Iditarod board approves rule changes for dog deaths in race

The board for Alaska’s most famous sled dog race has approved a rule change that will kick mushers out of the race if their dogs die while on the trail.

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The Iditarod Trail Committee board debated and eventually approved the change at its meeting in Anchorage on Friday.

Officials added the caveat that if a dog’s death “was caused solely by unforeseeable forces,” then a musher may be allowed to stay in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

The rules previously allowed the decision of withdrawing a musher to be left up to the race marshal and the marshal’s judges.

The board also approved a change that caps teams at 14 dogs at the starting line. Each team was previously allowed up to 16 dogs.