Iditarod dog dies on airplane flight after scratching from race
Musher Alan Peck's dog Cirque has become the sixth Iditarod canine competitor to die this year, according to race officials.
Cirque, a 2-year-old female, didn't die on the trail; Peck's team scratched (voluntarily withdrew from the race) in Shaktoolik. Officials picked up the team Monday and the dogs were put on an airplane flight from Shaktoolik to Nome.
Iditarod spokesman Chas St. George said the plane encountered turbulence and was forced to land in Golovin. On landing, it was found that Cirque had died. St. George said the dogs were in good condition at the time they were loaded onto the plane before takeoff in Shaktoolik.
A necropsy has been scheduled.
Necropsies on five dogs that died during the race had mixed results. No causes of death were determined for three of the dogs, but necropsies on the other two found that they both had pulmonary edema. Animal rights group PETA has requested a criminal investigation to determine if any of the mushers should be charged with animal cruelty.
-- Lindsay Barnett
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Photo: Musher Mitch Seavey's team watches Jessie Royer drive her team along the Kuskokwim River and into the Nicolai, Alaska, Iditarod checkpoint. Credit: Al Grillo / Associated Press.