Understandably, SP Kennel family, friends and fans want to know what Aliy and Allen think about the Iditarod / Dallas Seavey controversy.  Aliy released a written statement to the media on October 23, 2017. The statement is here:

I will tell you that I have always known Dallas Seavey as an honest and upstanding Iditarod competitor. I do not believe that he is a competitor that would break the rules. Any rules. I have raced against him for 10 years. I have beat him and he has beat me. He beat me to the Iditarod Championship by 2 minutes and 22 seconds. I do not begrudge him. He beat me – fair and square.

I do not think that he gave those drugs to his dogs. Obviously his dogs were given drugs – but by whom or why? – I don’t know.

There are people in the world who truly believe that dog mushing is cruel and should be banned. Of course, this is far from the truth but lies can be told about any subject and some people believe them. I guess the question is: Are there really people radical enough to actually give drugs to his dogs in order to undermine an honest, hard working, good man? Crazy speculation… I know! But speculation seems to be all we are left with now.

To be honest, in Alaska we are a trusting and open armed community. We invite spectators to pet our dogs, we share intimate stories about mushing and we hope that people celebrate dog mushing and our huskies like we do. It is for this reason, it would not be difficult to have walked up to any one of Dallas’ dogs after the race or even during the event and given them a “drugged” biscuit or treat. His dogs, like mine, are incredibly friendly and are used to kind gestures and treats. There is no strict security around Iditarod dogs. There are volunteers who watch the dogs because they love dogs but they are not police. No one ever would have thought that true security teams would be necessary in wilderness Alaska? But… who knows with what people are doing these days. I do not know who drugged Dallas’ dogs, but it was not him.

After speaking with Dallas, the ITC Board and the ITC Staff, an additional statement is included here on our SP Kennel website:

Allen and Aliy believe that there are not ulterior motives among the ITC staff or Board of Directors. Aliy is in the unique position of having served as a Director on the Board alongside this dedicated and thoughtful group of individuals who volunteer a tremendous amount of time and effort to serve in an often thankless position. The ITC staff is passionate and truly cares about the race and the Iditarod mushers. They try to do what is best for both. This… of course, is the challenge.

We do not believe that Dallas intentionally gave drugs to his dogs. We understand that he is feeling cornered and vulnerable. He doesn’t know who to trust. He knows he did not drug his dogs, but he cannot determine who did. This is an awful, unfamiliar position for a man who has dedicated his life to being an upstanding Iditarod Musher. He is in a no win situation.

The ITC Board and staff are also in a no win situation. The facts say that one of their most talented, well-liked Champions, had four dogs test positive for banned substances. But, the ITC Board and staff do not know who administered the Tramadol to Dallas’ dogs. Dallas Seavey has not been penalized or banned from the Iditarod.

Race sponsors and individuals who care deeply about ‘The Last Great Race’ are being asked to “take sides”. In truth, there are no sides. There is no “us and them”. Without the ITC there are no Iditarod Mushers – without Iditarod Mushers there is no ITC. We need unity in our sport. We need sponsors and fans to again have faith is the ITC Board, Staff and Mushers or there will be no race.

We, as a united group, should continue to seek the truth. Yes… there were mistakes made by all parties during the 6 months timeline for this incident. But, if for no other reason than the fact that four Iditarod dogs were illegally drugged, we need to work together to make sure this cannot happen again.

Allen and Aliy are willing to work together with any and all parties concerned to resolve this issue for the benefit of the Iditarod, Dallas Seavey, Race Sponsors, Volunteers, all the concerned fans, sled dog lovers around the world and every one of us at SP Kennel.

20 Responses

  • I’m certain the ITC board will come up with plans for security at the check pints, at least, that will be significant.

    Meanwhile, we love our mushers, and their dogs. Real fans know that the dogs are truly family, and their wellbeing is more important than a win to our mushers.

  • I find it hard to believe that Dallas would intentionally drug his dogs. He is a professional and has so much at stake and he knew they are tested. The question I have…Was there any medical reasons why the particular dogs that tested positive would need that drug? Only a Vet could answer that based on the last Vet check. If nothing is evident requiring that drug, then it is suspect that the drug was administered by person(s) unknown, for what ever reason.
    My thoughts and support are with Dallas and SP Kennels for 2018.

  • I come from the horse show world. Sadly, we had to learn that our horses had to remain under strict guard at all times when they were not at home in their own stalls. I can remember when someone cut the tail off of one of an Olympic level dressage horse in order to disqualify it from competition, as a full tail was a requirement. We had to protect them from all kinds of mischief, out and out cruelty, and sabotage. We had to do this ourselves, as no venue would, or could protect them for us. It is sad that the Iditarod is experiencing events like this, along with snow machine attacks, etc.
    Sadly, it seems like our world is becoming less secure every day. I am sure SPK will take every precaution in the future to protect this from ever happening to their teams. I hope everyone can work together and get past this. We are very much looking forward to this season races, and will be cheering loudly for the SPK teams. Good luck!

  • Well said ~ there definitely needs to be unity within the entire racing community. The fans and mushers are “behind Dallas,” so to speak, but the bigger picture is that the dogs (or their samples) were tampered with. That, in of itself, is alarming. It would be a shame to have to stop the fans from being able to get up close and personal…but.

    As always, SPK is awesome with their responses and being upfront with your fans!!! Thank you.

  • This is so sad. I do not believe Dallas did anything that would hurt the race he has been apart of all his life. His success has been through hard work and dedication to the health of his teams. Hopefully this issue will be cleared up and resolved without any more harm to a musher, teams of dogs, volunteers and the spirit of the Iditarod race

  • Tramadol description – pain reliever used to treat moderate to severe pain in cats and dogs. Need prescription from veterinarian. Addictive. Must give exact dosage and does not mix with some other medications. Possible side effects – allergic reaction: hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face-lips-tongue, or throat. Call vet if dog has any of these effects – seizures, a red, blistering, peeling skin rash; or shallow breathing. Less serious side effects may include: drowsiness; weakness; vomiting; constipation; loss of appetite; blurred vision; insomnia. Overdose can be lethal.

  • I disagree, i think the friction between dallas and the trail commitee is very real. his huge petition just the other year, was frowned upon. and i think the ineffectiveness of the trail committee to allow the mushers to shape the narrative and continue to evolve the sport and race is very real. on several issues. quite possibly, they have nothing to do with this. But there are, definitly problems with corruption with that group.–> and hard truth. if this really happened. really was tampering. why a six month wait? i call XXXXXXXX on the trail committee. there shuold have been, like others said. an immediate criminal investigation. yeah, if someone other than seaveys drugged the dogs. yeah law enforcement could definitly work to track them down. its unacceptable to wait six months than leak it to the news etc in the way the trail committee did. a win win would be to improve the process, be more transparent from the get go, and if dallas says when nordman called him that he and his team didnt drug the dogs. the trail committee should have gone to law enforcement with this information and tried to find out who did. the fact that they didnt do this, unfortauntely. makes them VERY suspect. imo.

  • Like “A-Town’s Becky” wrote, they are family. Many mushers have withdrawn for the sake of the team and have made many sacrifices daily for their dogs. The dogs are more important to them than any accolades for the race. Thank you SP Kennel for speaking out.

  • Excellent, balanced response – thank you! We as fans regret the negative drama, and certainly do not want to see unnecessary irreparable damage to the reputation of the Iditarod because of something that may never have an answer. We are sad to think of the increased concerns you would have about the safety and wellbeing of your dogs. Thanks for doing what you do, and for your gracious attitudes and obvious love for your dogs and the sport. Love watching both of you race!

  • The best thing we can do as Fans of this sport, its Mushers and its awesome canine atheletes, is to educate our friends, family and co-workers of how dedicated Mushers are to their dogs in regards to care, love and treatment of their Teams. I have been fielding a lot of questions this week…the damage control on this issue runs deep…even on such a small and local level where I am located. This no doubt is a terrible incident….and I applaud SPKs call for unity between the ITC, Mushers and Fans. Do not take sides…..we need to get through this together. We all have one very passionate goal…..to uphold the integreity of this race, this sport as a whole, and to honor the canine atheletes it involves.

  • Thanks for your perspective on this very difficult and troubling issue Aliy. While I understand how you and Allen both feel about Dallas and the ITC I have serious issues with both in regards to this. You say as well as many others that Dallas is a stickler on rules and regulations, yet he left behind his vet book which is mandatory equipment @ Safety on his way to Nome. He did Not turn around to retrieve that, yet he did go back earlier to retrieve his snowshoes. Even though he crossed the finish line Without one of the most important pieces of mandatory gear he was Not punished in Any way even though he should have at least been time wise. He as Stickler for Rules should have insisted 2nd place have gone to Nick Petite who ironically carried his vet book to him. My point is Sportsmanship and ethics. If you are a Stickler for rules then you should hold yourself to the Same standards you put upon others. That lack of sportsmanship and ethics put some serious doubts in my mind concerning Dallas. The other issue is his silence through all of this. He had almost 3 months from the time Mark Nordman called him in April to the volunteer sign up picnic in late June to bring his serious concerns of Tampering to the public but More importantly to his fellow mushers. If there truly is someone out there with malicious intent as Dallas claims then Why the silence? This affects not only him but All mushers and their dogs as their safety is at stake! Dogs are like blood to me, whether I have known the dog for years or just moments they are Family. That is why not only Dallas’s silence is troubling but the ITC as well. Both sides should have done a joint press conference Immediately after these results were made known as well as Warning All mushers of this possible threat but again Silence. I wish I could share your confidence in Mr. Seavey’s innocence, but what I see is a self absorbed young man who has put himself Above the race and it’s mushers. To me it was his Responsibility from day one to warn others of this malicious threat. The fact neither did makes me think the ITC Knows there is not and that Dallas is party to cheating.

    • Dallas was silent b/c of the gag rule. Mushers cannot criticize anything about the Iditarod. That’s why he withdrew from the 2018 race so that he COULD speak. Also, up until Oct. 9th, he thought it was being taken care of by the ITC. They led him to believe that (a) they considered him innocent and (b) that they were investigating. Other than talk about it occasionally, they did nothing!

  • Thanks for this post and all the comments.

    I think everyone all over the world has been able to understand the Iditarod/Dallas Seavey matter better thru this NYTIMES article (SP Kennel reaction mentioned here):

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/24/sports/iditarod-doping-dallas-seavey.html

    Regarding sports and competition, I’ve always believed “winning” was secondary, less important than how you competed. As the old saying goes…

    “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” To me that has always been what SP Kennel is all about.

    Translate that to “Dogs First” and “winning” second. WOOF WOOF WOOF

  • I appreciate Aliy’s and Allen’s respect for Dallas, and I accept they know him far better than any of us who watch from the sidelines. We have become cynical because again and again we have been told by our heroes that they are innocent, only to be proven guilty of drug abuse at some stage. Yet, knowing that tramadol is not something most people carry around or have access to, it still comes down to how did the drugs get administered. For that reason, I appreciate Charles Ashley speaking what many have been thinking to some degree – even if on the wrong track. I personally have viewed both Seaveys as rule benders ever since they started putting dogs in boxes for long periods in the race. His game plan is to drop dogs all the way along, leaving his top performers for the last push. I theorized these were the same dogs that were carried by the others for a lot of trail in those boxes. I wondered if the jostling in the boxes on the rough trail up to Huslia and back caused some of Dallas’s top athletes to be sore enough for him to want to treat them.

    Yet, in my heart, I don’t want to find that Dallas cheated. I don’t want to find that a native villager fed the dogs the opioid for the fun of it. I don’t want to find that another musher sabotaged a fellow competitor. I don’t want all the finger pointing. But most of all, I don’t want dogs hurt and dying because humans can be the most dangerous and vicious of all species. I just don’t.

    I am sorry that SPK and all kennels have to deal with this. All kennels must now do what they can to protect the life of their partners in yet another way.

  • Thank-you for making this thoughtful and insightful statement. I always appreciate that you are not afraid to speak up. I know that you are a different person after your horrific Iditarod experience, but have come back strong and have taken on new activities to make a positive difference to those living along the course. I hope that Dallas will also recover and take on some new role to educate people about your sport and the Alaskan way of life.

  • Ditto with what Linda posted……I have had these exact thoughts….and somehow it would be less “scarey” if it was either an accidental dosing or an ill-conceived strategy on Dallas’s part as if he were the Lance Armstrong of Mushing…I would take that any day as opposed to an action of a rabid animal activists who may strike anyone at any time….that scares me to no end.
    I dont want this sport to live in terror…one of the coolest part of this sport is the connection one feels when they make their first “pilgramage” to their first Ceremonial Start….walking the streets of Anchorage and being THAT close to the dogs and Mushers is beyond awesome. Id hate to see that taken away out of fear of some radicalized person trying to make a statement. So I hope for a different outcome of this, although I realize we may never really know.
    I found solace in running with my little Team today….looking out at Chemo with that big smile on his face like he was saying “come on Willow and Whiskey….we can go faster than that” brought a smile to my face. I love this sport and will support it through thick and thin! Even though we are in a bit of a dark time now, it will get better….and we all will be stronger AND wiser from it! Chants of “go SPK Red and Black” are just around the corner….happier days to come…hang in there everyone!

  • Nobody will ever know the truth but the one who did it.

    Let me put some things straight:

    It does not make any sense to give drugs to dogs at this stage of the race. Every musher knows it will come up in the test. I do not think that Dallas is that stupid to do it and has planned to do it long time before because nobody is carying these drugs in the sled. So how would he have gotten the drugs?

    But: the ITC is a big organization with a lot of money. How stupid are they when the handle the case the way they did? Why is the drugtest not immediately after the race (the information says it had been 6 hours later which on the other hand would give time to cover the drugs). Dogs should be under control until they are tested.

    Ok, there is always the risk some outsiders playing stupid. No way you can avoid it. From drugged snacks on the trail to drugs in the food. If someone wants to play like this he can. Drugs on the trail are more unlikely but in the food? It is easy and you are sure you are hitting the person you like to hit. Whyever.

    How to solve this problem I do not know but also I do not make the rules.

  • I thank Aliy and Allen for their thoughts on this controversy, they have tried to present a balanced viewpoint which I appreciate. I have considered for several days before throwing my 2 cents in the ring (may not even be worth that much :)).

    Based on the articles I have read the drugs in Dallas’s dogs were estimated to be administered 1 to 15 hours prior to their testing. This puts the possible administration back to White Mountain or somewhere in between. Once the team arrived in Nome, there were only a few other mushers present in Nome prior to the team being tested. This seems to really narrow down the mushing community as a culprit (unless handlers that were present in Nome would have access to these drugs and be wiling to run the risk of administering them).

    Could a third party that is against mushing do this sort of tampering, sure, anything is possible so nothing can be ruled out. It is one thing to harass sponsors to try and get them to stop backing the race (if this is the case with Well’s Fargo) but another to take this kind of chance. Again, must have been done in a narrow time frame if this is what occurred.

    While I am not a Dallas fan, I have admired his competitive nature and the drive to succeed. I do agree with one of the comments above that he sometimes “bends” or finds “loopholes” in the rules. The fact is that we face competitors in every sport, baseball, football, basketball, cycling and even non-human competitions like horse racing that are caught using drugs of one sort or the other. The people involved are all smart folks and know the results if they are caught but we see them get caught every year. I sincerely hope Dallas isn’t one of these.

    Unfortunately for the Iditarod, it looks like the race is getting pulled into our current culture. I do believe the ITC needs to be more proactive in changing/tightening rules before there is a crash rather than waiting until after. In this case both the ITC and Dallas would have been far better off to address the issue head on rather than trying to hide behind “musher X” or keeping the mushers name hidden. It was bound to come out at some point.

    So, maybe a sad commentary on our times, looks like even in the remote areas of Alaska “the times they are a-changing”. Security at Iditarod checkpoints and dog yards may be the coming trend but we will all miss a past that was more reliant on honest, upstanding people that you could trust. The odds are we will never know who/how these drugs got to the dogs.

    Best wishes to Dallas and the ITC (along with the rest of the mushing community) as they work their was through a tough issue that is a society wide problem that the mushing world just got brought into.

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