An Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race dog died in Unalakleet early Friday morning in what its race marshal called “an incident caused by high winds and drifting snow,” four days after it was dropped from a musher’s team.
In an email to Iditarod staff, Race Marshal Mark Nordman says Dorado was dropped from Fairbanks musher Paige Drobny’s team. Drobny reached Nome at 9:15 a.m. Thursday, finishing in 34th place with 10 dogs on her team.
“An otherwise healthy dog, (Dorado) was dropped in Unalakleet on Monday, March 11, and was waiting to be transported back to Anchorage,” Nordman wrote in an email to Iditarod staff. “Unfortunately, sustained high winds in the area have made it difficult for us to move dropped dogs as quickly as usual.”
Iditarod spokesperson Erin McLarnon says Dorado was being kept in an outdoor dropped-dog area in Unalakleet, but officials don’t yet know exactly what happened.
“The dog was found in a snowdrift this morning,” McLarnon said. “We don’t believe that he was loose.”
McLarnon routed further questions on the incident to Nordman, who wasn’t immediately available by phone Friday.
Iditarod officials say a necropsy will be conducted to determine Dorado’s cause of death. The incident is the first dog death reported in this year’s race.
Editor's note: Iditarod officials have corrected the spelling of Dorado's name, after an initial press release listed it as both Dorado and "Durado."
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