Iditarod no more than dog abuse

by Jon Saraceno
USA Today
March 5, 2001

Margery Glickman’s intent wasn’t to become a crusader when she made that fateful summertime trip to Alaska nearly three years ago. Vacationing with her two teenage boys, she wanted to explore and enjoy the awe-inspiring beauty of our 49th state.

Instead, she was horrified. “I saw something that was very disturbing to me — and I was angry,” she says.

Today, she remains an advocate for our four-legged friends who cannot express their agony and distress, at least not in human terms. “I’m not a professional animal-rights activist,” Glickman says. “I continue to be persistent because I continue to be outraged.” Read more…

Iditarod, hailed as greatest dog race? Call it grotesque shame, animal abuse

by Greg Cote
Miami Herald
March 5, 2002

The dogs are running again, in many cases running until they drop, in some cases running until they die.

The 30th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is underway in Alaska to see which team can trek 1,100 miles the fastest. Last year’s winner made it in nine days. The bizarre competition involves 65 “mushers,” drivers along for the ride as their slaves — 16-dog teams, at least at the start — do the hard labor, at times encouraged by their masters’ whips.

It is March madness of a too literal sort.

Dogs die; it is a matter of how many. The Iditarod toll was 117 deaths as the latest race commenced Saturday. The real figure is higher because casualties from the early years are not known. The figure excludes dogs who perish in training, or who later die as a result of the sanctioned torture. Read more…

Iditarod dog deaths unjustifiable

by George Diaz
Orlando Sentinel
March 5, 2000

The unofficial death count is 114, though the numbers lie because it isn’t possible to follow all the bloody paw prints of innocent animals that have died in the name of this barbaric “sport.”

They have been strangled in towlines, gouged by sleds, suffered liver injury, heart failure, pneumonia and “external myopathy,” a condition in which a dog’s muscles and organs deteriorate during extreme or prolonged exercise.

A previous race winner was banned in 1990 after accusations that he struck a dog with a snow hook. In 1985, a woman musher (dog sled driver) watched the race from the sidelines after a moose stomped on her team of dogs. Read more…

Iditarod’s claim to shame: dead dogs

by Jim Reeves
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
March 1, 2003

Today is the day when the dogs begin to die.

The annual I-Killed-A-Dog Race starts today in Alaska.

That Arlington’s Randy Chappel is among the 65 mushers who will drive a team of dogs 1,150 miles — about the distance between New York and Orlando or Fort Worth and Cleveland — brings the story home even more poignantly.

The real question is not who will win this year’s Iditarod. The question is this: How many dogs will die to make it happen? Read more…

On your mark, set… let the cruelty begin

by Jon Saraceno
USA Today
March 3, 2000

Tom Classen has lived outside the “lower 48” for more than 40 years. The retired 81-year-old Air Force colonel has long enjoyed the inspiring beauty of his state, where themes of outdoor adventure and rugged individualism dominate.

This is the weekend he dreads.

This is the time of year when he hangs his head in shame at the ugliness of some of his fellow Alaskans. Classen suffers, but not in silence. “God,” he pleads, “we’ve got to stop this damn killing.”

He is angry. I felt the same way last summer when, vacationing in Alaska, I was forced to listen to Susan Butcher’s propaganda about the Iditarod. The champion musher trotted out her puppies in a well-rehearsed pretense designed to whitewash the bloodshed of what I call the “Ihurtadog.” Read more…