2016’s iteration of the world-famous Iditarod dog race was interrupted on Saturday when two of the competitors, front-runners Jeff King and Aliy Zirkle, say they were intentionally struck by a snowmobiler in a remote area outside of Nulato, Alaska. According to King and Zirkle’s firsthand accounts, the snowmobiler made several passes at their dog teams while on the trail, striking them and wounding several of the dogs. One of the dogs was confirmed to have died in the aftermath of the incident. The snowmobiler, 26-year-old Arnold Demoski, said he was drunk at the time and that the crash was not intentional, although police have not ruled that out.

“I embarrassed my community, I embarrassed my employer,” Demoski, a Nulato resident who works for the local village tribal council, told KTUU. “I just want to make everything right.”

Demoski says he does not remember the collisions, which happened early in the morning. The snowmobiler added that he did remember following Zirkle on the trail, and claimed that he did so to make sure she was alright. However, neither King or Zirkle said they required assistance on Saturday morning, and race organizers are treating the incident as harassment.

“He didn’t turn around, he didn’t slow down,” King told the Alaska Dispatch News, recalling the moment after his dog team was struck by the snowmobile. “I don’t know how [he] could have not known I was there. I think I was more of a target.”

Police officers said that Demoski was going at about 100 miles an hour when he collided with King’s dog team. Two of King’s dogs were injured in the accident and a third, 3-year-old Nash, was killed. You can watch the full interview with King below:

“Based upon the firsthand accounts provided by both Aliy and Jeff, we have no reason to believe these were not intentional acts,” Stan Hooley, chief executive of the Iditarod Trail Committee, told The New York Times.

Organizers added that both the competitors have been greatly affected by the incident. The Iditarod is already known for its grueling pace and 1,049-mile route from Anchorage to Nome. The injury or death of multiple dogs can be disastrous.

Demoski was arrested by Alaska State Troopers and charged with assault, endangerment, reckless driving, and criminal mischief. Is is not known if additional charges will be added as well.


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15 thoughts on “Alaska Iditarod Interrupted by “Snowmobile Attacker,” 1 Dog Killed

  1. A sled dog means nothing to the owner?!?
    I think a 30-06 would be a fair trade for the dog. And just to be fair, will give him a running start on his snowmobile. three dogs – three rounds. Seems like sound Alaskan justice to me.

  2. I would think that this should include reckless endangerment, drunk driving, intent to kill or injure…… What a scumbag….. Sad for the dog owner, I know he/she must be devastated. It’s not just a case about the injury and death to the animals. This guy is dangerous period.

  3. I wonder if he would have been so quick to turn himself in had he not lost the cowling to his snowmobile and had Jeff King not picked it up. I hope they throw the book at this jerk. Vehicular assault. Can you imagine being a musher and having to live with that kind of fear forever whenever you hear a snow mobile engine behind you? I hope all the injured dogs recover and are able to mush again.

      1. Why is that? Let me guess.. it’s cruel, right? No matter that these dogs LOVE to run and LIVE to run, and that they are better cared for than most household pets who are over fed and not exercised at all… many of whom die of cancers and heart disease, as do their fat, overfed humans.

      2. It becomes more than exercise when dogs are used as entertainment and for profit. STFU Speciesist

  4. funny, I don’t see any outcry from the Animal Rights morons …. yet, Michael Vick is still on their ‘ Hit List ‘ for abuse, but this d*ck intentionally kills

    ……………. go figure

      1. Many of you probably shouldn’t. A bunch of you whackos came through my former town years ago and let loose a bunch of mink.. there were dead mink all over the roads. The lucky ones were hit and squished instantly.. the unlucky ones probably died lingering, painful deaths. I’m going to edit this. When your mind is that twisted, I don’t think you should own a gun at all. And I’m not a gun control fanatic.

      2. hmmmmm How do you think minks who were released on this farm are killed? Please do tell me. Can I snap your neck, anally electrocute you, and rip your scalp right off our head so those less fortunate can wear your skin and hair? Sounds like that’s more of a horrific death to me. Think about it. I’m glad many farms are shut down this way. No one should ever make money off the torture of animals just so we can wear them. For you to make this moronic comment shows how clueless you are..

    1. Go figure numbnuts. Animal liberation activist here and we speak, protest, march, write letters etc. WTF does Mike Vick have to do with this article? The animal abuser (Vick) never paid for his crime. He served time for Racketeering, not felony animal abuse, so he really did get off without the appropriate punishment. If he had been found guilty, which he admitted to, he would have spent years for each dog he brutally killed and tortured and still been behind bars. MF’r needs to have been thrown in a pit of wild animals.

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