Iditarod Dog Doping Scandal Calls Into Question Famed Alaskan Sled Race

Four dogs from champion musher Dallas Seavey's team tested positive for banned substance.

By Will Levith / October 31, 2017 3:40 pm

At least one Alaskan sled dog owner has apparently been taking cues from Lance Armstrong.

According to The Guardian, the governing body of the Iditarod, the famed, 1,000-mile sled-dog race across Alaska, announced that the sport is now dealing with its own doping scandal. Race officials revealed earlier in the week that four dogs from champion musher Dallas Seavey’s team had tested positive for a banned substance, an opioid painkiller, after the musher finished second during last March’s race. (Seavey won the race in 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016.)

It was the first time any dogs had tested positive since the Iditarod started testing the animals for banned substances in 1994.

Maybe most surprising is that Seavey will not be fined for the issue, as racing officials couldn’t prove he’d willingly drugged his dogs. He also will not be stripped of his previous titles or $59,000 in winnings in 2017.

PETA, perhaps predictably, pounced on the news, releasing a statement saying: “If a member of the Iditarod’s ‘royalty’ dopes dogs, how many other mushers are turning to opioids in order to force dogs to push through the pain? …This doping scandal is further proof that this race needs to end.”