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

WASHBURN, Wis. (AP) – Authorities are looking 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 raced the Iditarod last year.

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

All dogs wore flashing or reflective harnesses, the Bayfield County Sheriff’s Office said.

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

He told authorities he flipped his sled to avoid the collision, but his Wildfire wheel dog was thrown through the air and ended up with a broken leg in three places. Another dog, Willy, suffered a bruised front leg. 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 had a “long road to recovery”. The dog was part of the Redington team that finished seventh in the 2021 Iditarod.

Willy should return to training in two to three weeks.

Bette C. Alvarado