Third dog dies in the 2024 Iditarod

Another dog died Tuesday outside a checkpoint during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, bringing the number of sled dog deaths in this year’s contest up to three.

Around 10:15 a.m., a 3-year-old male named Henry on rookie Calvin Daugherty’s team “collapsed on the trail roughly 10 miles before reaching the Shaktoolik checkpoint,” said a statement from race marshal Warren Palfrey.

Palfrey said the musher, who is from Sterling, administered CPR but efforts to revive the dog weren’t successful. A pathologist will conduct a necropsy to try to determine the dog’s cause of death, Palfrey said.

Daugherty scratched at Shaktoolik just before 12:30 p.m. under the Iditarod’s Rule 42, race officials said. In the event of a dog’s death, the rule states that a competitor may voluntarily scratch; be withdrawn from competition; or be allowed to continue under an exception allowed for an “unpreventable hazard,” such as a moose encounter.

Two sled dogs died earlier in the nearly thousand-mile race Sunday: a 2-year-old named Bog on rookie Isaac Teaford’s team and a 4-year-old named George on the team of second-year Iditarod musher Hunter Keefe. Both competitors dropped out of the race under the Iditarod rules.

The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a vocal critic of the Iditarod and competitive dog mushing, has long called for the race to be dismantled over dog deaths and what it calls the inhumane treatment of dogs in long-distance mushing. PETA has also pushed corporate sponsors to drop their support of the Iditarod.

Tracy Reiman, PETA’s executive vice president, said in a statement Tuesday afternoon: “The Iditarod is the shame of Alaska. How many more dogs need to die before this stops? Dogs’ lives are worth more than this.”


The three deaths in the 2024 Iditarod are the race’s first since 2019.

In 2017, five dogs died during the Iditarod, according to the group Humane Mushing, which tracks the incidents. That year, three dogs collapsed on the trail and died, and a fourth dog died after overheating on a plane the Iditarod chartered to fly dogs returned at a checkpoint. Another dropped dog got loose from a handler in Anchorage after being released from Iditarod care, and was hit and killed by a car.

The death of the dog on Daugherty’s team Tuesday was announced as five-time champion Dallas Seavey was less than 20 miles from the finish line in Nome, en route to securing his record-breaking sixth win.

On Tuesday night, Iditarod CEO Rob Urbach said that the organization is waiting to get full necropsy reports on the dogs.

“When we get all the reports back, we’ll see if there’s anything,” he said.

He added that the Iditarod is “an evolving organization, and we’ll continue, if there’s something we can learn from this, I’m sure we’ll apply it going forward.”

Daugherty’s departure from the race brings this year’s number of musher scratches to seven as of Tuesday evening, out of a field of 38 competitors who started the race.

The Daily News’ Chris Bieri contributed reporting from Nome.