Postcard from... New York
Nikhil Kumar is The Independent's New York correspondent. He was formerly assistant editor on the foreign desk and has also done a variety of jobs on the city desk, where he wrote about markets, commodities and other business and economics topics.
Tuesday 04 December 2012
Who let the dogs out? Residents of New York's Upper West Side have been wondering just that after being terrorised by a pair of collies on the loose.
It appears that the culprit was one of their own: a reclusive Upper-West-Sider named Gary Rintel who, after the demise of his beloved pet Astro, decided to keep the lamp glowing by having the dear departed pooch cloned. Twice.
And now, Astro version I and II are reported to be running riot across the avenues by Central Park. In defiance of New York's leashing laws, Mr Rintel simply "dawdles a block ahead or behind his marauding mutts," according to an account in the New York Post.
He is said to readily admit flouting the norms, something for which he's already had to cough up around $2,000 in fines last year.
A "self-described trust fund layabout", according to the Post, Mr Rintel paid $140,000 to have Astro's DNA frozen and implanted in a surrogate. The offspring – thematically named Cosmo and Retro – were born three-and-a-half years ago, and have been hounding residents ever since.
"The second I see that guy, I make sure to cross the street," one local, Jarrod Mittan, told the Post. "He ignores his dogs as they're bounding down the sidewalk, and he screams at them as though they understand what he's saying."
A fellow dog owner who claims the duo attacked his puppy in Central Park, added: "We call them 'the clones'." But Mr Rintel for his part denies the accusations, putting it down to nothing more than harmless joshing between canines.
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