ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race board voted Friday to make a longstanding kennel care program mandatory for all mushers participating in the 2019 race.
The program, known as Mush with P.R.I.D.E., was first designed in the early 1990's as a way to give guidelines on humane treatment of sled dogs to mushers.
"If you show up in a kennel and can't show me a bag of dog food, something is wrong," said four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser.
The program also helped newer mushers learn responsible dog care tips from seasoned veterans.
"We just wanted to disseminate information," said Buser. "We tried not to micromanage because what works here might not work there."
The idea was to design guidelines that could be broad enough to be applicable for dog owners across the world.
Mush with P.R.I.D.E. which stands for Providing Responsible Information on a Dog's Environment, gave an exhaustive list of guidelines to mushers.
There were long descriptions on how to feed, train and house sled dogs as well as detailed diagrams.
Before racing to Nome in 2019, all mushers will need to sign up to the guidelines and self-certify. Inspections with a detailed checklist would then only occur if there was a credible report of non-compliance.
In an email, three-time Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey wrote that mushers won’t have a problem with the standards because most exceed them anyway.