ANCHORAGE (KTUU) Mitch Seavey, the 2017 Iditarod champion and three-time winner of the Last Great Race, says he has not decided if he will take part in the 2018 Iditarod.
"The mushers are not happy, and I'm concerned about what has happened to Dallas" Mitch Seavey said Wednesday afternoon, adding that he as, "not decided one way or the other whether I will race."
Mitch Seavey's concerns are over the way his son, fellow musher and four-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey, was treated during an investigation that race officials say revealed four of Dallas Seavey's dogs test positive for a banned substance after the 2017 race ended.
Dallas Seavey has denied giving his dogs the opioid pain killer Tramadol and believes someone gave the medication to his dogs to sabotage his team.
"I absolutely support Dallas" said Mitch Seavey. "He says he's never given a banned substance to his dogs, I absolutely believe him, and furthermore, it would make absolutely no sense to give banned substance to your own dogs hours before a know drug test. That would be ridiculous."
Mitch Seavey agreed with his son that security measures along the trail and at the finish in Nome need to be improved to prevent possible tampering with the dogs and mushers' supplies.
The elder Seavey also says race officials need to address mushers' concerns about procedures if a team's dogs test positive for a banned substance.
Dallas Seavey said there needs to be an independent review board to allow mushers to plead their case if they are accused. His father expressed similar concerns Wednesday.
"Mushers are frustrated and there's a lack of confidence there, and I think there's quite a number of mushers who wonder 'am I going to be next?' and I think that's something that can be worked out" Mitch Seavey said.
Mitch Seavey also wants to see conversations about a recent rule change that puts the burden of proof on mushers to prove they didn't give their dogs banned substances if tests come back positive.
"What I'd like to see is a rational conversation between board members and mushers and other interested people, knowledgeable people, how do we come up with something practical that really works? You can't have hot and cold and nowhere in between without a workable solution."