Wacky Quote of the Day – Topic: IdiocyRod Race

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On occasion, I read news stories and I’m floored by misinformation presented by one party or another – and sometimes a quote goes off the chart. The latest case comes from an AP story about the death of the sled dog during the 2013 IdiocyRod race.

In response to Dorado’s tragic death, the Iditarod Trail Committee states it will provide shelters at two major checkpoints and will more frequently check on dogs dropped off at these check points. It’s taken them all the way to 2013 to figure this out? Why did take race officials decades to understand that it’s cold and the weather can be harsh in Alaska?

And then the AP article quotes from a statement by a race officials:

“This type of self-examination is an important part of ITC’s historical commitment to the improvement of the welfare of the canine athletes that annually participate in the Race.”

When I got over the feeling that I was going to throw up, I read a second quote in the article –

“ITC does not believe it or any others acted negligently in any way relating to the death of Dorado or that Dorado’s death was foreseeable.”

So the dogs were tethered outside in harsh conditions that delayed officials from getting back to these dogs sooner – but the ITC doesn’t believe anyone is at fault.

I’m really not surprised that no race officials or participants want to take responsibility for this dog’s suffering.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Some thoughts about the media and dog racing

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Every time I read a news story reporting on greyhound racing or dog sled racing in a positive light, in what is typically a legitimate news outlet, it screams of poor journalism.

And for sports news outlets to report dog race results – the way the national media reports on the IdiocyRod, for example – ranks as a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10 on the journalism scale. Even if for just a moment, we put aside the cruelty involved in these industries, it ranks with reporting the results of a street-corner dice game in the ‘Sports’ section.

John Smith beat Howard Howey with role of seven in a back alley off Market Street – and won 10 bucks. More details at 11.

Report on more local sports. It is far better to report on the local recreation team that won its league tournament – or in the case of national media, do that too. Report more news about youth sports safety or on the U10 team that won a national tournament. Don’t waste space on crap; especially crap with a history of animal cruelty and death of animals on the race course.

But it also poor journalism to consistently ignore the primary issue within the subject matter you are reporting on. The major component within dog racing is the treatment and death of dogs. I’ve been a sports journalist too for 14 years. I would never want to cover a game without noting the primary news out of that game. Or I’d never want to write a feature about a particular sport or event or athlete, without mentioning the primary piece of information from that story.

I already hear the naysayers who don’t agree with me. They might be saying, ‘But wait, they are only reporting the results. They can’t mention the horrors of dog racing every time they cover a race.

But that’s the point. Why cover something in this way to begin with, knowing there are horrors behind the scenes? We don’t see dog-fight results in the paper for a reason. True, it’s illegal. But we also know it’s horrible.

Stop covering it and cover something else. Do this and maybe it could lead to dog racing going away for good.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

More troubling news out of greyhound racing and sled dog racing

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It’s never a good day for dogs suffering in greyhound racing and sled dog racing. But at least the public and the media are now focusing on their struggles.

The story of a dog that died in the 2013 IdiocyRod Sled Dog Race (Iditarod) is extremely troubling. Dorado was killed after being buried in drifting snow at a race drop-off point. He was taken off the sled team after reportedly moving “stiffly.”

He was dropped on Monday, March 11 and was not found until Friday. The article on the Harold-Standard website reports the claim that Dorado and other dogs at the drop off point were checked on at 3 a.m. that Friday and he was found dead as many as five hours later.

The question is – Why are the dogs left unattended at a drop off point on the race course for so many days? It seems some insiders are calling for changes. The article notes the requests include –

…. boosting the number of helpers at checkpoints to check on dogs more often, providing adequate shelter and increasing the number of flights to get the dogs out more quickly.

It’s 2013 and after decades of holding this race, they haven’t figured this out yet? They haven’t been checking on the dogs often enough and have not provided adequate shelter and delay going back to get the dogs.

The article includes the claim that the weather delayed the race officials from getting back to 135 dogs that had been dropped off at this site. Dorado and some of the others were left outside in this same bad weather.

Iditarod supporters – like dog racing supporters – are forever claiming the dogs have extremely good care. The facts don’t support these claims at all.

The ASPCA and GREY2K USA have teamed to bring to light the horrors of greyhound racing in Texas. A startling 1,507 greyhounds were injured at Texas racetracks between January 2008 and December 2011 – and 56 dogs died from those injuries.

From living in stacked cages to the injuries and deaths to being fed 4-D meat, the report is enough to make everyone understand that a ban on dog racing should be in place today.

The Galveston County Daily News ran a story about the dark side of dog racing, but a subscription is required to read it.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Discovery Channel video shows dark side of sled-dog racing

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Even the people interviewed in this video who support the Iditarod Sled Dog Race are admitting its bad news for the dogs.

A vet talks about the routine skeletal, muscle and joint injuries and a segment of the footage shows the inhumane housing used for the dogs. And a park official show how little she really knows about dogs.

But the single most incredible quote from the video comes from the Director of Public Relations for the Iditarod. He says –

There’s a thing called life and death. And it just happens.

And then he claims the dogs “have one of the most caring safety nets he’s ever seen in his life.” He obviously is sheltered in racing and hasn’t witnessed much in the outside world.

Conveniently, complete records are not kept, most notably on deaths in training or the deaths that occur after races, as noted by the Discovery Channel report. Like greyhound racing, the numbers are hidden back in the shadows. After all, it is the IdiocyRod.

And note that around the 4:10 mark in the video, you see a dog with a missing ear.

Disgusting article on Iditarod race

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A completely disgusting article is up on the NBC Sports website, reporting on the so-called ‘winner’ of the IdiocyRod Sled Dog Race, as the oldest person to ride in the back of the sled that crossed the finish line first in the animal-cruelty competition.

The sled-rider is 53 years old and was quoted as saying, “This is for all of the gentlemen of a certain age.” The story reported on his race time, when all he did was ride in the back of the sled. The lead paragraph claimed HE won the “grueling test of endurance.”

In reality, it was the dogs who suffered, while all he did was ride along – yes – in the cold weather. If he had pulled the sled or walked the 1,000 miles, that would be an achievement. The article went on to claim his “victory came after a dueling sprint” with another sled-rider. NO – the dogs sprinted.

And without noting the dogs that have died over the years in this event and the thousands that have reportedly been killed through the racer-selection process, the article gets mushy about how the riders hugged the dogs at the finish line.

The article was so full of crap, it nearly gummed up my desktop computer. I realize the writers were given an assignment to cover it, but they did not have to become race promoters. The best phrase I can come up with is – disgusting.

The reporting is beyond irresponsible and NBC Sports should issue an apology for posting the article on its website. I hope they don’t decide to start covering dog fights.


Great blog post about the Iditarod (IdiocyRod) – on Tucson Tails

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As she always does, Karyn Zoldan has provided some great information on the animal-welfare front – this time in reporting about the Iditarod Dog Sled Race – or as I’ve renamed it – “The IdiocyRod.” And she rightfully notes where sled dog racing is exactly like greyhound racing.

One of the many links she provided in the post offers some extremely important information. Unwanted dogs are “culled” (killed) reportedly by the thousands. Some are devocalized so they cannot bark. Some have their teeth cut down – without even using an anesthetic.

They live lives of confinement when they are not racing and dogs are inbred in hopes of producing better racers. Most all of this looks a lot like greyhound racing.

How a civilized society can allow this is beyond reason. And as Karen points out, companies are sponsoring the event. And sadly, it considered to be a sport. It is NOT a sport.


The IdiocyRod Sled Race begins in Alaska

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Yet another IdiocyRod Sled Race has started in Alaska – something commonly known as the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The name is derived from the word “idiot.” – Or at least the founders wanted to open the door for animal-welfare types like me to change it to IdiocyRod.

People who don’t yet understand the suffering the dogs endure, regularly praise the people who ride in the sled behind the dogs, as if they are somehow considered athletes. Let’s get this strait – they ride along in the sled. Sure – it’s cold out. But people get more work in by shoveling a long driveway after a big snowstorm.

I know supporters of the IdiocyRod will try to claim I don’t know what I’m taking about. (It’s a weak try, but they might try.) They’ll claim the dogs get great care and that the biped participants are world-class athletes. Yeah – right. And puppy mill operators and the greyhound racing industry always claim their dogs get the best care and that they truly love animals. Thankfully, most people don’t buy it.

The first real sports story from this annual event will only arise when the humans are strapped in front of the sled and the dogs get to ride in the back. Or better yet, just leave the dogs inside where it’s warm and comfy and let the humans pull around sleds loaded with bricks for hundreds of miles or more.

I’d actually watch that event on TV.