Protect Alaskan Sled Dogs!

40,380 signatures toward our 50,000 Goal

80.76% Complete

Sponsor: The Animal Rescue Site

Each year, the Iditarod race drives sled dogs to gruesome deaths. Help reform Alaska's animal cruelty laws!


The graceful beauty and power of a husky barreling through snow shouldn't invoke feelings of suffering and torture. But every year since 1973, during Alaska's 1,000-mile Iditarod race in early March, hundreds are forced into a state-sanctioned nightmare1.

The Iditarod has long been controversial for its treatment of sled dogs. They're whipped and driven to run more than 100 miles a day in sub-zero temperatures2. And while the power to keep those dogs safe lies with the State of Alaska, exemptions are actually in place precluding the dogs from protection under animal cruelty laws3.

In almost all of the Iditarod races, at least one dog death has occurred.

At least 147 dogs have died in the history of the race, with 15 to 19 falling dead from overwork in the very first, in 19734. At least 107 dogs were dead after the 1997 race. In 2009, five dogs died, leaving local veterinarians and animal rights workers helpless to do anything but watch5.

Throughout the years, dogs have been struck and killed by a snowmachines and snowmobiles6. Others are worked so hard that they spit up intestinal fluids, which are just as quickly inhaled, leading to "aspiration induced pneumonia7."

The dogs that aren't killed by machines are killed by the effects of hyperexhaustion as they burn over 12,000 calories a day, for 9 straight days or longer. Their bodies are later tossed into the dump8.

"That first race (1973), from Anchorage to McGrath, all you could see along the trail was dog blood and dead dogs," McGrath, AK resident Ted Almasy told the Wasilla Frontiersman 1986. "That's when I got into it with them. After each Iditarod, we used to see dead dogs at the dump. You'd see them poor dogs, blood coming out of both ends9."

This is not how these dogs deserve to live.

Sign below and tell the Governor of Alaska to remove the clause exempting competition sled dogs from its animal cruelty laws.

More on this issue:

  1. Anchorage.net (2022), "2022 Iditarod Sled Dog Race."
  2. Brian Phillips, ESPN, (5 May 2013)"Out in the Great Alone."
  3. Sled Dog Action Coalition (2022), "Iditarod dog kennel horrors No animal protection laws."
  4. Sled Dog Action Coalition (2022), "Dog deaths."
  5. Sled Dog Action Coalition (2022), "Iditarod Questions & Answers."
  6. Austin Sjong, Alaska's News Source (25 January 2022), "Musher whose dog team was hit by a truck last week has pulled out of Iditarod, Willow 300."
  7. Dr. Justine A. Lee, DVM, DACVECC, Pet Health Network (2021), "Aspiration Pneumonia in Dogs."
  8. Craig Medred (25 October 2017), "Iditarod deaths."
  9. Earl Gustkey, Los Angeles Times (24 March 1986), "THE IDITAROD : Mushers Follow Call of the Wild, but Their Dogs' 1,000-Mile Race Across Alaska's Frozen Wastes Is Enough to Give Anyone Paws."
To Top

The Petition:

To the Governor of Alaska,

There is overwhelming support by the people of your state and of the rest of the country, to end the needless deaths carried out every year at the hands of the Iditarod Race. The same animal cruelty protections afforded to the animals in our homes should be extended to the sled dogs of this race. There is simply no excuse not to.

In almost all of the Iditarod races, at least one dog death has occurred. According to the Sled Dog Action Commission, at least 147 dogs have died in the history of the race, with 15 to 19 falling dead from overwork in the very first, 43 years ago. At least 107 dogs were dead after the 1997 race, as reported by the Anchorage Daily News at the time. In 2009, five dogs died, leaving local veterinarians and animal rights workers helpless to do anything but watch.

The dogs that aren't killed by machines are killed by the effects of hyperexhaustion as they burn over 12,000 calories a day, for 9 straight days or longer. Their bodies are later tossed into the dump.

"That first race (1973), from Anchorage to McGrath, all you could see along the trail was dog blood and dead dogs," McGrath, AK resident Ted Almasy told the Wasilla Frontiersman 1986. "That's when I got into it with them. After each Iditarod, we used to see dead dogs at the dump. You'd see them poor dogs, blood coming out of both ends."

Governor, this is not how these dogs deserve to live, and I ask that the State of Alaska remove the clause exempting competition sled dogs from its animal cruelty laws.

Sincerely,

To Top

Signatures: