Target: Honorable Johan A. Earthman, District Attorney, Second Judicial Attorney’s Office: Nome, Alaska
Goal: Penalize caretakers of Iditarod sled dog that died from being left out in freezing temperatures
Dorado, an Iditarod sled dog, died of asphyxiation recently after owner Paige Drobny dropped him from her sled team. Caretakers left him outdoors overnight in negative 15-degree temperatures, where Dorado was buried in snow drifts, resulting in his death. According to Alaskan law, Drobny and the Iditarod caretakers did not do their duty as a animal guardians. Regardless of the dog’s performance in the race, he was entitled to shelter and safety. Activists are now asking that responsible parties be penalized for Dorado’s death.
Dorado was found dead on Friday, March 15 in Unalakleet, Alaska, less than 300 miles from the race’s finish. There, Dorado joined several other ‘dropped’ dogs, who were checked periodically throughout the night. While most dropped dogs were able to stay inside, about three-dozen, including Dorado, were kept in an outdoor lot for lack of space. Caretakers say Dorado was a healthy, normal dog the day before his death.
Paige Drobny was essentially a beginner at the Iditarod. She owns a dog kennel in Fairbanks, Alaska. Despite the death of her dog, Drobny remained in the race for nearly a week, until her finish at thirty-fourth place. Her husband, Cody Strathe, also a musher and co-owner of Drobny’s kennel, blames caretakers along the trail for Dorado’s death. As he told the Associated Press, “We thought that our dog was being cared for. That’s the race organization’s responsibility. We, as mushers, trusted them.”
The Iditarod has already been under fire from animal rights groups for its cruel treatment of sled dogs. In this instance, various groups involved in Dorado’s death blame each other for his neglect. Ask the District Attorney to penalize parties responsible for Dorado’s death.
Dear Mr. Earthman,
Last week, a healthy Iditarod sled dog died of asphyxiation after being left outdoors overnight in negative temperatures and buried in snow. The dog, named Dorado, was dropped from his owner’s sled team in Unalakleet, about 250 miles from the race’s finish. Now, responsible parties are blaming each other for the dog’s cruel and untimely death. Regardless, it stands that whoever is to blame must be punished for the neglectful treatment of this animal and his consequent death. This is not only the law in the state of Alaska, it is also the ethical action in regards to this creature’s life. Dorado trained his entire life to be a working sled dog and died alone in the cold for his troubles.
The Iditarod is already perceived negatively by animal rights advocates for its treatment of sled dogs overall. This glaringly obvious example must not go unpunished. I ask you to prosecute caretakers responsible for Dorado’s death.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Frank Kovalchek via Wikimedia