There's a crisis in Alaska among the dog sledding community. Musher Dallas Seavey has been charged with giving his dogs the opioid Tramadol to help them finish the 1,000-mile Iditarod Race, from Anchorage to Nome, last March.
In a YouTube video, Seavey made the following statement on Oct. 23:
'I have done absolutely nothing wrong. I have never given any banned substance to my dogs... I don't care if I never race another dog race. I don't care if I never make another cent in my life around this sport. I will not spend the rest of my life looking in the mirror knowing that I backed down when I did nothing wrong. The Iditarod can try to run me over. They can try to throw me under the bus, but they're going to find out that I don't fit under the bus… I love the Iditarod [but] there is a corruption in this race… I will do everything in my power to ensure that we have a healthy 1,000-mile race. I have tried to have the Iditarod make the right call.'
Seavey explains that in April he received "the worst phone call in my life" from race marshal Mark Nordman, who "tells me that I had a positive drug test in Nome. Four of my dogs tested to high levels of Tramadol, a drug that I've never personally administered." Norman then asked Seavey if it could have been "done accidentally." Seavey told him that "there's less than half a percent of a chance that that happened. By telling him that it was not an accident I knew full well this was going to become an issue... I believe this was given to my dogs maliciously. That's the most likely option. There are numerous ways that could have been done."
On Oct. 9, Iditarod officials accused Seavey of doping the dogs. It's the first such charge against a musher in the 44-year history of the dog sled race.
"I was furious," Seavey says. "I still am… There was never a panel or a formal way to present evidence… I'm demanding that they release everything they have."
The main issue is whether the drugs could have been added to food left for the dogs at drop locations along the race route.
Seavey won the Iditarod in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016. He lost the 2017 race to his father, Mitch.
Extra: Listen to George Clinton's druggy classic, "U.S. Customs Coast Guard Dope Dog"...