The dogs of Iraq are dying.
As the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race moves toward its end in Nome with a well-meaning few fretting, as they always do, over whether dogs born to run really want to run 1,000 miles, the dogs of Iraq are dying by the thousands.
We are not talking here about the occasional death that happens to canine athletes in the Iditarod.
We are talking about something closer to canine genocide.
"Municipal workers are hunting them down, slaughtering some 10,000 in Baghdad just since December," the New York Times reported Sunday. "Most of the dogs are killed with rotten raw meat laced with strychnine, a poison used in pesticides and against rodents.
"In some cases, particularly around the city's sprawling garbage dumps, the dogs are instead shot. By the time this campaign is over this month, perphaps 20,000 dogs will be exterminated," said Shaker Fraiyeh of the ministry's veterinary services company.
Twenty thousand dead dogs in a month, killed for no real reason but that they exist in Iraq, and in this country we have people worrying about whether a single dog might die doing what it loves in the Iditarod.
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