Crippled, Arthritic Dogs Now Appearing in Anti-Iditarod Bus Ads

Ads With Photos From PETA Exposé of Cruelty Are Running Downtown

For Immediate Release:
April 30, 2019

David Perle 202-483-7382

Anchorage, Alaska

Two of the dogs whose suffering was revealed in a first-of-its-kind PETA exposé of two Iditarod mushers’ dog-sledding operations are now appearing on People Mover buses in downtown Anchorage, courtesy of PETA ads that tell the dogs’ stories and urge, “End the Iditarod.”

At Team Baker Kennel—owned by 22-time Iditarod competitor John Baker and five-time Iditarod competitor Katherine Keith—Birch had sustained a crippling spinal cord injury that left her dragging her back legs. Snickers had suffered from painful arthritis for years, including when she led Baker’s team to victory in the 2011 Iditarod—but she was kept chained up outdoors by the frozen sea, where she limped and cried. Baker was caught on video admitting that both dogs needed to be “put out of [their] misery,” but he refused to let PETA’s eyewitness seek out veterinary care for Birch because anyone who saw the dog would conclude that “we’re being real hard on ’em.”

“PETA’s exposé revealed that scores of lonely and suffering dogs were tied up in the snow with nothing to do but run in tiny circles until their paws bled,” says PETA Vice President Colleen O’Brien. “No kind person could possibly endorse an industry that sentences social dogs to solitary confinement when they’re not being run to death on the Iditarod trail.”

PETA’s exposé documented that dogs at a facility owned by three-time Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey had worn-down, raw, and bloody paw pads from frantically running in tight circles at the end of short metal chains. During training, Baker advised against braking for a dog who stopped to defecate, stating that it’s “better to have a dead dog” than a “dog [who] slows down the team,” and after a dragging incident at Seavey’s kennel, one dog died and another was left urinating blood.

More than 150 dogs have died on the Iditarod trail, and those are only the reported deaths that occurred during the race. This year, a dog named Oshi died after finishing the Iditarod. She’d inhaled her own vomit, which led to infection and tissue damage of the lungs.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

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