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Last Updated: Tuesday August 05 2008 12:02 GMT

Scientists clone woman's pet dog

The five cloned pit bull terrier pups with their mum

Scientists in South Korea say they've successfully cloned the first pet.

Bernann McKinney, from America, was so upset when she found out her pet dog Booger was dying she paid scientists 25,000 to make a new version of him.

Skin cells were taken from Booger and then transferred into another dog who became pregnant with five puppies just like Booger.

Cloning animals isn't new, but it's the first time anyone's cloned a pet and lots of people aren't happy about it.

Animal rights campaigners say cloning pets isn't natural and cloned animals won't be as healthy as normal animals.

Bernann McKinney with one of the cloned pups
Bernann McKinney described the cloned pups as a miracle
But Ms McKinney said the scientists were geniuses and described what they'd done as a miracle.

"They [the puppies] are perfectly the same as their daddy. I am in heaven here. I am a happy person," she said.

But the RSPCA animal charity warned that a cloned pet would never be identical to its original parent and said there were loads of animals who already needed a good home.

"The RSPCA is concerned about the cloning of dogs because for every cloned animal many others suffer or die through failed attempts and experimentation," a spokesman said.

"It is understandable that people whose beloved pet has died want to replace him or her, but by asking for a clone they are causing suffering to other animals who are just as important."