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PETA calls for Iditarod shutdown after 2 dogs collapse and die

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is calling for the shutdown of Alaska’s Iditarod sled dog race after two dogs collapsed and died.

“The death count keeps climbing for dogs who are forced to run until their bodies break down, all so the human winner can get a trophy while the dogs get an icy grave,” PETA Senior Vice President Colleen O’Brien said in a statement.

PETA’s call to action followed the death Sunday of a 2-year-old male dog named Bog, who collapsed near the race’s Nulato checkpoint. The dog’s musher, Isaac Teaford, had three other dogs that already were pulled from the race due to exhaustion, illness or injury, PETA said.

The Iditarod Trail Committee said CPR was administered to Bog for 20 minutes. A necropsy will be conducted by a board-certified pathologist to determine the cause of death, the statement said.

“PETA is calling for this despicable race to end before more dogs like Bog pay with their lives,” O’Brien’s statement said.

The advocacy organization called for Teaford to be removed from the race, which began March 2 and goes until Sunday.

George, a 4-year-old male on the team of musher Hunter Keefe also collapsed on the trail and died, USA Today reported.

Teaford dropped out of the race later that day, the Committee said in a separate statement. Keefe also withdrew from the race after George’s death, USA Today reported.

“Up to half the dogs who start the Iditarod don’t finish it,” PETA said. “During last year’s race–which had the smallest field of mushers in the event’s – approximately 175 dogs were pulled off the trail due to exhaustion, illness, injury, or other causes, forcing the remaining dogs to run under an even greater strain.”

PETA said the leading cause of death for dogs in the race is aspiration pneumonia, caused by inhaling their own vomit.

The race’s official dog death toll doesn’t include others who were killed during the race or during the off-season, PETA said.

The Hill has reached out to the Iditarod Trail Committee for comment.

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