This Bank Needs to Run Away From the Iditarod Death Race

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Update: A whistleblower has come forward with disturbing photographs and video footage that apparently reveal dying puppies and injured, sick dogs at a kennel reportedly owned by Dallas Seavey, the four-time Iditarod champion who was recently implicated in a dog-doping scandal. According to the whistleblower, operators at the Willow, Alaska, kennel allowed severely injured and ailing dogs to suffer—sometimes fatally—without veterinary care. The whistleblower reported finding a litter of seven newborn puppies who had died within the past month without any veterinary intervention. Many other dogs reportedly suffered from bloody diarrhea and vomiting, puncture and bite wounds, and torn ears. The whistleblower reported that handlers allegedly picked up dogs by their throats and threw them to "punish" them for fighting or not obeying commands.

This follows a veteran musher's revelation that she believed that some trainers—including those at Seavey's kennels—have killed "hundreds on top of hundreds or more dogs" because they were deemed slow or unfit for races. She wrote, "Sadly, this has been going on in the family 'dynasty' for decades."

PETA has urged Alaskan authorities to investigate all allegations.

These puppies, seen chewing on Pedialyte-soaked sponges, later reportedly die.

Despite the growing list of Iditarod ex-sponsors, Alaska's Northrim Bank has become a new supporter of the bloody race.

In just one week of the 2017 race—when temperatures hit 30 degrees below or colder for days at a time—five dogs died. One got away from his handler and was hit by a car, another died of hyperthermia on a plane, and three others died on the trail, one likely from choking on his own vomit. More than 150 dogs have been killed in the race's history—not counting those who died during the year while kept on chains or who were killed because they lacked the rare speed and stamina to make the cut.

Alaska has some of the worst weather on the planet, and the ill-fated Iditarod dogs must run through whiteouts, sleet, subzero temperatures, and strong, biting winds while pulling heavy sleds. They're forced to run nearly 1,000 miles—roughly the distance from Orlando, Florida, to New York City—in under two weeks. On average, they must run 100 miles a day, with only a few brief periods of rest. Their feet may become bruised, bloodied, cut by ice, and worn out because of the vast distances that they cover. Many pull muscles, incur stress fractures, or are afflicted with diarrhea, dehydration, intestinal viruses, or aspiration pneumonia , which is caused by inhaling their own vomit and likely happened to the dog Flash in 2017. Up to half of the dogs who start the race don't finish.

© Sled Dogs Film

As a new Iditarod sponsor, Northrim Bank shamefully replaces Wells Fargo, which severed all ties with the Iditarod after hearing from PETA earlier this year. This sponsorship flies in the face of the growing list of companies—including Costco, Maxwell House, Nestlé, Pizza Hut, Rite Aid, Safeway, and State Farm—that will no longer sponsor this death race. Please join PETA in urging Northrim Bank to end its sponsorship of this abusive race in which dogs are run to their deaths.

Northrim Bank

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