The Strange Saga of "Bernann" McKinney

Posted by Jesse Reynolds on August 14th, 2008

"Bernann" McKinney and one of her little Boogers (AP)

The story of  the first happy customer of RNL Bio's new pet dog cloning service is almost too outlandish to mock. When we first encountered her last week, Bernann McKinney appeared overjoyed that the spirit of her deceased yet beloved pit bull, Booger, had been recaptured in the five clones. Then we learned that the former beauty pageant queen was on the lam from the British authorities. In the 1970s, she became obsessed with a young man while in college in Utah. She later said, "I loved him so much that I would ski naked down Mount Everest in the nude with a carnation up my nose if he asked me to."

McKinney, then known as Joyce McKinney, followed him to the UK, where he was serving as a door-to-door Mormon missionary. In 1977, she and a friend kidnapped  him and held him at a remote cottage as her sex slave for days. Although she was arrested, McKinney fled to Canada disguised as a mime, and then went into hiding in the US disguised as a nun. Years later, the missionary saw McKinney watching him, and police subsequently found handcuffs and a rope in her car.

To top it off, she obtained Booger, the dead cl­oned dog, by breaking into an animal shelter, where he was scheduled to be euthanized after he had attacked some joggers.

Simply put, you can't make this stuff up.

Couple McKinney's saga with an alien love cult, a nation's scientist hero revealed to be a fraud (1, 2), and an eccentric billionaire who spent $10 million trying to clone his dog, and one could dismiss the cloning endeavor as nothing but a freak show. While the practice certainly seems to attract more than its share of eccentrics, a dismissal is inappropriate. Despite a broad consensus that human reproductive cloning  should be banned (as it already is in about sixty countries), there's no shortage of bioethicists and pundits who fail to see anything wrong in the practice, and supposed cloning opponents who limit their concern to matters of safety.

Update (Aug. 15): McKinney is also wanted in Tennessee, where she is accused of convincing a 15-year-old to break into a house so that she could buy a prosthetic leg for her three-legged horse.

Update (Aug. 19): McKinney has now left South Korea, but without her clones of Booger.

Update (Aug 20): The head of RNL Bio, Ra Jeong Chan, said that "criminal records would not disqualify future customers, adding that the cloned animals could even help them find stability and thus prevent crimes" (a paraphrase from the International Herald Tribune).

Previously on Biopolitical Times:



Posted in Animal Technologies, Jesse Reynolds's Blog Posts, Reproductive Cloning


Add a Comment
  1. Comment by truthteller, Feb 1st, 2011 8:39pm

    And just for the record, you LIE all through your article. First of all, Ms. McKinney has never "Broke in an animal shelter to get Booger who had attacked some joggers!" What a crock! She found Booger by the side of the road, lost and hungry, and took him home. he is a kind hearted lady who does animal rescues.
    She does not own--nor has she ever owned, a "three legged horse" which she burglarized a place with! More LIES on your part. Also slander and libel.
    She did not "abandon" her puppies in Korea. After all, they cost her $150,000, you idiot! Why would she leave them there? Do you have horse manure for brains? All five beautiful puppies are safe and sound, living happily and trained as service dogs in the US, like their famous Clone-Parent, Booger. THis rumor was a tall tale started by scandal mongers (like yourself) when she had to leave them to nurse their mother until they were old enough to be weaned and take home to America.

  2. Comment by truthteller, Feb 1st, 2011 8:28pm

    Your article on Ms. McKinney is libelous and defamatory. Consider this an official notice of her INTENT TO SUE you unless it removed. She will also pursue CRIMINAL LIBEL action against you for printing that she did crimes for which she has never been charged with or convicted of. Your ignorance and scandal mongering is beyond belief, but her internet attorneys have traced you in order to proceed with a lawsuit against you and damages will cost you thousands of dollars plus we will ask that you pay her attorney fees. Maybe it will teach you to do research before you print untruths on an innocent person, based on lies from tabloid newspapers and Mormon cultists.



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