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Official says Dallas Seavey sled-dog mistreatment claims are unfounded

An animal welfare official said claims that musher Dallas Seavey mistreats his sled-dogs are unfounded.

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On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough said an Animal Care officer visited Seavey’s Willow kennel last weekend to investigate. According to the Borough, Officer Nick Uphus closed his investigation after failing to find any evidence of neglect or cruelty. In the release, Borough Mayor Vern Halter, himself a musher, called the claims “absolutely false.”

The allegations from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, surfaced last week after an Iditarod veteran wrote on her blog that she’d heard stories of mistreatment in Seavey’s kennel. The accusations came on the heels of news that four of Seavey’s dogs had tested positive for a banned painkiller after last year’s Iditarod. PETA quickly seized on both incidents as evidence of abusive practices in mushing, which the organization has long condemned. The group requested that the Alaska Department of Public Safety look into the abuse claims. DPS spokesperson Tim Despain said the State Troopers’ case into Seavey’s kennel practices is still open, but expected to be closed in the next couple days.

Seavey did not return a message left seeking comment.

In a statement, a PETA executive said the organization will submit a public records request to local officials to gather more information.