Chilean officials say they have lost hope of finding a dog whose attempted rescue of an injured animal inspired worldwide admiration.
Jorge Rivas, operations manager for Vespucio Norte Highway in Santiago, said police and highway workers had searched for the dog several times, "but not any more."
He said too much time has passed since March 23, when a surveillance camera captured images of the apparently homeless dog pulling the body of another, injured dog through busy traffic to the relative safety of a freeway median strip. The other dog, which had been hit by vehicles, died.
Rivas said earlier reports that the incident happened on Dec. 4 were based on confusion with the date the image was first shown on local television.
Hundreds of thousands of people viewed the surveillance images on Web sites and television shows and Rivas said his agency received 15 calls over the weekend from people offering to adopt the dog.
Luis Serey, 59, a taxi driver who often uses the freeway, often says the video "was impressive. This dog is a hero. I hope he gets a new life, a home. He totally deserves it."
Broadcast of the images came on the heels of an animal welfare scandal in the Chilean capital, where officials raided an Animal Protection Society accused of mistreating and killing dogs and cats in its care. Four employees of the society face charges of animal abuse.
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