Iditarod Scratch Over Dog Health Concerns

David Sawatzky’s scratch in the Iditarod this morning was prompted by concerns for his 13-dog dog team.


Local musher and 1984 Iditarod champion Dean Osmar said it’s a shame Sawatzky had to drop out…


Osmar: “Every year there’s going to be a certain amount of scratches, and every few years a couple of dog deaths. The amount of dog deaths in the Iditarod and these other races is so minute and so low compared to the amount of dog deaths if you took a group of the same amount for a 14-day period in Anchorage or Seattle or any other city. You’re going to get way way way more die from people having them overweight or getting run over by a car or getting sick than you have in Iditarod. The people in Iditarod take great care of their dogs and the dog deaths are just very low.”


Sawatzky is the third scratch this year, following the Mushing Mortician, Scott Janssen of Anchorage and Ed Stielstra, who only intended to run the ceremonial start after a February accident with his dogs.


Erin McLarnon with the Iditarod said Sawatzky hadn’t reported any serious illnesses, like the pulmonary edema seen in the T200 this year, but that the heat may have been affected his dogs. She also noted Sawatzky pulled a hamstring on his way into Rainy Pass, which may have factored in his decision.


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