151 Dead Dogs and Counting: PETA’s Running Death Toll of the Iditarod

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The death toll continues to climb at the 2017 Iditarod. To commemorate the victims and urge people to stop supporting this abusive and deadly spectacle, PETA is publishing a running list of the dogs who have died this year.

March 10: A 2-year-old dog named Deacon reportedly dies while running in the Iditarod, making him the first to die this year and at least the 147th to die in the history of this deadly race.

March 11: Authorities report that a 2-year-old dog named Smoke died of hyperthermia (overheating).

March 14: Dropped from his musher’s team, a 3-year-old dog named Groovey is reportedly struck by a car and killed after escaping from the home of a handler in Anchorage, Alaska.

March 15: Two dogs collapse and die on the Iditarod trail in one day. According to the autopsy report, 4-year-old Flash died of “acute aspiration pneumonia,” caused by getting foreign substances, such as liquid or vomit, in his lungs. The autopsy report indicates that 3-year-old Shilling died as a result of abnormalities that included “extensive pulmonary edema,” also caused by fluid in the lungs.

During the Iditarod, human sled drivers, called “mushers,” are pulled through the frigid Alaskan wilderness by a team of 12 to 16 dogs. The exact path that they take, from Anchorage to the town of Nome, varies slightly from year to year, but the length is unofficially listed as 1,049 miles—about the distance from Orlando, Florida, to New York City.

Dogs are forced to run up to 100 miles a day over treacherous ice and through biting winds, blinding snowstorms, and subzero temperatures. During the grueling race, even while wearing snow booties, some dogs’ feet become cut, bruised, and raw from the vast distances of frozen terrain that they cover. Dogs suffer off the course, too. Read more:

It’s time for this cruel spectacle to end.

Dog deaths are so common during the race that Rule 42 of the official Iditarod rules blithely states that some dogs’ deaths may be considered “unpreventable.”

In 2016, a dog named Nash died after being hit by a snowmobile during the race. In 2015, dogs Stiffy and Wyatt both died on the trail and a dog named Stuart got loose and was later hit by a car.

HEARTBREAKING: Not every puppy born is a fast runner. Those who don't make the cut for #Iditarod dogsled races are…

Posted by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) on Monday, March 3, 2014

Dogs deserve far better than a lifetime of cruelty and suffering—and even death—just to train for and run in the Iditarod. PETA and compassionate people everywhere are calling for a permanent end to this dangerous, deadly race.

Share this post with your family and friends, and let them know that dogs should never be treated like disposable pieces of sports equipment. They belong indoors, as members of the family.

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