Clones of 9/11 hero dog unveiled in Los Angeles

By | June 19, 2009

Clones of 9/11 hero dog unveiled in Los Angeles

Five clones of a search and rescue dog which helped locate people trapped in the rubble of the 9/11 attacks were formally presented to their ancestor’s former handler.

James Symington, a former Canadian police officer, choked back tears as he formally took possession of the five descendants of his beloved German shepherd named Trakr, who died in April.

Symington was presented with Trakr’s offspring after winning a competition organized by California firm BioArts International — the “Golden Clone Giveaway” — to find the world’s most “cloneworthy” dog.

Symington said he hopes the puppies — Trust, Valor, Prodigy, Solace and Deja Vu — will go on to follow in Trakr’s footsteps.

“We’re here to celebrate that Trakr’s legacy lives on in these five beautiful puppies,” he told reporters. “If they have the same attributes Trakr did, then hopefully they’ll develop into world class search and rescue dogs.”

Symington and Trakr arrived at the site of the World Trade Center collapse, commonly referred to as Ground Zero, on September 12, 2001 and were one of the first K9 search and rescue teams on the scene.

After working nearly non-stop for 48 hours, Trakr located the last human survivor found in the rubble of the twin towers.

“Trakr was an extraordinary search and rescue dog. His work at Ground Zero was the culmination of his career,” Symington said.

BioArts International, which says it offers the world’s first commercial dog cloning service, partnered with South Korea’s SooAm Biotech Research Foundation to clone Trakr under the direction of scientist Hwang Woo-Suk.

BioArts International chief executive Lou Hawthorne said canine cloning would remain beyond the reach of ordinary pet lovers, with cloned dogs costing an average 144,000 dollars each.

Hawthorne defended the right of people to clone their dogs instead of obtaining new pets from rescue shelters.

“I think 99 percent of the time people should get their pets from shelters,” he told AFP.

via Clones of 9/11 hero dog unveiled in Los Angeles – Yahoo! News.

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