Six Dogs Died in This Year's Iditarod

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Originally Posted: 9 April 2009

Six Dogs Died in This Year's Iditarod

From Lucy Shelton

Contact Iditarod supporters and demand they withdraw sponsorship and support for this grueling cruelty to dogs masquerading as sport.

If ever there was a time to write letters, the time is now.

This grueling race is an unreasonable distance for the dogs. The 1150 miles is more than the distance from Maine to Florida. This is a RACE, so the dogs are running as fast as they can, over mountain ranges, ice, snow, in harsh conditions (below freezing, wind chill, etc.). It’s known as the toughest race on earth. The total known dog deaths is now 142.

The Alaska cruelty statue that would apply to the sled dogs was changed last year to exempt them. Our only hope to end this horribly cruel race is for sponsors to withdraw their support. This is a perfect time to get their attention, before they commit to sponsor next year, especially if they have to go through board meetings.

Please write, fax, or email to the main sponsors below. Keep in mind that mailed letters are given more significance, than faxed letters. In speaking personally with some of the sponsors, form letters are looked at with less importance, so please personalize them. The below letter is what I intend to send, I’m including it so you can see some of the facts, but please use your own words.


Howard I. Atkins, CFO - Senior EVP
Richard M. Kovacevich, Chairman
John G. Stumpf, President, Chief Executive Officer
Wells Fargo & Company
420 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94163
Phone: 866 878 5865
Fax: 866 494 1598
Email (Deborah Frank, Exec. Assistant to Atkins)

Rex W. Tillerson, Chairman, CEO
5959 Las Colinas Blvd.
Irving, TX 75039-2298
Phone: 972 444 1000
Fax: 972 444 1198, 866 751 5441 – Customer Service
Exxon website, “Contact us”
email and email

Ronald Duncan - President, CEO
General Communications, Inc. (GCI)
2550 Denali St., Suite 1000
Anchorage, AK 99503-2751
Phone: 800 770 7886, 907 265 5600
Fax: 907-868-5676

Robert L. Nardelli, Chairman & CEO
Steven Landry, Exec. V.P.
Chrysler Corporation (Anchorage Chrysler Dodge, Sponsor)
1000 Chrysler Drive
Auburn, MI 48326
Phone: 800-992-1997
Fax: 248 512 1922
Chrylsler website (scroll to bottom “Contact us”, Customer Assistance, “email”

Michael Ellis, President
Fred Meyer Corp.
P. O. Box 42121
Portland, OR 97242
Phone: 800 858 9202, 503 797 3830
Fax: 503 797 7923

Dave Dillion, President & CEO
Kroger Co. (Parent company of Fred Meyer)
1014 Vine St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Phone: 513 762 4000
Fax: 513 762 1400

David J. O’Reilly, Chairman & CEO
6001 Bollinger Canyon Rd.
San Ramon, CA 94583
Phone: 925 842 1000
Fax: 925 842 6047

Gregg Steinhafel, President & CEO
Target Corp. (Sponsors “Teacher on the Trail” Program)
Mailstop: TFS 1A-X, PO Box 9350 (Especially good for teachers to write)
Minneapolis, MN 55440
Phone: 800 440 0680

SAMPLE LETTER - please use your own words

Dear Mr. ______________,

My family and I are extremely upset that ______________ sponsors the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. SIX dogs died this year! This race is cruel and inhumane to the sled dogs, and should be stopped. There are laws in 38 states against "over-driving" and "over-working" animals, and this is exactly what the Iditarod is.

Sure, the dogs love to run, but not such a grueling 1150-mile RACE. This race is a dog-killer almost every year. As far back as records go a total of 142 have died, including this year's six. These dogs are the best-conditioned dogs in the world, due to their training year-round. The mushers start out with 16 dogs and only about half the dogs make it to the finish line, which should indicate how arduous this race is for them.

When the dogs are not racing, they are either “training” or tethered, --each and every dog short-chained to their own small dog house, even in snow and below freezing weather. This is considered inhumane and is illegal in many communities. These magnificent dogs are essentially treated like machines,--little engines that drive the sled and musher.

It's all about the money and glory for the mushers. Consider the prize money (hundreds of thousand dollars divided between the top 30 mushers) and the money it brings in to Alaska, at the expense of the dogs. How many dogs have to die before this brutal race is stopped?

In the 1925 historical run, which the Iditarod is promoted to supposedly commemorate, the Anchorage to Nome diphtheria serum run, "a train carried the medication from Anchorage to Nenana. From there the dogs ran the remaining 674 miles in relays to Norton Sound and up the Bering Sea Coast to Nome. There were 20 serum mushers with dog teams and no dog ran over 92 miles." This was taken from the Sled Dog Action Coalition.

Please stop sponsoring this horribly cruel race. We would appreciate your response.


See Iditarod: A Tough Journey for Dogs.

For more information, visit Sled Dog Action Coalition.

Thank you for everything you do for animals!

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