PETA Points to Dallas Seavey's Doping Scandal, Whistleblower Reports of Cruelty and Neglect
For Immediate Release:
December 4, 2017
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382
Anchorage, Alaska – Following reports that disgraced musher Dallas Seavey has signed up for the 2018 Finnmarksløpet, PETA sent a letter this morning calling on the race’s CEO to ban him from participating.
In the letter, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—notes that after the four-time Iditarod “champion” was implicated in an opioid-doping scandal in the 2017 Iditarod race, a veteran musher alleged that Seavey’s kennels killed dogs who weren’t fast or fit enough. A whistleblower then came forward with photos and video footage showing injured dogs, purportedly dying puppies, and dozens of dogs chained to plastic barrels at Seavey’s kennel. A state investigation into the allegations is still pending.
“Dallas Seavey seems to believe that he can outrun his shameful string of allegations by simply hopping continents and signing up for a different race,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “Dogs are not snowmobiles with paws. PETA is calling on the Finnmarksløpet to make it clear that abuse will not be tolerated and that Dallas Seavey will not be allowed to compete.”
For more information, please visit PETA.org.
PETA’s letter to Finnmarksløpet CEO Svanhild Pedersen follows.
December 4, 2017
Via e-mail: [email protected]
Dear Ms. Pedersen,
On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide, I’m writing with grave concerns about disgraced musher Dallas Seavey’s plans to compete in the 2018 Finnmarksløpet. As I’m sure you know, he was recently implicated in an opioid-doping scandal in the 2017 Iditarod, and a whistleblower has alleged horrific neglect and cruelty at his kennel. Now is the time to tell mushers and the rest of the world that dogs are not snowmobiles with paws and that their abuse will not be tolerated. I urge you to start by banning Seavey from competing in the Finnmarksløpet.
Four of Seavey’s dogs tested positive for tramadol, a Class IV opioid. Although banned in the Iditarod, it was used to mask the severe pain caused when dogs are forced to run up to 100 miles (160 kilometers) a day over hazardously icy terrain in subzero temperatures and biting winds. Tramadol can keep dogs running despite having bloody paws, strained muscles, stress fractures, pneumonia, bleeding stomach ulcers, and damaged lungs.
Following the doping scandal, veteran musher Zoya DeNure came forward to report that some trainers have killed “hundreds on top of hundreds or more dogs” because they were considered too slow or weak to win prize money. She alleged that Seavey’s kennels are among those that kill dogs who aren’t fast or fit enough, writing, “Sadly, this has been going on in the family ‘dynasty’ for decades.”
Disturbing photographs and video footage from a whistleblower showing heinous cruelty at Seavey’s Willow, Alaska, kennel appear to confirm this. According to the whistleblower, operators at the kennel allowed severely injured and ailing dogs and puppies to suffer without veterinary care, sometimes resulting in death. Many dogs reportedly suffered from bloody diarrhea and vomiting, puncture and bite wounds, and torn ears. Handlers allegedly picked up dogs by their throats and threw them to “punish” them for fighting or not obeying commands.
The whistleblower also reported that dogs have been left for weeks in doghouses soaked by rain and snow and that a three-legged dog named Gott—who experienced a spinal clot during the Yukon Quest race and had to have his leg amputated—is perpetually chained and struggles to move.
Seavey seems to believe that he can outrun the shameful string of allegations against him by simply hopping continents and signing up for a different race. I urge you to take a stand against cruelty by banning him—and anyone else who is suspected of abusing dogs—from the Finnmarksløpet.
Executive Vice President