An Upper West Side trust-fund layabout loved his dog Astro so much that he had him cloned a few years back. Now he takes them to central park daily for three hour walks- without a leash.
“This is a tragedy waiting to happen,” said one man who claims the dogs charged at his puppy and bit him. “The city knows about this problem and does nothing. The law has no teeth, so to speak.”
The cloned dogs owner, Gary Rintel, 45, says that he has already paid $2,000 in fines this year alone, but nevertheless refuses to put his dogs on a leash.
“If you were a dog, would you want to live with a rope around your neck?” he commented. “I don’t think most people care about their dogs’ happiness. Sometimes I’m guilty of breaking that law.”
Rintel had Astro’s DNA frozen twice, paying $140,000 four years ago to a lab to insert the DNA into a donor egg that was later implanted into a surrogate.
Parkgoers, however, do not care how much the man paid to have his dog cloned. They are worried about their safety and the safety of their dogs.
Jarrod Mittan, 29, says that “The second I see that guy, I make sure to cross the street. He ignores his dogs as they’re bounding down the sidewalk, and he screams at them as though they understand what he’s saying.”
“We call them ‘the clones,” said a dog owner who claimed the two dogs attacked his black Lab puppy in Central Park. When the man tried to intervene, one of the dogs bit his hand. “The guy said to me, ‘I’m sorry, my dogs have never done anything like that before,” he said. “Then he walked away — with the dogs still off the leash!”
“They’re not threatening or dangerous dogs. They’re playful and they’re under check,” counters Rintel. “The idea that two dogs are savaging the Upper West Side isn’t true.”
Paul Hudson | Elite.