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(2005 Associated Press photo)

Jake, a U.S. government-certified rescue dog, searches the debris of Hurricane Katrina as a rescue worker watches nearby. Jake and owner Mary Flood also worked at ground zero after the 9/11 attacks.

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(2005 Associated Press photo)

Jake, a U.S. government-certified rescue dog, searches the debris of Hurricane Katrina as a rescue worker watches nearby. Jake and owner Mary Flood also worked at ground zero after the 9/11 attacks.

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Dog that helped in aftermath of 9/11, Katrina succumbs to cancer
Autopsy to be part of university study

NEW YORK -- A black Labrador that burrowed through smoking debris after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and flooded rubble after Hurricane Katrina in search of survivors has died after developing cancer.

Owner Mary Flood had 12-year-old Jake put to sleep Wednesday after a last stroll through the fields and a dip in the creek near their home in Oakley, Utah. Flood said that Jake had been in pain.

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No one can say whether the dog would have gotten sick if it hadn't been exposed to the toxic air at the World Trade Center, but cancer in dogs around Jake's age is common.

Some owners of rescue dogs who worked at ground zero claim that their animals have died because of their work there. But scientists who have spent years studying the health of 9/11 search-and-rescue dogs have found no signs of major illness in the animals.

Many human ground zero workers have complained of health problems, which they attribute to their time at the site. The largest study conducted of about 20,000 ground zero workers reported last year that 70% of patients suffer respiratory disease years later.

The results of an autopsy on Jake's body will be part of a medical study on the 9/11 dogs started by the University of Pennsylvania.

Flood, a member of Utah Task Force 1, a federal search-and-rescue team, trained Jake to become one of fewer than 200 U.S. government-certified rescue dogs -- an animal on 24-hour call to tackle disasters such as hurricanes.

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