New Iditarod Rule enstated

Alaska Public Radio Network reports on a new rule adopted by the Iditarod Trail Committee Board. Follow this link to the original report: The Iditarod Trail Committee (ITC) Board of Directors met in Anchorage today. In addition to their regular proceedings they reviewed rule change recommendations from the Board’s Rules Committee. The committee reviews race rules every year and makes recommendations for changes for a variety of reasons.This year, the Rules Committee recommended three major changes:1 A musher that experiences a dog death for any reason would be stopped for 24 hours.2 Each team must stop for a minimum of 15 minutes at each of the four checkpoints after Unalakleet (Shaktoolik, Koyuk, Elim and Golovin).3 A musher may be held at a checkpoint for up to 8 hours if race officials discover a dog in critical condition.Recommendations 1 and 2 were rejected. The third recommendation was adopted for the 2008 Iditarod.The existing rules (available online) already allow race officials to stop any musher that experiences a dog death on the trail for up to 8 hours (Rule 42). This existing 8-hour hold is intended to allow race officials to determine cause of and responsibility for the death. Mushers are disqualified under abuse or neglect circumstances or are allowed to proceed if the cause of death is either beyond the musher’s control or simply indeterminate.The newly accepted rule, appended to Rule 37, basically lowers the triggering of an 8-hour hold from a dog death to a dog found in critical condition. The proposed amendment to Rule 37 reads, “If a dropped dog is in critical condition or a life threatening condition, the musher may be held up to eight (8) hours for investigation.”Complete race rule language for 2008 was not available as of this report.The recommendations come in the wake of the 2007 Iditarod, which included the now infamous Ramy Brooks case of reported and admitted dog abuse, plus the deaths of three dogs on the race trail (on the Brooks, Ramstead and Hayashida teams).Race Marshal Mark Nordman, speaking with APRN reporter David Shurtleff, also indicated his desire to bring more race officials onto the trail next year to keep an eye on the dogs, mushers and checkpoints.Race signups for the 2008 Iditarod begin June 30th.


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