Whitehorse Daily Star

Musher withdraws from Iditarod and sets focus on Yukon Quest

Following the recent ­­Iditarod doping scandal,

By Dustin Cook on October 26, 2017

Following the recent ­­Iditarod doping scandal, which saw four-time winner Dallas Seavey withdraw from the 2018 race, another musher has also dropped out.

Michigan-based musher Laura Neese, who races for the team Nature’s Kennel Sled Dog Racing, will not participate in the race and instead focus on the 2018 Yukon Quest, the team posted on their Facebook page Tuesday night.

This announcement came just a day after the Iditarod Trail Committee (ITC) released Dallas Seavey as the musher who had four dogs test positive for banned substances following the 2017 race.

Seavey denied administering any banned substances to his dogs and withdrew from the race.

Nature’s Kennel cited the way the positive drug test case was handled as the reason for opting out of the upcoming dog sled race.

“We have followed this very closely and with the very few facts that we have been able to obtain, we feel it is best to temporarily step away from a race in which we truly love participating,” the post said.

Nature’s Kennel is owned by Ed and Tasha Stielstra, with Ed competing in the Iditarod eight times as well as the 2017 Yukon Quest.

Neese finished 42nd overall in her first Iditarod in 2017 and has previously raced in the Quest twice.

In 2016, Neese placed 13th overall and won the sportsmanship award. Neese didn’t finish the 2017 race, stopping in Pelly Crossing.

As of Thursday morning, the Yukon Quest has 24 registered mushers listed on their website, with Neese not yet on the list.

“We take pride in the care that mushers provide to their animals in this sport,” the Facebook post said. “The fact that the ITC took over six months to release the results of a positive drug test for a performance enhancing drug is not acceptable.”

The group offered some ways for the race to work on dealing with cases of banned substance use.

“Mushers and race organizations can work together to minimize the potential of sabotage, review violations with unbiased panels of experts, and also apply stiff penalties to offenders,” the post said.

Neese is the first musher to publicly withdraw from the Iditarod following the case and Seavey’s withdrawal.

Seavey’s father — and last year’s Iditarod winner — Mitch Seavey is currently still registered for the upcoming race.

Comments (13)

Up 14 Down 34

AgainstDogSports on Oct 28, 2017 at 11:11 am

So Seavey cheated in the Iditarod, but now sets his sights on the Quest because we allow it? What is the Quest doing against doping? Is every dog tested prior and during? Shut these races down...the time has come to stop using dogs for entertainment and to make money.

Up 29 Down 13

wilsonmcoy on Oct 28, 2017 at 6:56 am

if it wasn't for sled dogs the above posters wouldn't have anything to do or say.

Up 17 Down 37

north_of_60 on Oct 27, 2017 at 5:32 pm

Dog racing is a sick and cruel 'sport'. These abused animals spend most of their lives on a short chain in a muddy yard, and then are periodically exposed to grueling long distance races. This is all for glory and egotistical attention by the dog owners. Stop this cruel abuse of 'mans best friend'.

Up 39 Down 13

Dave on Oct 27, 2017 at 2:16 pm

Wow, a lot of people commenting on here who obviously have no clue about huskys or dog teams/racing. I’m wondering if the comments page is just being flooded by members of some kind of activist group, that happens a lot concerning these subjects.
The dog teams and huskys I’ve seen love to run, that’s what they live for and when they’re at their happiest. It doesn’t matter if they’ve run for one kilometre or a thousand, they’re just happy whenever they’re running.

Up 12 Down 32

Ginger Johnson on Oct 27, 2017 at 1:38 pm

No surprise to me - cheating by someone was inevitable
As were the followup "Lance Armstrong denials"

All levels of Yukon Government need to stop financing this moronis activity AT ONCE

Up 17 Down 39

Allison D on Oct 27, 2017 at 10:15 am

These dogs have been through so much--they're forced to run for hundreds of miles--and now they're being drugged so they can go farther, faster. Iditarod should be banned and these dogs should be released into warm, loving homes.

Up 17 Down 37

Heather on Oct 27, 2017 at 9:32 am

Just when you thought the Iditarod couldn’t stoop any lower… But I'm not surprised. Dogs and dope. Why on earth would anyone who claims to love dogs want to support the Iditarod?

Up 18 Down 37

KimMarie on Oct 27, 2017 at 8:20 am

It's time for all races that use and abuse dogs to come to an end. Would you want to pull a sled in the freezing cold for someone - who will leave you to die if you're injured - to win money?

Up 16 Down 38

Craig Shapiro on Oct 27, 2017 at 8:19 am

Enough already! Dogs are being doped or they're dying. Shut the Iditarod down.

Up 16 Down 35

LucyP on Oct 27, 2017 at 6:23 am

It's no surprise that mushers might resort to doping dogs to keep them running even when they're injured, ill, or exhausted. The real story here is how this cruel race is allowed to continue.

Up 17 Down 37

Margery Glickman on Oct 27, 2017 at 5:34 am

Long distance sled dog races are very cruel to dogs. Sick dogs are allowed to race. LEARN MORE: Sled Dog Action Coalition

Up 16 Down 38

amy donovan on Oct 27, 2017 at 4:07 am

Considering that dogs are routinely abused and neglected before, after, and during the race and literally run to their deaths (5 dogs died in just one week in this year's race), I'm not surprised by doping allegations. What does surprise me is that this cruel race continues to take place every year.

Up 19 Down 37

Jennofur OConnor on Oct 27, 2017 at 3:32 am

The Iditarod must end. Forcing dogs to run until they become sick - and often die - is indefensible. It's 2017! Stop this madness.

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