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Two Dogs Die During Iditarod, Prompting Calls From PETA To End the Race Across Alaska

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Two dogs died over the last weekend in Alaska’s annual Iditarod race. The tragic death of the dogs became the first canine casualties in the grueling 1,000-mile sled dog race in five years. However, the death of the dogs has prompted PETA to call for an end to the endurance race that has traversed the Alaskan wilderness for 52 years.

A picture of dogs at the Iditarod, prompting calls from PETA
Source: FoxNews/X

Bog, a 2-year-old male on musher Issac Teaford’s team, collapsed on Sunday, March 10, 2024. The dog passed out roughly 200 feet from the checkpoint in the village of Nulato. Despite efforts by a veterinarian to revive him, race officials said the dog died.

Similarly, George, a 4-year-old male on the team of Hunter Keefe, died despite resuscitation efforts. Like Bog, George also collapsed about 35 miles from the village of Kaltag, 629 miles into the race. According to reports, a necropsy did not determine Bog’s cause of death. 

However, Iditarod said they would conduct further tests. Also, they will perform an autopsy on George to determine the cause of death. The deaths were the first in the race, which began on March 2, 2024, in Anchorage. According to reports, Oshi, a 5-year-old female on Richie Beattie’s team, died two days after crossing the finish line in 2019.

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At a post-race checkup, veterinarians found signs of pneumonia in the dog, and they flew her to Anchorage for treatment. Unfortunately, she ended up dying. Following the death of Bog and George, Teaford, an Iditarod rookie, and Keefe, who finished 11th in his first attempt at the race last year, voluntarily withdrew from the race on Sunday. 

Under the race rules, the two risked withdrawal from the race by the race marshal. The dogs’ tragic death on Sunday prompted People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to call for the race’s end. Long the Iditarod’s most prominent critic, PETA condemned the race, claiming it harms dogs.

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“The death count keeps climbing for dogs forced to run until their bodies break down,” PETA Senior Vice President Colleen O’Brien said. “All so the human winner can get a trophy while the dogs get an icy grave.” O’Brien added, “PETA is calling for this despicable race to end.”

In addition, PETA claimed that more than 150 dogs have died in the Iditarod. However, race officials have never provided an official count of dogs that have died since the first race in 1973. Before the tragic deaths of Bog and George, PETA conducted a protest against the ceremonial start of the race.

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In its efforts to stop the race, PETA also targeted race sponsors to end their support in recent years. Consequently, companies, including Alaska Airlines, ExxonMobil, Wells Fargo, and Chrysler, have quit their sponsorship through an Anchorage dealership.

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The organization earlier called for the removal of musher Dallas Seavey, a five-time winner, from this year’s race. Seavey’s dog Faloo became injured in an encounter with a moose shortly after the race started. However, PETA claims he delayed care for the dog. 

“Mushers’ prioritization of victory over dogs’ wellbeing is everything that’s wrong with the Iditarod,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement.

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