieutenant colonel] Roger Lee, died about 10 miles before the checkpoint, according to a statement by the Iditarod Trail Committee.

Iditarod Cover-Ups

On October 9th 2017, the Iditarod Trail Committee (ITC) issued a press release regarding a team testing positive for a prohibited substance in the 2017 Iditarod. Due to the “sensitivity of the matter,” ITC declined to name the drug, or the musher.

On October 16th 2017, Humane Mushing and Craig Medred published articles revealing that the Seavey family – winners of the last six Iditarod races – have been publicly touting that they have used a prohibited substances for years during the race.

“We used so much Wintergreen that we once tried a knock-off product from an online source – until the dogs began loosing hair and suffering skin irritations. Since then, we have been using Young Living Essential Oils exclusively,” Seavey’s IdidaRide Sled Dog Tours posted on February 13th 2015.

Wintergreen oil is a methyl salicylate topical, an anti-inflammatory drug, which is prohibited for use by the Iditarod Trial Committee.

On October 17th 2017, the Iditarod Trail Committee miraculously decided to reveal the drug that was detected to be Tramadol, a Class IV Opioid drug.

If this were a drug scandal involving human athletes, the timing of Iditarod’s release would stick out like a sore thumb and draw far more criticism than it has (they waited until mushers were bound by the gag rule to release that there was a problem, and only released the name of the drug after their golden goose was under fire). However, because the scandal involves canine athletes – which are essentially classified as disposable livestock in the Iditarod’s home state of Alaska – the scenario is drawing far less criticism.

Performance-enhancing drugs often mask pain, allowing animal athletes to race and train with injuries that would otherwise be too painful to run on. Five dogs died in the 2017 Iditarod alone – the highest death toll since the 2009 race, which claimed the lives of six canine athletes. After 2009, mushers were urged to immediately drop dogs who they felt might die – in order to get them off the racing roster, so the RGO would not be legally required to report their deaths. This resulted in a couple years of zero-reported deaths for the Iditarod. However, in recent years, we again see an increase in reported deaths along the trail because dogs are dropping dead between checkpoints – something that is impossible to hide. What could cause dogs to drop dead in harness? You guessed it – performance-enhancing drugs. How could this have gone undetected for so long? The Thoroughbred Daily News explains:

The threats presented by the well-known and long-established illegal drugs to the integrity of sport are concerning enough, but the biggest fear with performance-enhancing drugs in sport is that of the unknown, and this is no different in horse racing. The standard of drug testing across the major racing nations is generally considered high, but no matter how high the standard of testing, the testers have to know what they are looking for if they are to find it.

So-called designer drugs, substances that have the very similar performance-enhancing effects as well-known illegal drugs, but have had slight changes made to their molecular structure to evade the testers, have been an area of major concern in human sports for many years. With the stakes being so high in horse racing, it would be a brave person that suggested designer drugs could not be a factor in the Sport of Kings.

http://bit.ly/2kYEyPC

With over $1.2 million being taken home by just one family during their Iditarod careers, it’s no surprise that we would see similar designer drug strategies being utilized in the Last Great Race.

17-Time Iditarod Musher Dumps Dogs

After running seventeen Iditarods, with six top-10 finishes, and taking home a total of $422,730.67 in prize money – musher Ken Anderson abandons four dogs at Fairbanks North Star Borough Animal Control.


Ninja is 9 years old.


Guru is 8 years old, and shy.

Martin is 11 years old.


Standard is 12 years old, lame, and unsocialized.

#GetSleducated #LookBeyondTheBrochure #TheRealLifeOfSledDogs #ResearchTheTruth #MusherLife

Please contact the shelter if you are able to rescue any of these poor old souls! 

Contact email acontrol@fnsb.us

Contact # 907-459-1451

Connect the Dots – Iditarod Edition

Most of you born before the era of the smartphone are likely familiar with “connect the dots” – a form of puzzle containing a sequence of numbered dots. When a line is drawn connecting the dots, the outline of an object is revealed.

As a sled dog enthusiast of nearly two decades, I am the proud owner of the Iditarod edition of Monopoly. Today, I realized that there is another Iditarod edition game that we can all play. What do the following images have in common? Let’s connect the dots.

dots1
Mitch Seavey uses Wintergreen oil on his dogs.
dots2
Wintergreen oil is a methyl salicylate topical.
dogs3
Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as salicylates (aka Witergreen oil) are prohibited in the Iditarod.

On ProsperousSoulOils.com, it states that, “the Seavey family business and competition in the Iditarod race depends heavily on the wellbeing of their four-legged partners,” and,  “Young Living’s essential oils and products helped these four-legged champions run to win.”

It’s there in plain daylight for all of us to see regarding a 2017 Iditarod team testing positive for a prohibited substance:

dots4

There’s also medical articles regarding methyl salicylate toxicity, which we are looking further into. Just to give you a preview, though: mild chronic salicylate intoxication (salicylism) syndrome includes symptoms that are all too familiar in Iditarod dogs, such as lassitude, mental confusion, drowsiness, sweating, thirst, hyperventilation, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. (Gilman, A.G., T.W. Rall, A.S. Nies and P. Taylor (eds.). Goodman and Gilman’s The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. 8th ed. New York, NY. Pergamon Press, 1990., p. 651] *PEER REVIEWED*)

Could dogs who collapse and sometimes die on the trail, or asphyxiate on their own vomit, be victims of methyl salicylate toxicity? It’s entirely possible, especially since dogs lick and (therefore) ingest any topical ointments applied to them.

We’re looking for more input as we explore this correlation – we encourage any mushers and/or veterinarians to contact us at humanemushing@gmail.com

monopoly

There’s a Known Doper in the 2018 Iditarod

Anything for the Win

As much as I believe that we can end the Iditarod before the March 2018 start, there is a chance that it will survive another year – and if it does, there will be at least one known person competing who is doping their dogs with performance-enhancing drugs.

“The Iditarod Trail Committee (ITC) does not intend to disclose the name of the musher involved,” reads the press release on the Iditarod website. An Alaska Dispatch News (ADN) report states that, “Chas St. George, Iditarod spokesman, declined to provide that information in an interview Monday. He also would not say where on the trail the dogs were tested and how many dogs on the team tested positive. St. George said ‘legal concerns‘ and ‘confidentiality‘ prevented him from releasing the information.”

Of course, “Stuart Nelson, the Iditarod’s chief veterinarian, could not be reached for comment Monday.” (http://bit.ly/2ycw8t7)

The common cry among Iditarod fans on Facebook – many who give their own money to sponsor individual Iditarod dogs and teams each year – is: What is the drug? Who is the musher? Why should we continue to sponsor when we don’t know who is doping their dogs?

Unfortunately, mushers that kill dogs on and off the trail appear to matter to fans far less than those who are doping their dogs. Regardless, the doping concern is a valid one for sponsors and supporters. However, other fans, including some mushers, harken back to the largest issue in the Iditarod community – the killing of sled dogs.

Joseph Robertia, musher/owner at Rogues Gallery Kennel in Kasilof, Alaska commented on Facebook: “While the Iditarod is pulling out the polygraph, they should administer it to all entrants prior to the race to ask, ‘Have you ever culled a dog for performance reasons or any reasons other than to humanely euthanize a dog that was suffering in quality of life.’ Any musher who refuses the polygraph or fails that question doesn’t run.”

Bill of Klebesedal, owner of Pioneer Engineering in the Alaskan Mat-Su Valley, replied: “Good call. One of the only mushers I know personally said it was very common. Surprisingly no one has asked that question. That’s because they already know the answer.”

Chuck Ashley, a Wasilla, Alaska resident commented on Facebook: “The fact that the musher in question has not come forward only shouts that this was done purposely to gain an advantage over any other team, otherwise why the silence by both the musher and the ITC?? Anything accidental/incidental should be quickly revealed showing clear transparency of the race & its mushers & dogs.” Also, he stated: “Which musher has the very most to gain by doping their dogs to give them more speed & endurance? Which musher puts winning above all else? That musher is likely the one who doped their dogs”

Personally, we agree – and we’ll bet a brand new dog truck on who it is. We’re just waiting for it to become official public knowledge. Word on the trail is that the guilty party is a competitive, top-10 musher with a lot to lose, who threatened to sue the Iditarod if they released any further information.

Thom Swain, musher/owner at Stardancer Historical Freight Dogs in Two Rivers, Alaska commented on Facebook: “Because of rule-53 (the gag rule), we will probably never know. Anyone who has already signed up for the race is bound by the rule.”

Rule 53, the “personal conduct policy,” states from the date a musher signs up for the 1,000-mile sled dog race until 45 days after the last entrant completes the event, mushers shall “not make public statements or engage in any public conduct injurious to and in reckless disregard of the best interests of the race” or its sponsors.

Penalties include forfeiture of entry fees, involuntary withdrawal, disqualification or prospective disqualification for a period of years. Those who violate it will be sanctioned at the discretion of the executive committee of the race’s board of directors.

http://bit.ly/2yiUYYH

It seems that the gag rule is the reason that the ITC waited so long to release the (limited) information regarding the doping. Mushers are already signed up for the 2018 race, and therefore cannot speak of the subject until 45 days after the last musher finishes Iditarod 2018.

As Craig Medred states in his article, The Last Great Mess, “Veterinarian A. Morrie Craig of Oregon State University, who oversees the testing of dog urine for drugs, did answer an email asking for specifics. ‘Am overseas. Will not be home till oct 15,‘ it said.”

Today is October 15th, so perhaps we will get some answers before the weekend is out? Doubtful, but maybe.

A Greyhound Conspiracy?

This sled dog industry story came to light just after issues of doping with cocaine in the Greyhound industry. Perhaps, the Iditarod is guilty of the same drug scandal as Florida’s Greyhound racetracks?

For the greyhounds running at Florida’s dozen racetracks, a trip to the winner’s circle also means a urine test. Per state regulations, the dog officially known as “WW’s Flicka” submitted her sample on the same day, April 27. The results came back positive for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine.

But a hardcore narcotic swimming through the bloodstream of an innocent pup shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone paying attention. According to state records, Flicka had already tested positive five times for cocaine this year before the late April test — including a positive drug test just the previous week.

Flicka would turn out to be one of 12 greyhounds that tested positive for cocaine on 18 occasions over a four-month period in Florida this year. As first reported by First Coast News, the same trainer, Charles McClellan, handled all the doped dogs. Despite the steady run of failed tests, McClellan continued to work with animals at races until June 9, when state regulators filed an emergency order suspending his license.

source: http://wapo.st/2hGNOTL

Cocaine or not – the powers that be in Alaska clearly aren’t following the precedent set by state regulators in Florida – not only is the musher not being named, but they are not being fined, disqualified, or prohibited from racing again. The Iditarod Trail Committee (ITC) even had a clear and easy out in this scenario – follow the procedures set by the International Federation of Sleddog Sports (IFSS) http://bit.ly/2kPuBnM :

ARTICLE 10: SANCTIONS OF INDIVIDUALS

10.1 In Sleddog Sport there might be several persons included in an Anti-Doping
rules violation in addition to the dog. These three groups, Athlete, Owner, or Dog
Support Personnel, may all be involved in the rules violation. These three groups
might be given different sanctions due to the seriousness of the rule violation and
the circumstances. The dog involved is blameless in any doping case, but depending
on the kind of case it might be necessary to ground the dog for a given period.

Athlete and Owner will be jointly responsible unless they can prove No Fault or
Negligence. Generally both are to be sanctioned, however there shall always be
individual responsibility taken into consideration when sanctions are given. Dog
Support Personnel will only be sanctioned if responsibility or knowledge is proved.

10.2.2 Owner (Sanctions to be Given)
 Reprimand
 The Owner’s other dogs might be grounded from competitions up
to one year for the first time
 The Owner’s other dogs might be grounded from competitions up
to lifetime for the second time
 Fine of up to 3 000 Euro
 Ineligibility for 6 month to life time first time
 Ineligibility for life time the second time

ARTICLE 11: CONSEQUENCES TO TEAMS

11.2.1 An anti-doping rule violation committed by an Equipage of a Team in
connection with an In-Competition test automatically leads to Disqualification
of the result obtained by the Team in that Competition, with all resulting
consequences for the Team and its members, including forfeiture of any
medals, points and prizes.

So we are left asking why – when the Iditarod Trail Committee had plenty of ways to handle this scenario – did they pick the absolute worst, crooked, deceitful, and concerning path of action? Because the ITC doesn’t care about dogs. It cares about profits; it cares about keeping its superstar athletes happy and in the spotlight.

2017 has been the year of the sled dog. The documentary is touring the country, sponsors have dropped, the purse has been cut, there have already been kennel closures, and we need each and every one of you to help us contact sponsors again and let them know about this doping scandal. For the latest list of petitions and sponsor contacts, visit http://humanemushing.com/action-alerts

Want to know what else you can do to help? Or have information to share? Contact us at humanemushing@gmail.com – together we can end sled dog abuse.

The Downsizing of Krabloonik – Where Are The 50 Dogs?

On October 11, 2016, Krabloonik Mountain Dining & Dogsledding in Snowmass Village, Colorado, posted photos and text on Facebook featuring Dirk, “a retired senior sled dog that found the perfect retired home.” The post continues and mentions the Krabloonik adoption process and the want to get their retired sled dogs into loving homes.

dirklies

However, Dirk was not a “retired” sled dog who was adopted out by Krabloonik, as is suggested in the post. In reality, Dirk was in horrific shape, and one of the eight dogs seized from Krabloonik by the District Attorney’s office in December of 2013 (http://bit.ly/2xrD1CO), when Danny Phillips was the kennel manager, overseeing the care of the dogs. This is the official photo of Dirk when he was seized from Krabloonik due to lack of care, which led to one of the eight cruelty charges against the former owner (when Phillips was the manager and responsible for Dirk’s care):

dirk

After being seized, Dirk spent approximately a year at C.A.R.E. in Glenwood Springs, CO, and was eventually transported to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, to be further rehabilitated and adopted to a woman who sat by his side for many months reading to him, walking him, and gaining his trust. His road to recovery was long, but he had a lot of help from shelter staff and volunteers:

Another dog who Dee has befriended is Dirk. The rescued sled dog didn’t get much socialization in his prior life, making him even more timid than Zena. But Dee is doing her best to help him. For instance, she’s helping him get more comfortable with people by sitting and talking to him in his kennel. When she first started, he tried to intimidate her by barking at her. Dee called his bluff and now the two have become pals. (http://bit.ly/2y8ScEh)

How could the Krabloonik owners claim that Dirk is a success story, when he was a seizure in a cruelty case who was rehabilitated and adopted out by entirely different entities and caretakers? And where are the other dogs that have been put up for adoption since Krabloonik claims that they have fewer dogs (with about 50 up for adoption in 2014)? If you have information on any of these dogs, or can confirm that they are safe, please e-mail us at humanemushing@gmail.com so we can update this blog.

Photography by Uhli Photography: http://www.uhliphotography.com/

Photography by Paws in Motion Photography: http://pawsinmotionphotography.com/

Photography by Lara Claassen.


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