Iditarod Musher’s Video Leads to Call for Cruelty Charges

Alaskan Authorities Requested to Investigate Jessie Holmes for Forcing Dogs to Haul a Metal Carriage Through Floodwater

For Immediate Release:
August 21, 2019

John Di Leonardo 202-483-7382

Anchorage, Alaska – This morning, PETA sent a letter calling on Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner Amanda Price to launch a criminal investigation into Nenana-based Iditarod musher Jessie Holmes for an act of apparent cruelty to dogs depicted in a video that he recently posted to Facebook.

The video shows a group of harnessed dogs being forced to negotiate neck-deep floodwaters while hauling a large metal carriage. One dog climbs on top of another in an apparent attempt to rest or escape the floodwaters. The videographer declares that the dogs had already towed the vehicle for at least half a mile.

“These dogs were willfully placed in a cruel and dangerous situation, causing them distress and who knows what other consequences,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for an investigation that includes an urgent medical assessment of these dogs’ condition.”

The video follows PETA’s first-of-its-kind exposé of kennels owned by Iditarod mushers, which revealed that arthritic, crippled, and injured dogs were denied veterinary care; chained dogs had worn-down, raw, and bloody paw pads from frantically running in tight circles around the barrels they were tied to; dogs were dragged and injured during training; and one was even killed.

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

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind