Dorado, a five-year-old dog, die of asphyxiation on Friday. Of the dropped dogs, Dorado was one of several left outside. About 100 dogs were kept in an indoor facility. PETA (Pets for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) in a press release claims that at least 20 dogs used in the 1,000-plus-mile sled dog race have died since 2005. PETA complains that the dogs suffer from sore wrists, bloody paws, hypothermia, gastic ulcers and "sled-dog myopathy" (being run to death). More than half of the dogs who start the race do not make it across the finish line, although PETA doesn't say if this is related to health problems. PETA also claims that 81 percent of the dogs who finish the race suffer from lung damage.
Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch is quoted in the press release as saying, ""Once again, we've seen that when mushers chase prize money, it's the dogs who pay the price—in Dorado's case, with his life. Dorado's death was as horrific as it was preventable, and PETA is calling on the district attorney's office to hold those responsible for this tragedy accountable."
According to the Associated Press that the actual owners of the dog, rookie musher Paige Drobny and her husband Cody Strathe, aren't pressing charges, but asking the race to change the way they look after the dropped dogs.
If you're like me and thought that Alaskan dogs could weather out a snow storm by curling up in the snow, that is true, but in some cases, the snow can be packed so hard that it forms an airtight chamber. That means the dog breathes in all the carbon dioxide expelled by its own breath. The dog doesn't get enough oxygen and dies in its sleep.
On the Facebook page for Drobny's kennel, Squid Acres Kennel, Drobny and her husband posted, "It is now time for a change in the way that dropped dogs are cared for, so that his death is not in vain. DOGS FIRST!"
As for the PETA action, Squid Acre Kennel posted this on Facebook, "Thanks for all of the discussion and comments on the current situation, we find ourselves in the middle of an aweful storm and we remain confident that it will all come out for the better of the sport and in turn the dogs. Let us move forward with a positive attitude and constructive thoughts."