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The graceful beauty and power of a husky barreling through snow shouldn’t invoke feelings of suffering and torture. But every year since 1973, during Alaska’s 1,000-mile Iditarod race in early March, hundreds are forced into a state-sanctioned nightmare.
The Iditarod has long been controversial for its treatment of sled dogs. They’re whipped and driven to run more than 100 miles a day in sub-zero temperatures. And while the power to keep those dogs safe lies with the State of Alaska, exemptions are actually in place precluding the dogs from protection under animal cruelty laws.
Hardly an Iditarod has been held in which a dog did not die.
In almost all of the Iditarod races, at least one dog death has occurred. According to the Sled Dog Action Commission, at least 147 dogs have died in the history of the race, with 15 to 19 falling dead from overwork in the very first, 43 years ago. At least 107 dogs were dead after the 1997 race, as reported by the Anchorage Daily News at the time. In 2009, five dogs died, leaving local veterinarians and animal rights workers helpless to do anything but watch.
“Last year, three dogs died. That is near the average for the Iditarod, and the causes of two of the 2008 deaths were quickly obvious,” the Alaska Dispatch News reported the gruesome state of the race in 2009. “One dog was struck and killed by a snowmachine. The other had at some point during the race spit up intestinal fluids and then inhaled them. It was dropped at a checkpoint along the trail and flown back to Anchorage only to die here of what is called ‘aspiration induced pneumonia.'”
The dogs that aren’t killed by machines are killed by the effects of hyperexhaustion as they burn over 12,000 calories a day, for 9 straight days or longer. Their bodies are later tossed into the dump.
That first race (1973), from Anchorage to McGrath, all you could see along the trail was dog blood and dead dogs,” McGrath, AK resident Ted Almasy told the Wasilla Frontiersman 1986. “Thats when I got into it with them. After each Iditarod, we used to see dead dogs at the dump. Youd see them poor dogs, blood coming out of both ends.’
This is not how these dogs deserve to live.
Sign below and tell Bill Walker, Governor of Alaska, to remove the clause exempting competition sled dogs from its animal cruelty laws.
This article is shared from: http://theanimalrescuesite.greatergood.com/clickToGive/ars/home
I am alone in my wanderings for a long time, but it hadn’t always been so. I have vague memories–little scraps of images–from the past: the tumble and tussle of warm fur, the shimmer of sun on my brother’s back, the freckle on my sister’s snout. We grew up and dispersed, given away from a box in a grocery store parking lot to anyone who would take us. We were held up and cooed over, and carried off under various people’s arms.
The person who took me changed his mind, tied me up in the back yard for months–with intermittent water and food–and then finally took me on a car ride and left me on the side of the road. I’ve been fending for myself since then. Sometimes I’m thirsty, sometimes I’m cold, often I am hungry.
This morning, a man saw me, stooped down and called to me. I approached him warily and then darted away. I have trouble trusting people. I just spotted him again. He is carrying a bowl that smells heavenly.
He sits quietly beside the bowl and I approach, then back away, then approach again. With one last sideways glance at the man, I lean toward the bowl and begin to eat. The man reaches out his hand and strokes my fur, first tentatively, then steadily. His voice is kind. When he slips a lead around my neck, he bends down to my level and says, “Come with me; we will find you a home” I go with him, to the first warmth and comfort I’ve known in a long time.
What does it take of us to help an animal in need? A bit of time, perhaps, and some inconvenience. We’ve helped one animal to suffer less. This small victory does not have a widespread impact, but it certainly changes the world for that one animal.
It’s easy to bypass an animal in distress, a lost dog, a stray cat, injured creature, a starving animal. It’s easy to turn away and to assume that others will do something. Most of us don’t do anything. It requires giving of ourselves or our time in some small capacity, and we’re busy, busy, busy. I believe that each time we turn away, some small portion of our humanity is eroded.
Years ago I made an agreement with myself: when I see an animal in need, I will do whatever I can to remedy the situation. I’ve found that “whatever I can do” is generally more than I had originally thought. This has led me to capture stray dogs and humanely trap stray cats and deliver them to the SPCA, to gently instruct children and others in kindness to animals, to intervene when I see human cruelty to animals, to become a vegetarian, to inconveniently arrive late at meetings when I’m rescuing an animal. I sleep better at night for all this.
My dream is to have a widespread impact on humane treatment of animals. If each of us engaged in some small gesture of kindness, of help toward animals, so much suffering could be reduced. Will you join me?
I stare up at the knotty pine ceiling in this sweet old cottage and see dog faces. There’s one that looks slap-happy. There’s one that’s long-faced. One that’s reproachful. Another, expectant.
Beez, of the expressive eyes and sense of things as they are. Beez, without layers of history, complexity, and interpretation, just pure emotion.
I see him lying on his bed, unmoving except for his eyes, missing nothing. I hear the tick-tick-ticking of his toenails on the pine floor. I see him looking out the screen door toward the grass, the pond, the sun and shadows on the distant hill. I see him lifting his nose to the wind.
I see Beez trotting down the lane between the cottage and the pond, tail swishing side to side. I see him fishing, ankle deep, in the shallows for pumpkin seed fish, pawing and pouncing, catching nothing.
I see Beez on top of the world—a flower-dotted high meadow with a 180˚ view of the mountains. Storybook clouds drift across the sky. Beez and I walk along with the wind whispering, the insects buzzing, the birds singing.
A quick email, a phone call from you can facilitate passage of SB 373 in the PA House and end 24/7 inclement weather tethering for dogs.
article from http://www.humane-pa.org
Senator Richard Alloway + 18 co-sponsors introduced SB 373, which overwhelmingly passed the Senate 45-4! Now it needs to pass the House. Please call, write, e-mail, or use social media to contact your State Representative to request their support of SB 373. Your message can be short, stating simply “I am a constituent – please support SB 373, the inclement weather/anti-tethering bill.”
Please follow up by making a call to Representative Ron Marsico, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, to ask him to move SB 373 from his committee: Rep. Marsico: (717) 783-2014 or email@example.com.
SB 373 will:
- Ensure that a dog is removed from the tether in periods of inclement weather.
- Provide minimum standards for length and type of tether.
- Ban the use of poke, pinch, or pronged collars which pose a danger to the dog while tethered.
- Ensure that the dog may only be tethered long enough for the owner to complete a temporary task and that the owner may not leave the dog unattended and tethered.
Facts about tethering:
What does “chaining” or “tethering” of dogs mean?
These terms refer to the practice of fastening a dog to a stationary object or stake, usually in the owner’s backyard, as a means of keeping the animal under control. These terms do not refer to the periods when an animal is walked on a leash.
Why is tethering dogs inhumane?
Dogs are naturally social animals who thrive on interaction with people and other animals. A dog kept chained in one spot for hours, days, months or even years suffers immense psychological damage. An otherwise friendly and docile dog, when kept continuously chained, becomes neurotic, unhappy, anxious and often aggressive.
In many cases, the necks of chained dogs become raw and covered with sores, the result of improperly fitted collars and the dogs’ constant yanking and straining to escape confinement. Dogs have even been found with collars embedded in their necks, the result of years of neglect at the end of a chain.
In addition to The ASPCA, The Humane Society of the United States and numerous animal experts, even the U. S. Department of Agriculture issued a statement in the July 2, 1996, Federal Register against tethering: “Our experience in enforcing the Animal Welfare Act has led us to conclude that continuous confinement of dogs by a tether is inhumane. A tether significantly restricts a dog’s movement. A tether can also become tangled around or hooked on the dog’s shelter structure or other objects, further restricting the dog’s movement and potentially causing injury.”
What effects does tethering have on the community?
Banning permanent tethering makes for safer neighborhoods and happier dogs all without adding burden to our animal control agency. – The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports chained dogs are three times more likely to bite resulting in greater incidences of dog attacks and bites to humans and animals. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also concluded in a study that the dogs most likely to attack are male, un-neutered, and chained.
More articles/information on tethering:
Township Tethering Ordinance (sample language)
Here is the article from the NRDC: