Snowmobiler injures 2 Wisconsin sled dogs in hit-and-run

January 12, 2022 GMT

WASHBURN, Wis. (AP) — Authorities are searching for a snowmobile driver who veered into a highly touted sled dog team in northern Wisconsin and injured two of the dogs, including one that ran the Iditarod last year.

Ryan Redington, the Alaskan musher and two-time winner of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon, was out with his dogs on the Tri-County Corridor trail in Bayfield County at 6:45 p.m. Saturday when the snowmobiler veered near him, sped up, and ran into the dogs. The driver then sped off, authorities said.

All of the dogs were wearing blinking or reflective harnesses, the Bayfield County Sheriff’s Office said.

Redington said he didn’t see what the snowmobile driver looked like, but that the machine might have been yellow.

He told authorities he tipped his sled to avoid the collision, but his wheel dog Wildfire was thrown into the air and was left with a leg that was broken in three places. Another dog, Willy, suffered a bruised foreleg. The snowmobile driver stopped for a moment and then left the scene.

Wildfire underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair his broken leg. Redington said the 3-year-old has a “long road to recovery.” The dog was on Redington’s team that finished seventh in the 2021 Iditarod.

Willy should be back to training in two to three weeks.