Family dog killed by loose sled dogs owned by Iditarod veteran Jessie Holmes
WASILLA, Alaska (KTUU) – Sled dogs owned by 2022 Iditarod third place finisher Jessie Holmes attacked and killed a small family dog that was tied to a leash in her yard late last month, according to a Wasilla family.
On March 25, Liza McCafferty says she left her little Havanese dog on a leash in her backyard, located behind the Grand View Inn in Wasilla. Then she went back inside to take a break from her work.
Around the same time, Holmes allegedly let some of his sled dogs break loose from the trailer he was transporting them in.
“When I came back into the kitchen, I noticed his lead was taught, so I could see him through the window,” McCafferty said.
As McCafferty described it, the sled dogs raced down the hill behind the hotel to her property, and by the time she saw what was happening, it was too late. McCafferty saw a black dog in her yard when she came back outside, then she saw a pack of dogs near her patio.
Lucky, the little Havanese dog, had his leash wrapped around a post holding the deck of the McCafferty and was surrounded by Holmes’ dogs.
“As soon as I got down here, there was a pack of dogs right there,” McCafferty said, pointing to his bridge. “And my dog was wrapped around this support. It’s like he was trying to run away, I don’t know – and he died right there.
McCafferty says she saw Holmes standing on top of the hill and yelled at him for help. Holmes ran down the hill and separated the dogs, she said. After putting them back in the trailer, he came back to speak with McCafferty.
“He was apparently distraught too. He was crying,” McCafferty said of Holmes. “And apologizing and you know, saying he was going to do whatever he could to make things right.”
According to McCafferty, Holmes told him that he had recently picked up a few new dogs that didn’t know him yet, “and he didn’t think they would do that.”
McCafferty said she jotted down his information and then asked him to leave because she was so upset about what happened. Lucky was taken to a veterinary clinic and pronounced dead.
Liza and Marc McCafferty, owners of Lucky, both said he was a very sweet dog who showed no signs of aggression.
“If you look at what the traits of a Havanese are, he was all of that,” Marc McCafferty said.
The McCaffertys say they’ve been in touch with Holmes and he’s offered to pay their vet bill, but that hasn’t happened yet.
The City of Wasilla also issued a press release on April 8 confirming that the incident had been reported, that an investigation was underway and that “citations should be issued.” According to the statement, the attack was reported on March 30.
“During the investigation, video footage was obtained showing several dogs exiting a nearby enclosed trailer and running unrestrained through the area,” the statement said.
The Alaska news source has contacted Holmes several times over the past week for comment and received a response via Facebook late Wednesday evening saying he would be in touch, but has not still received a response.
Liza McCafferty said she believes Holmes has a role to play in acknowledging what happened and helping to raise awareness about responsible dog ownership.
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