Iditarod in danger

anchorage start

Alaska’s biggest sporting event/Wikimedia Commons

Alaska’s “Last Great Race” – the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race – is on the verge of losing the support of both its competitors and sponsors and could collapse, a consultant to the Iditarod Trail Committee warned in a secret, December report to the board of directors.

“The board must understand the urgency to mend these relationships,” Dennis McMillian of The Foraker Group wrote in the document obtained by “Foraker senses that both of these partner groups are on the verge of withdrawing their support for this race as a result of their distrust in this board.”

The Foraker Group is an Alaska-based consultancy that advises non-profit organizations on good governance. The Iditarod operates as a federally recognized, non-profit charitable organizations.

Attacked regularly and repeatedly by animal right’s groups since the 1980s, the Iditarod has many times found itself struggling to survive, but has always managed to soldier on as the 49th state’s signature sporting event.

Alaska-based sponsors of the race have hung on through thick and thin in support, but McMillian judged that the latest Iditarod problems might have pushed them to the limit.

Deep into an eight-page, single-spaced report, he observed that “while no sponsor shared specific thinking about their ongoing support, Dennis McMillian, an individual with 40 years in nonprofit management and fund-raising, witnessed body language and questions from the sponsors at the ITC sponsor meeting in October that were clear.

“While I would be glad to be proven wrong on such issues (as this), I rarely am.”

And while sponsors and mushers are Iditarod’s biggest immediate problem, McMillian warned the Iditarod could be facing an even bigger danger lurking just over the horizon.  Iditarod volunteers who contacted Foraker did so to “express negative perceptions about the board and staff,” he wrote.

The Iditarod is multi-million dollar sporting event carried north for 1,000 miles from Willow to Nome each March on the backs of volunteer veterinarians who care for the dogs and volunteer dog handlers, cooks, communications personnel and others who staff the more than two dozen checkpoints along the wilderness trail.

“…If they were to disappear,” McMillian warned, “the financial commitment (necessary) to maintain the race could be overwhelming.”

McMillian did not return a phone call.

A troubled champion

The Iditarod’s latest problems arose from the race’s first publicly revealed doping case. The team of four-time champ Dallas Seavey from Willow was found to be doped after the finish of the 1,000-mile race in Nome in March of last year.

The youngest musher ever to win the Iditarod, the grandson of one of the mushers who ran the first race in 1973, the son of another former champ, the only musher in a position to challenge the legendary Rick Swenson’s five Iditarod wins, a one-time Alaska reality TV show star and a motivational speaker, the well-spoken, now 30-year-old Seavey was the golden boy of the modern Iditarod.

When a Oregon drug-testing lab informed race officials in March that all four of the four dogs tested in his team in Nome were positive for tramadol, an opioid pain-killer, Iditarod officials weren’t sure what to do. They balked at immediately revealing the dogs had been doped somewhere along the last 90 miles of trail or in the Nome dog lot.

Instead, the race covered the incident up for six months while it tried to figure out what to do.

Iditarod rules at the time prohibited mushers from doping dogs but established no standards for liability. When Seavey insisted that he had no idea how the dope got in the dogs, the Iditarod realized it had a problem.

To act on the doping, it would need to prove Seavey doped the dogs, and there was no way to do that. Most of the race takes place in the wilderness. Mushers spend more time out of sight of anyone than they do in sight of anyone.

“When ITC concluded that no one could be held accountable for this incident under current policy, it was quick to notify the musher involved,” McMillian wrote, “assuring him that he was not being accused, disqualified or held accountable in any way.

Meanwhile, he added, “ITC officials were concerned that notifying too many people too soon about the incident may complicate public relations, so this news was not released in a timely manner to sponsors or the public.”

The Iditarod never did sanction Seavey in any way, but it did rewrite its rule to mandate “strict liability.” Strict liability is the standard in other sporting events, including those sanctioned by the International Federation of Sleddog Sports (IFSS).

The Iditarod announced the rule change in October, sans any mention of the musher involved, and all hell broke loose. Eventually, Seavey’s name was forced out of the Iditarod, and he is now on the warpath against the race, claiming it engaged in a deliberate attempt to smear him.

The details of what exactly preceded the October revelations might never been known. Seavey says the Iditarod told him he had done nothing wrong. Iditarod denies that, saying they told him only that they didn’t know.  Iditarod does reportedly have emails with Seavey discussing all of this that might shed some light on just what went down, but the race has ignored requests to release those emails.

McMillian summarized all of this by saying the Iditarod was “not successful in working with the musher to ensure that he could stand united with ITC. Rather, the musher used the opportunity to increase distrust many mushers already have with the ITC.”

It has, however, forged ahead in changing its doping rule to correspond with that in other sports, another move that angers Seavey who argues the rule is unfair to mushers. He believes the Iditarod should be protecting them, not policing them.

And the strict liability rule clearly puts any musher found to have doped dogs in a tough spot.

“Athletes are responsible for any prohibited substance or its metabolites or
markers found to be present in their dog’s samples,” the IFSS rules says. “Accordingly, it is not necessary that intent, fault, negligence or knowing use on the athlete’s part be demonstrated in order to establish an anti-doping rule violation.”

Drugs have raised issues in Iditarod almost since the beginning of the race, but up until now have attracted no public attention.

Some mushers have told that the last year’s doping case really dates back to 2016 when they say a number of mushers were seen giving their dogs unknown medications along the trail. They have suggested the Iditarod tighten down its doping controls in 2017.

The Iditarod has refused to comment.


Most of the Iditarod’s problems with sponsors and mushers are related to trust, McMillian wrote.

Board members, he said, have too many seeming conflicts of interest, and the race does too much of its business in secret.

“As a nonprofit corporation, ITC is under no legal obligation for transparency of confidential information,” he wrote, “however, such disclosure is recommended…to ensure that the reputation of the ITC, its sponsors, and participants are protected.”

The Iditarod has long suffered from a lack of transparency, in large part because of fear of coming under attack by animal-rights groups. The Humane Society of the United States – an anti-hunting, anti-trapping, animal-protection organization – almost brought the race down in the early 1990s.

The Iditarod in that period was caught covering up some dog deaths and lost support with sponsors and fans.

Multiple sources, including veterinarians and former Iditarod board members, all of whom have asked for anonymity, have told that Seavey’s doping positive was not the race’s first. In the past, they said, some mushers were asked to retire or take some time off from the race after being discovered with doped dogs. Others were given warnings, they said.

It is unclear if any of these suggestions were made to Seavey, but long before the news leaked out in October that the Iditarod had doped dogs and they were Seavey’s, he told friends and a dog handler that he was planning to race the Finnmarkslopet in Norway this year instead of the Iditarod.

Stu Nelson, the Iditarod chief veterinarian, has repeatedly ignored questions about past doping. Six days ago he was emailed a question asked whether Mitch Seavey – Dallas’s father – has been told “to stop using ‘supplements’ containing prohibited doping substances?”

As with other requests for information on doping, this one has gone unanswered. Mitch is sponsored by Young Living Essential Oils and has publicly promoted his use of their “wintergreen (oil) to help soothe aching muscles.”

Wintergreen contains methyl salicylate, a substance specifically prohibited by the  Iditarod. A source familiar with Iditarod dog testing said it has been detected in the urine of Mitch’s dogs. Mitch says he was told that is not a problem.

Many mushers are into supplements and lotions. Veterinarians with knowledge of Iditarod dog testing say some prohibited substances that have popped up in drug tests have been blamed on either supplements or contaminated meat.

What penalty?

The Iditarod rule on doping makes no mention of supplements, which have proven to be both a well-known problem and a well-known excuse in other sports, but the Iditarod rule does warn mushers “to ensure that food, meat, snacks and veterinary supplies do not contain prohibited drugs.”

There is no indication in the rules of what exactly happens if they don’t ensure that.

Mitch has posted on his Facebook page that Nelson in 2009 specifically approved the use of wintergreen oil even though it contains a prohibited substance.

“I recently spoke with several mushers to confirm my memory and placed a call to Dr. Nelson, who was good enough to return my call yesterday by satellite phone,” Mitch posted on January 5. “He confirmed the mushers understanding, adding there has never been a positive drug test due to wintergreen oil.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Administration (USADA) posts online a “high list risk” of supplements a musher looking to gain an Iditarod advantage could easily consult. Dozens of the products on the list contain chemicals that could be useful in giving Iditarod dogs a boost.

If the Iditarod has approved use of a prohibited substance because it is contained in a supplement or lotion, it risks setting a dangerous precedent allowing mushers to argue they were simply giving their dogs supplements.

If prohibited substances are found in the urine of their dogs, the new doping rule would send them to  “a review panel comprised of the race marshal, the chief veterinarian and three independent professionals appointed by the board president.” The new rule holds the musher “strictly liable” for the drugs, but the review panel can absolve the musher of responsibility if it is convinced “the positive tests resulted from causes completely beyond (the musher’s) control.”

The rule makes no mention of transparency, and establishes no penalties. It says only that the review board can impose “sanctions.”

IFSS rules require the automatic publication of the sanction if someone is caught doping, and list specific penalties for anyone caught with drugged dogs. Those penalties range from a reprimand to a lifetime ban for a second, serious doping offense.

Since the Iditarod doping story hit the news in October, a number of Iditarod veteran mushers have contacted to express their opinions the Iditarod needs more and better drug testing and a whole lot more transparency.

None wanted to go on record. Some believe Dallas doped his dogs. Others concede there is no way of knowing for certain who doped Dallas’s dogs, and for that reason the claim that he could have been sabotaged simply cannot be ignored. None of them thought sabotage likely, but they agreed it wouldn’t be impossible either.

One called Dallas “the most competitive person I’ve ever met,” and then insisted that despite that Dallas would never dope a dog to win “because I just know he wouldn’t.”

Most agreed more transparency would be good. But one Iditarod veteran said an Iditarod contender from the Susitna Valley once pushed for a full and open accounting of doping positives during an Iditarod-sanctioned meeting of mushers only to be told to shut up. That report could not be confirmed.

Many are concerned – legitimately – that strict enforcement of doping rules and transparency could provide ammunition for animal right’s activists trying to kill the race. Fern Levitt, the director of the Canadian movie “Sled Dogs,” contends the race is now being run so fast that some of the dogs suffer physiological damage.

There is no documented evidence to support that claim, but the race has been getting harder for the dogs.

Since the last decade, the Iditarod has gone from a 9-day race to an 8-day race. The last five races – from 2013 to 2017 – have seen a winning average  time of 8 days, 16 hours. A decade earlier – from 2003 to 2007 – the average winning time was 9 days, 15 hours.

The Iditarod has tried to protect itself from critics like Levitt by wrapping the race in a cloak of secrecy. And as it has done that, it has increasingly narrowed its governing organization to try to keep everything in the dog-mushing family.

That has created other problems.

McMillian said the board needs to do something about members with “a conflict of interest either as an active musher or one with such (an) immediate family relationship….

“It may be necessary that the directors with conflicts of interest resign. Six of the nine (directors) have conflicts and are perceived by some as making decisions through those conflicts. They may or may not be making decisions based on those conflicts, however, good governance cannot be easily achieved with a high level of perceived conflict.”

The board sent a letter to McMillian saying it was going to try to make some of the suggested changes, but no one appears to be resigning.

CORRECTION: Fern Levitt’s name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story. It also said the Iditarod had not rule on whether the use of salicylates constitutes a doping violation; the Iditarod has not commented by Mitch Seavey says he was told there is no problem if salicylates turn up in the urine of Iditarod dogs. They are, however, still banned in races sanctioned by the IFSS. 





37 replies »

  1. Craig, tried to get your E-Mail but could not find it here in Fairbanks, been really upset over Iditarod for years now. Here’s what I finally sent out last night! Had no Idea this was boiling in other pots til this morning. LEO
    Bob, et al;

    This is all news to me, I have not seen the Rules for two years (they have cut me off period), the Iditarod doesn’t communicate with me (as a lifetime member) anyhow; I essentially signed off on the Iditarod two years ago as they began to strangle me, my 12 finish line checkers and the Iditarod Trail Mail along with its Educational Project that took a couple thousand young students over the Old Iditarod Trail yearly with the Mushers every year ever since starting in 1989. NOW, No longer will the mushers be carrying the (ITM) Official “Iditarod Trail Mail” or the educational (ITEMP) Iditarod Trail Educational Mail Project over the trail. Essentially , they have determined that I can no longer after 44 Years continue to send the ITM & ITEMP over the trail with the Mushers, they have taken away our Nome Checkers Organization that had provided the finish line Checking service for free for 45 years, replacing it with paid checkers. I’m gone but I must say that I had come to the conclusion that the Iditarod would only succeed for about 3 more years before it would be completely defunct. The Top of the organization is totally over the hill including their Manager who has been milking the organization for years, both of them, Manager and Board, with ever declining returns. As much as I loved the Iditarod (and really still do) and what it did to save a very special way of life that is now fleeting ever so fast away with the current organization, I can not wade into something that even my wife would crucify me for trying, by trying to right this sinking ship. I can tell from my previous experience of chasing the rats out of the Iditarod that NO One person can stand it alone not can it be for a one time, one year shot. That’s what happened the last time I was the lead on cleaning up the Iditarod. I don’t know if enough people can garner enough personal involvement, time and interest to take a hold and begin to rebuild virtually from a near beginning, I know that it is not easy from previous experiences and nor will it be for free.

    LEO B. RASMUSSEN, One of the founders of the Iditarod.

    P.S. Forward if necessary, I can carry the weight. This should have been written, not just by me and tackled quite sometime ago.

    On 2/9/18 8:09 PM, Bob Stone wrote:
    > Hi Leo,
    > Byrna just called me that the news tonight said that the mushers are demanding the head of Iditarod resign and they want some of the board to resign also.
    > I have been pissed off about the new phone / 2 way communications for this year. Seems stupid, just another way to reduce the “validity of the historical way the Iditarod has run. My like of the past has been the man and dog against nature and weather and not how can we eliminate the character of the Iditarod.
    > I had told Byrna with the new rules I was not going to follow it any longer.
    > My question to you, what has been your opinion about the new rules? Had you heard about the mushers demands?

  2. This is a once-a-year treacherous, unnecessary race for only about 68 mushers, and should end. Approximately 1,088 dogs (68 mushers each with 16 dogs) start the race, and half the dogs don’t finish due to illness, injury, or exhaustion. Dogs die just about every year; the total is at least 150 since 1973, which averages 3 per race. Unacceptable.

    Most of these dogs are housed chained (considered inhumane and illegal in many communities) their entire lives, except when they’re training, to their small, dilapidated enclosures, among their urine and feces, unable to play or interact with their kennel mates, —all at the behest of their mushers. They are treated as slaves at the ready to perform.

    • a.) it’s not “treacherous.” b.) most of the dropped dogs have minor injuries or fatigue from which they promptly recover. c.) dogs used to die “about every year,” but then iditarod had a good run with no dog deaths and then. well, it would be interesting to know what changed that run. d.) dog care varies from musher to musher. some dogs have shitty housing, some don’t. e.) see d. some mushers keep very neat and tidy kennels; other’s don’t. as with all sports, there are the bad apples. f.) all dogs do what they do at the behest of their owners. sometimes that’s good; sometimes that’s bad. some times the owners think it is good when it is bad.

      • Craig,
        I can see how one could at least argue that traveling on frozen rivers in Alaska is “dangerous” at times…we have seen both man and dog die on the River Trail System during “snow sport” activities in the past.

  3. I guess we have to just keep exposing that lie, which is repeated, over and over again. Whatever way you decide to describe the exploitation in some euphemistic manner, the fact remains that the dogs are being used for the selfish wants of the people involved, that many dogs have died running this ridiculous race, and a lot of other cruelties have been exposed in relation to it. If you’re so excited about being “athletes,” then get your butts off the sleds and run the race yourselves. True justice would be if you pull the sleds with the dogs riding on them, and someone with your own mentality nearby to crack the whips. And then go home and sleep in a lean-to in the snow.

    • Sue: chill. dogs have always been used for the selfish wants of people. it’s the nature of the relationship. there are a lot of dogs running the Iditarod that are less abused then the 30-pound miniature poodle rolling around someone’s apartment like a bowling ball.

  4. The Iditarod is in trouble? It should be. It’s 2018. Forcing dogs to run 100 miles a day for 10 days straight, under the harshest of conditions, is indefensible. What “glory” is there in this spectacle when the dogs do nearly all the work?

    • Jennofur: nobody “forces” dogs to run. that is impossible. the worst case scenario would be that they are conditioned to run (see Pavlov) in such a way that they might push beyond their physiological limits and over-exert themselves. clearly that is the case with some dogs that are dropped at checkpoints and sent back to Anchorage. most of those dogs, like any tired athlete, recover and run again. but there is admittedly no real, long term tracking of what becomes of Iditarod dogs and whether any burnout after one or more grueling races.

  5. Dear Lord: I doubt if Fansler has ever been on the back of a sled in his life. He was the K300 race manager; after a couple of years his contract was not renewed.

    • I believe Fansler listed one of his hobbies as “mushing” but that doesn’t necessarily assume he keeps a kennel of dogs. Guess he could borrow some in Bethel.

    • Shepard: really? he lived in Bethel. i live in Anchorage, and i’ve been on the back of quite a number of sleds. it would seem anyone with access to a sled and a professed interest in mushing would at least get on a sled once. a race manager might even be called into service at some point to stand on the runners and hold a brake while someone messes with some dogs in the team, or jump a runaway sled to halt and protect a loose team, something i’ve done along the Iditarod Trail more than once.

      • Thanks for clearing that up, Shepard.
        Perhaps now we can just chock up Fansler’s penchant for slapping around his woman to his own feelings for BDSM “kink,” rather than his coming by it from first abusing his sled dogs (since he doesn’t have any).

    • your follow up to this came down when it turned out you were sending from a dummy email. if you can provide a real email for a real person, i’d be happy to repost the follow up. but at this point, there’s no way of knowing if you can find Bethel on a map, let alone how much you know about Fansler. i should probably take this comment down, too. but i’ll leave it up because others have responded to it.

      • Good call Craig…
        Shepard…speaking “oh lord” sounds more like the P.R. man out of San Fran…
        The Iditarod is hiring damage control that uses P.R. firms that are known to respond under fake handles.
        That Sam guy from Cali has done this in the past.

      • So, we have a practical joker among us. Just so it doesn’t come out that Fansler was handcuffing his sled dogs and whipping them with chains.

  6. So what if the Iditarod does  self-implode?  What would remain?  What would be the next chapter?   If anything?  A non-competitive parade of wealthy recreational mushers doing the trail as an ode to history?  Pampered Iditarod Trail mushing tourists trips for elite clientele from around the world?  Probably the trail used will be put in by the ITI for the urban dandies and millennial hipsters that want to ride their $10,000 fat bikes to Nome.  Bottom line: There will likely be no connection to real Alaskans on a post ITC Iditarod Trail.  It will just become a bucket list tourism check box for the world’s rich and bored.  Just like Everest.

    • James: define “real Alaskans.” the most real Alaskans i’ve met on the trail in the past 10 years – the two Joes, Joe Delia and Joe Redington being the measuring sticks – would some of those people on fat bikes, though i doubt the likes of Jeff Oatley or Phil Hofstetter have anywhere near $10,000 in their bikes.
      that said, here’s hoping Iditarod doesn’t implode.

      • So, you think nothing says Alaska like Joe Redington, the epitome of an animal abuser. The guy had over 500 dogs and he beat them. What a fake hero!

      • Lisbeth: there is a difference between spirit and behavior. it was a different time, and there were different rules. the world changes. i would suggest a reading of “Blood and Thunder.”

        the American frontier has been a classically violent place. Redington was here when Alaska was still a frontier. the rules by which everything happened were different. it is patently unfair to judge the people of yesteryear by the rules of today.

        Joe Redington was honest about his business. he wasn’t out there chanting some mantra about how it’s “all about the dogs” while executing the weak and building the strong in sometimes harsh conditions. dogs were, in Joe’s world, animals put on the earth to work for man – no more and no less.

        but in many ways, Joe lived a life as hard as his dogs did. i admire his spirit.

      • Why is it that people in Alaska think they need to prove that they’re “real Alaskans?” It seems pathological. Or, at the very least, demands uniformity of thought and behavior. It’s intolerant of diversity and creativity. People in other states don’t feel pressured to prove they’re real Californians, New Yorkers, etc. Heck, they don’t think I’m those terms.

      • Lisbeth: it demands neither intolerance of thought nor of behavior. it demands a certain toughness, for lack of another word, the acceptance of tolerance to ensure survival. it is arguably intolerant of the weak, as is the natural world, though not of diversity or creativity. i well remember a transexual who used to staff Iditarod checkpoints. she was a beeeg woman, if you remember the old song about Bertha Butts. and creativity is a necessity of survival in the north. at best one could argue Alaskans are expected to learn from the old Esquimaux. is that a bad thing?

    • i would wager going 1000 miles on a fat bike is harder than going 1000 miles by dog team. and a dog team that can win 1000 mile races is certainly worth in excess of $10000.

      • “Cowboy” Smith once remarked that (I paraphrase here) “anyone could hook up a team of dogs backwards and make it to Nome, but very few could get there in first place.”

      • Do we have an official document from the Iditarod stating that what Mitch has said is true? IFSS made the exact opposite statement about such supplements (and yes, I am aware that the Iditarod is not under IFSS jurisdiction – which speaks volumes). Funny how only the brand that Mitch uses and endorses is “safe” and “cleared.”

  7. Craig,
    You have been very helpful creating dialogue around this important issue.
    I can still remember Ramey’s post a few months back when he came out and said he was “blackmailed” by this dog gang.
    Not sure if you spoke to him on that serious accusation or not, but there is plenty coming out each day to shed light on this great travesty of spirit occurring up in the Arctic these days.
    Just yesterday, I heard of the accusations towards Mr. Fansler (a state rep) who also is in charge of managing the Kusko 300 Sled Dog race and also lists “Mushing” as one of his hobbies on the state website.
    These are the final straws “in the camels” back that we are witnessing.
    PETA is protesting events in front of Iditarod sponsor buildings throughout the lower 48.
    No corporations will sign on to this event in years to come, that I am certain of.
    This latest example of abuse by a musher shows Alaskans that animal abuse leads to human abuse and that is something we can no longer tolerate as a civil society.

    • What is missing from the article you linked to Steve, is what appears to be Fansler’s defense strategy; namely that he was into “kink” and that the slapping was something they were both into.
      And here is a text message from the woman to Fansler (day after incident) in that link: “I want to make it clear that being slapped was not the problem. I like that. You were too drunk and you weren’t listening to me. That’s why it was upsetting.”
      I know that this doesn’t fit into your “animal abuse leads to human abuse” theme but it could lead to some interesting correlations with BDSM and dog mushing, who knows?

      • Bill: i’ll only interject here to clarify the factual matter: the animal abuse/human abuse connection is not a theme. there’s a lot of science connecting the two. people who torture animals (as opposed to trying to kill them humanely to eat, something i’m pretty good at for better or worse) have been shown to have similar tendencies toward people.
        if Fansler really seriously into BDSM, it would raise some concerns for me about how he treats his dogs. i know of no studies on this, but my personal observations – having known a few mushers who abused women – was that they treated their dogs worse than they treated women. thankfully, my sample size there is small.
        Steve, of course, doesn’t think the Iditarod can be run without abusing dogs. i believe it can, and i’m sure you believe the same. but we appear to have approached a point where it is reasonable to ask what needs to be done to ensure this going forward.
        there is clearly a point at which the race can take so much out of the dogs that they’re only good for an Iditarod or two or three before they can’t run the pace needed to compete, and then what? i don’t think there’s the adoption capacity out there to handle a huge volume of Iditarod dogs that aren’t of race caliber anymore.
        if a dog’s useful racing years drop to two or three, who can afford to keep them? we’re looking at dogs that can live until they are 10 or 15. if you have to park dozens of them in the lot at age 5 or 6 because they’re just not fast enough anymore (and speed is the first thing to go), who can afford the accumulation of retirees?
        we’re living in new and interesting time as the Fansler defense illustrates.

      • My comment about “animal abuse leads to human abuse” was snark, by the way Craig. And the science that connects the two probably does not really cover the “leads to” but rather just the “connecting” IMO. Further, much of this science deals with whack-jobs that start out experimenting on animals and eventually moving on to humans-again, the “leads to” is misleading, at best.
        I have no idea about how seriously Fansler is into BDSM but it appears that he and the woman had discussed it much prior to the incident that has been referred to as “abuse,” which appears to suggest he was, at one time, serious.
        My experience with folks willing to treat animals inhumanely has been mostly relative to trapping and the eye opening thing for me, here, was the idea that the Bible has given us the ability to utilize the animals however we wish. Not sure just how this relates to the treatment of women, by men, but my guess is that it may well give “cover” for certain men who do their own interpretations of their own “word of their God.”
        I wholeheartedly agree that the working age of Iditarod dogs today makes it impossible to keep the numbers of dogs involved without some form of euthanasia. And our society will not permit any such thing IMO.

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