FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A veterinarian from Lauderdale Veterinary Specialists in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is volunteering at the Alaskan Iditarod and was the veterinarian on duty at the check point in Nulato, Alaska, Saturday morning when several dogs were brought there for treatment after being hit by a snowmobile.
At approximately 2 a.m., on Saturday, four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King reported that his dogs were hit by a snowmobiler earlier that morning on the way to the Nulato checkpoint. Sadly, one dog named Nash was killed in the incident.
According to Dr. Lynel Tocci, a board-certified specialist in veterinary emergency and critical care, one dog she treated was brought in suffering from serious shock after having been unconscious.
Another dog Tocci treated had suffered a fracture to its right forelimb during the incident. Tocci immobilized the dog and placed a bandage and a splint.
The dogs were then flown out of Nulato and are reportedly doing alright. The dog that suffered the fractured leg will have his leg surgically repaired this week and the dog that was suffering from shock is eating and on the road to recovery.
“I am very sad about the incident, but I am very happy the Iditarod makes sure there are veterinarians, like me, to make sure in the event a dog is injured, they are given treatment as quickly as possible,” Tocci said.
According to reports, the snowmobiler, Arnold Demoski, 26, admitted to driving drunk. He was arrested by Alaskan State Troopers and is charged with second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, reckless driving and six counts of fifth-degree criminal mischief.
Demoski is being flown to Fairbanks jail where he will be held until his arraignment scheduled for 1:30 p.m. local on Sunday.
“We’re very proud of Dr. Tocci and her commitment to helping these dogs each year,” said Dr. Ira Zaslow, founder of Lauderdale Veterinary Specialists. “We hope the rest of the race goes without any additional injuries and we look forward to giving Dr. Tocci a warm welcome home when she gets back.”