Video: Richmond Dog’s Rescue From Iditarod Champion’s Chains

For Immediate Release:
April 23, 2019

Megan WIltsie 202-483-7382

Richmond, Va.

Maggie the husky mix has found a happy home with Richmond residents Frances and Roger, but as a new PETA video shows, her life began far away in Alaska, where she was kept chained for over a year alongside dozens of other dogs at Team Baker Kennel, a dog-mushing operation whose teams have competed in the Iditarod. She had almost no protection from wind chills that reached minus 19 degrees Fahrenheit, and her only source of water was a foul “stew” of meat that was often rotten or moldy—but all that changed when the PETA eyewitness who worked there persuaded the facility’s owners to give her to him.

The man took Maggie on a cross-country journey from Alaska to PETA’s headquarters in Virginia, and along the way, the pup got to experience everything that she’d missed out on for years, including eating nutritious food and treats, being brushed and bathed, playing with toys, and much more. A veterinarian found that Maggie was underweight, that the skin on her neck and paws was inflamed, and that she was unable to bark—likely because she’d been constantly pulling on the chain—but with love and care, she started to recover.

Soon, PETA was able to find her a real, permanent, and loving home with Frances and Roger. “What we would like for her to look forward to, and I think she probably is, is a long, long life of love and happiness and somebody to care for her and look after her,” said Frances. “Somebody who is always going to be there, no matter what.”

While Maggie will never again be chained outdoors, thousands of other dogs used by mushers aren’t as lucky. PETA’s exposé has revealed that dogs at Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey’s operation sustained worn-down, raw, and bloody paw pads from frantically running in tight circles at the end of short metal chains. And some dogs there and at Team Baker Kennel—including one who’d incurred a crippling spinal cord injury that left her dragging her back legs across the ice—were denied veterinary care.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. More information about PETA’s Iditarod exposé is available here. For more information about problems with the Iditarod—during which more than 150 dogs have reportedly died since the race began, not including the ones who died during training or while chained outside during the off-season—see the documentary Sled Dogs.

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