Iditarod reports second dog death of this year’s race

a musher removes a dog booty from a paw
Knik musher Hunter Keefe removes a booty from one of his dogs at the Ruby checkpoint in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race Friday, March 8, 2024. (Casey Grove/Alaska Public Media)

A 4-year-old dog in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race collapsed and died Sunday morning, according to race officials. It is the second dog death of the 2024 race.

In a statement, officials said the dog, named George, was on musher Hunter Keefe’s team. The dog collapsed around 10 a.m., about 35 miles outside of Kaltag — roughly 660 miles into the 1,000-mile race.

“Attempts to revive George were unsuccessful,” the statement says.

Keefe dropped out of the Iditarod at the next checkpoint, Unalakleet, at 11:30 p.m., according to officials

Under race rules, if a dog dies, the musher must voluntarily scratch from the race or they will be withdrawn unless the dog died due to an “unpreventable hazard” like a moose encounter.

Keefe was racing in his second Iditarod with Raymie Redington’s dog team. Redington’s father helped found the Iditarod and one of his sons, Ryan, won last year’s race. In an interview at the race’s ceremonial start, Keefe had said George was part of a dog litter named after the Beatles. He said George had a lot of energy and barked nonstop.

Race officials say a pathologist will conduct a necropsy on George to try to determine what caused his death.

The Iditarod had also reported Sunday that 2-year-old Bog on Isaac Teaford’s team collapsed and died around 9:45 a.m. outside of the Nulato checkpoint, just under 600 miles into the race.

RELATED: Iditarod reports first dog death of this year’s race

Race officials said the cause of Bog’s death remained undetermined after a necropsy and further testing will be conducted.

PETA, which has long protested the Iditarod, issued statements Sunday and Monday following the news of the dogs’ death, calling for an end to the race and urging sponsors to pull their support.

Bog’s and George’s deaths are the first dog deaths the Iditarod has reported since 2019. That year, Richie Beattie’s dog, Oshi, died two days after crossing the Nome finish line. Veterinarians had noticed Oshi showing signs of pneumonia during post-race checkups. Beattie was withdrawn from the race.

Tegan Hanlon is the digital managing editor at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at or 907-550-8447. Read more about Tegan here.

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