A doggone disgrace!
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP):
Cycling. Baseball. Track. Horse racing. Now dogsledding has become the latest professional sport to be engulfed in a doping scandal, this one involving the huskies that dash across the frozen landscape in Alaska's grueling, 1,000-mile Iditarod.
The governing board of the world's most famous sled dog race disclosed Monday that four dogs belonging to four-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey tested positive for a banned substance, the opioid painkiller Tramadol, after his second-place finish last March.
It was the first time since the race instituted drug testing in 1994 that a test came back positive.
Seavey strongly denied giving any banned substances to his dogs, suggesting instead that he may have been the victim of sabotage by another musher or an animal rights activist. He accused the Iditarod of lax security at dog-food drop-off points and other spots.
Race officials said he will not be punished because they were unable to prove he acted intentionally. That means he will keep his titles and his $59,000 in winnings this year.
But the finding was another blow to the Iditarod, which has seen the loss of major sponsors, numerous dog deaths, attacks on competitors and pressure from animal rights activists, who say huskies are run to death or left with severe infections and bloody paws.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals seized on the scandal yesterday.
"If a member of the Iditarod's 'royalty' dopes dogs, how many other mushers are turning to opioids in order to force dogs to push through the pain?" PETA said in a statement. It added: "This doping scandal is further proof that this race needs to end."