Iditarod Trail Committee Releases Findings on Dog Death

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by Jake Ryle

ANCHORAGE, Alaska--Less than two weeks after the death of one of the sled dogs in this year's Iditarod, the race's Trail Committee released its findings on the death of sled dog named, "Dorado".

Dorado died Friday morning after suffocating under the snow at the Unalakleet checkpoint. The dog's musher, Paige Drobny, dropped Dorado off on March 11.

Weather hazards provided less than ideal conditions for working with the sled dogs. High winds grounded flights to and from Unalakleet, which led to more than 130 dropped dogs at the checkpoint. Of those 130 dogs, approximately 100 were moved indoors inside a hangar on Thursday night. The rest spent the night outside.

Iditarod race officials say a veterinarian checked on the dogs at approximately 3:30 a.m. to ensure they were properly tethered and in otherwise good condition; however, the next check-in on the dogs five hours later showed 8 dogs had been covered by snow.

In reaction to this event--the Trail Committee launched an investigation into what safety measurements can be utilized while at checkpoints for dog drop-offs. Here's a look into their findings:

 "As of this date, decisions have been made to construct dog boxes to be located at the hub communities of McGrath and Unalakleet, to arrange for more frequent flights which will have the effect of shortening the time that a dropped dog remains in a checkpoint, and to conduct even more frequent patrols of the dropped dog lots."